ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Creator closed with a rush and caught Destin at the wire to win the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, with Preakness winner Exaggerator finishing well back in the field.
The 3-year-old gray colt trained by Steve Asmussen came flying down the stretch as Destin tried to hang on to the lead. But it was Creator, who finished 13th in the Derby and skipped the Preakness, who won by a nose. It was the fourth time the Belmont was decided by a nose _ the closest possible margin of victory.
Preakness winner Exaggerator was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of 13. He was closer to the lead than usual, but wound up 11th.
A year ago, American Pharoah ran to Triple Crown glory at Belmont Park, but a Triple wasn’t on the line this time. Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby, but finished third in the Preakness and did not run in the Belmont.
The winning time for 1 1/2 miles was 2:28.51.
Last year, 90,000 fans packed the stands to see American Pharaoh take the Triple Crown. Victor Espinoza, the jockey who led Pharaoh to victory, says there’s nothing like the stakes.
“It’s always a good experience for the Belmont because every time I came here, you know, it’s always a little bit of pressure, and I’m a little bit nervous,” Espinoza said.
For lots of folks, the Belmont Stakes are a great excuse to get dressed up.
“I feel gorgeous. It’s just a different persona!” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
Miguel Gutierrez had a long day ahead of him. He’s has been an outrider for 27 years- working to keep everyone safe and lead the horses to the track before the big race- you can feel the tension as horses file into the gate..
“They put bandages to race — they can feel that and they start acting up and they know that they’re going into a competition,” Gutierrez said.
But you didn’t have to be in the winners circle to enjoy yourself. According to bartender Pamela Wiznitzer, the official drink of the 2016 Belmont Stakes is the ‘Belmont Jewel’ — a fruity cocktail made with Woodford reserve bourbon, pomegranate juice and lemonade.
The more than 60,00 expected to attend Saturday’s event also showed off their own take on traditional horse racing attire, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
“There’s a whole hipster thing going on, with the fedoras and the sear-sucker suits,” Molly Brindle, of Belmont Park, said. “It’s different than Derby — it’s iconically New York.”
The Long Island Railroad also made it easier for travelers to avoid road traffic, offering additional trains throughout the day, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.
“The Long island Railroad will be the best way to get there and avoid the traffic,” LIRR executive vice president Elisa Picca said.
Preakness winner Exaggerator is the favorite in a field of 13 entered for Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown. The 3-year-old colt trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother, Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, drew the No. 11 post position.
In total, 13 races were held Saturday.