'Double Crown' Just Doesn't Have The Same Ring To It

The New York Racing Association says it's running low on cash, and might have to close their three tracks. That would mean no Belmont Park. And that would mean no Belmont Stakes.

The NYRA is counting on a projected $1-million-a-day boost from installing slot machines at Aqueduct, which has been in the works for eight years but is still bogged down in the state legislature because of a debate over which company will actually run the casino.

If we can't make payroll, we have to shut down. There is certainly a possibility that Belmont may not open and there will be no third leg of the Triple Crown," [NYRA president Charles] Hayward said.

It'll never happen, of course. New York has a long and storied history of "doomsday plans," in which groups publicly plan for the worst, just so taxpayers feel like winners when they only get screwed a little. At this moment, the MTA is claiming can't afford to keep giving students free subway rides to school, but will inevitably just raise fares like usual. It's kind of like that: give us money or else.

On the bright side, thoroughbred racing's long wait for a dominant horse would be over, retroactively. In just the last 15 years, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Big Brown have all won the prestigious Double Crown. Not so special now, are you Affirmed?

Budget Mess Threatens Belmont: Third Jewel Of Triple Crown Hangs In Balance [NY Daily News]