Belmont Steaks???

belmont_photofinish.jpgThis past weekend, I went with some buddies to the third event of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. It started out as a total bomb. My buddy Richie was supposed to pick me up at 12:30, but didn’t end up getting there until 2:15. Plus, he had his kid with him! So, we almost had to bring a grumpy 5 year old with us to a known haven of booze, smoking, and degenerate gambling. Luckily, one of my other buddies convinced the kid that he was in fact scared of horses, which I admit is both soulless and horrible, but totally worth it in the short term.

So, once we got there, we tried to plug our electric grill into the cigarette lighter of the car and grill up some wonderful snacks (hence the cheesy pun title). Unfortunately, the fuse blew and we were shit outta luck. So, in an effort to try to make the best of the situation, I took our cooler over to a few other grillers, and asked if we can share their grill space, and we would gladly share our food. They were uninterested. In fact, at the last one I tried, someone threw a hamburger bun at me. So we finally got into the place, hungry, angry, and late, and placed a few bets. Though some of my friends knew what they were doing, this was literally my first visit to a horse race. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I quickly bombed on my first three races. But, I miraculously hit on the final two races, the last of which was the actual main race. I ended up walking out of the building up about $25, which I was quite thrilled with. It ended up being a really cool time! Read after the jump to see some things I noticed while at the Belmont.

– In typical NY fashion, the Belmont is really hard to get to. As mentioned, we ended up driving, but at first, we were exploring the idea of taking the LIRR. It seemed pretty ridiculous. The train schedule was rigid and tough, and the cars would have been absolutely PACKED! The NY area has a habit of making things that everyone would want to go to difficult to get to. The most appropriate example is the Javits Center. It was as if there was a meeting, where some local representative deuschebag stood up and said “I have a great idea! Let’s build a massive convention center in a place that won’t allow affordable parking, and not connect it to public transportation! Also, let’s be sure that it is in a really unsafe neighborhood. And, let’s make sure that it is a LONG walk to the nearest subway. We can throw a couple dinky shuttle bus routes over there and that will handle the millions of visitors.

– The mix of people was really funny. First, there were the top-shelf, fancy-dressed rich people. The generally sat in reserved seating. This group very much fit the stereotype… Canes, fancy drinks, summery dresses and lots of linen… Throw in a monocle, and you have yourself Mr. Peanut. The next group was the meatheads that seem to permeate every sporting event in the tri-state area. These are the guys who inevitably drink too much and try to start fights for no reason (or throw hamburger buns at people to look tough in front of their meathead friends). They are loud and obnoxious, and are probably compensating for steroidally shrunken genitalia. Lastly, there are the degenerates. These are the slimy guys who clearly are addicted. They always think they have a leg up on the races, and know something that nobody else does, but alas, they usually if not always lose their proverbial shirts.

– The food at Belmont somehow managed to be worse and more expensive than at a Jets game or a Mets game. Two cheeseburgers, a hot dog, and a small order of fries cost me $31. As Jerry Seinfeld says, it’s like they have their own little country over there. Do the people at Belmont have any idea what things cost EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD?

– There actually exists a Barbaro Memorial Fund… They seriously created a fund for a dead horse. Not only that! I learned this weekend that a track in Florida has been renamed in his honor, and additionally, there is an ongoing debate about where to spread his ashes! For the love of god, Gerald Ford’s death didn’t get this much fanfare! I understand that this horse meant a lot to people and there was some sort of genuine fascination when he broke his leg, but let’s move on. He was a freaking race horse! Aren’t there enough problems on the human side, or are we really ready to give up on AIDS, Cancer, ALS, MS, and the millions of other problems with society and donate money to eradicate a horse foot problem?

– The more I live in NYC, the more I see that driving here is one of the worst experiences possible, regardless of whether or not the congestion pricing ever takes effect. If you have to drive around in the five boroughs, just kill yourself and be done with it.

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