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Behind the Scenes at Belmont and What to Drink for the Stakes

We trekked out to Belmont and got photos and drinks so you don’t have to.

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If you’re planning on betting the Belmont Stakes tomorrow, root for Justify and the Triple Crown with your heart, but don’t bet it with your wallet.

At least that was the consensus around the track on Friday, when RealClearLife headed out to to the Hempstead Turnpike with Woodford Reserve, a crew of NYC bartenders and a couple of experienced horseplayers packing laptops, racing programs, and flasks (probably).

Basically, the overall feeling is Justify has a good shot to win, but, if you review the tape from the Derby and the Preakness, he was tired by the end of both. Given that the 1.5-mile Stakes is longer than those races, Justify may struggle to transition from mid-distance to marathon.

So, where exactly did we come by this line of thinking? By keeping our ears open in all ears of the race track during our Friday visit, including:

The Paddock

The Winner’s Circle

The Stewards’ Station

The Video Review Room

The Grandstand Bowels

The Roof

and The Track Itself

The overall feeling in these areas was, if you aren’t going to throw down on the favorite, you’ll probably be best served betting on Hofburg (9-2), Bravazo (8-1), or Tenfold (12-1). Better yet, pair any of those horses in an Exacto with Justify and box it – allowing either horse to finish in first or second and vice versa – and you’ll be sitting pretty.

Also, all apologies to the New England Patriots tight end, but under no circumstances is it worth throwing some silver, or green, on Gronkowski.

So that’s what all the players behind the scenes at Belmont were saying on Friday, but perhaps their tune will change today if the weather does. Even if it does, this tune is staying the same – and you’ll probably hear it tomorrow.

So bet carefully and if you feel like going against the grain, go with Hofburg, Bravazo or Tenfold. And no Gronkowski.

As promised, here’s a cocktail for Saturday … and one for Sunday as well if you so choose.

And remember, win or lose, all horseplayers die broke.

The Belmont Jewel
The Belmont Jewel (Woodford Reserve)

1.5 oz Woodford Reserve
2 oz Lemonade
1 oz Pomegranate Juice
Orange Zest

Shake vigorously with ice and serve in a rocks glass with ice.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

Woodford Spire 

1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
2 oz Lemonade
1 oz Cranberry

Serve with ice and garnish with a lemon twist.