These aren't the best of times for the NYRA: Between the perpetually stalled VLT casino at Aqueduct and the $15 million owed to them that New York City Off-Track Betting won't pay, they could be out of money in a matter of weeks. So here's something they didn't need: Not only will no horse be running for the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes this year — we'd like to think Affirmed, the most recent winner, would have sipped Champagne this weekend like the '72 Dolphins if he were still alive, and if he weren't a horse — neither the Kentucky Derby winner nor the Preakness winner will be participating.
The Daily News reports that Derby champ Super Saver's failure to win the Preakness cost the NYRA $3 million, and that both he and Preakness winner Lookin at Lucky will skip Belmont to rest, possibly for a rematch at Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational on August 1.
Brooklyn-born trainer Nick Zito said that the current state of New York racing "kills" him, then he put the whole situation in terms of Yankees baseball because, well, why not?
"It's ridiculous. It's a hard thing to swallow because New York is New York. I made a lot of friends around America. The Midwest, they got tremendous heart and everything but New York is America. ... New York is America and they got to start thinking of that. It hurts. It upsets me. New York to me is like the Yankees. It should never ever be in this situation ever. You think the Yankees would ever be in this situation? New York shouldn't be in this situation."
Though while Zito may be depressed by the overall state of the NYRA, he can't be too upset about the way this year's Belmont is shaping up: One of his horses, Ice Box, is the likely favorite.