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Saturday, June 7, 2014
Sunshine in NY for Belmont Stakes

By Ron Mitchell
Bloodhorse.com



As the sunrise broke through at Belmont Park at 5:30 a.m. on Belmont Stakes Day, California Chrome was one of the first horses on the track as he went through a light jog under the watchful eye of trainer Art Sherman.

About 13 hours later Saturday (6:52 p.m. ET), the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit will seek to become the 12th winner of the coveted Triple Crown and the first to complete the sweep since Affirmed in 1978.

Chrome's visit to the track June 7 was routine, with the entourage of media and fans that have been accompanying him all week considerably smaller.

It was very quiet on the backside early as other Belmont contenders also went to the track before the early closing time for workouts.

With the lure of a possible Triple Crown and the perfect weather, a long line of cars formed outside the Elmont, N.Y., track awaiting the gates to open at 8 a.m.

Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, waves to fans at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day.
Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, welcomes fans early on a beautiful day for racing at Belmont Park.

"I have been here 35 years and never have I seen miles of cars waiting to get in at 8 a.m.," trainer Gary Contessa tweeted. "This is a beautiful sight! Go Chrome!"

Alex Sosnowski, an expert senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.com, wrote on the company's website the weather will be similar to racing conditions for Chrome's victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, though it will be warmer.

AccuWeather is forecasting plenty of sunshine, low humidity, with race time temperatures in the upper 70's and with light wind.

Temperatures peaked in the lower 70's in Louisville, Ky., on Derby Day May 3, and in the upper 60's at Baltimore, Md., May 17 for the Preakness.

The weather was partly sunny, hot and humid with scattered thunderstorms on the day Secretariat won the Belmont June 9, 1973, according to AccuWeather, with temperatures peaking near 90 F.

Seattle Slew won on June 11, 1977, with temperatures near average in the mid-70's, low humidity and cloudy intervals. On June 10, 1978, temperatures peaked near 80 F with low humidity and bright sunshine for Affirmed's Belmont win.