Big Apple's Racing Boss Talks American Pharoah, Triple Crown, Ticket Cap And More

UPDATE: He’s done it!

NEW YORK (WFAN) — New York Racing Association president Chris Kay isn’t going to make a prediction on the 147th Belmont Stakes.

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American Pharoah has proven himself to be the best horse in the sport over the past five weeks, having won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But he’ll be facing seven well-rested rivals, all looking to spoil his shot at ending the 37-year Triple Crown drought.


“It is one hell of a horse that we’ve got today, but it’s also one hell of a field,” New York Racing Association president Chris Kay told WFAN’s Jody McDonald at Belmont Park on Saturday. “Anything can happen, and we truly do have the finest trainers, the finest jockeys and some great horses competing against American Pharoah.”

The big boss at NYRA did let listeners in on “a secret,” which could indicate where his rooting interests lie.

“I wear the same outfit to the Kentucky Derby and to the Preakness,” Kay said, “and I’m wearing it again today.”

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The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978. Since then, 13 horses have won the first two legs and fallen short of the goal.

A shot at history always means big business — and huge crowds — for the Belmont Stakes. Over 102,000 spectators were on hand for California Chrome’s failed bid last year. A record 120,139 turned out for Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004.


But this year, NYRA capped the tickets sold at 90,000, which Kay hopes will alleviate some of the issues that have plagued the race in prior years.

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“We just felt that, to take it back about 20 percent, would make sure that everybody had a much better time,” he said. “So we decided to forgo profit to make sure people had a better experience.”