The first thing I would like for you to do before reading this blog is to read a blog I wrote this time two years ago:
This year, I am equally excited. In fact, on May 17 when California Chrome won the Preakness, I nurtured this wild idea of a dream to go to the Belmont Stakes. Could it be done? I live in the middle of the country, and Belmont Park is in New York – just outside of New York City – so it would not be a cheap trip. But I had a little vacation money set aside and thought: “Why not just explore this possibility?” I wanted to witness in person what could be a history-making event. And what another incredible story we have this year of the unexpected, but now favorite, California Chrome. What an exciting day for the owners, jockey, and trainers.
Of course, I realized several things could happen that might cause one to question doing something like this: an unfortunate injury could force Chrome to withdraw like I’ll Have Another two years ago, it could rain cats and dogs day of the event making for a miserable outdoor mess, and Chrome could lose. So I weighed all of that and decided that if any of those things happened, it would still be an awesome experience. And since I would be in New York, why not just make it a little weekend trip to catch some sights, like the new 911 Memorial Museum, and listen to some good jazz/blues at BB King’s, especially since I had some vacation money set aside. Could I really make this happen? It would not be my first adventure. I’ve done things like this before after a little nudge or two …
Then I came across this incredible story: One Shot
Well, that was the nudge I needed; so I shifted into high gear. Airfare was high but within budget. Hotels in Manhattan were expensive; but I did find a rate I could live with if I pre-paid. I knew tickets of all price ranges were still available. It took me a few days to understand the seating, which tickets guaranteed you a seat at race time, and which ones would be first come first serve. I finally found someone at a ticket outlet who could answer my specific questions. By this time, I was near the two-week point, and I knew that I needed to book the airfare because it would skyrocket once within that two-week time frame. Also, the agent informed me the tickets would be shipped overnight express arriving the day before the event. I definitely needed to know where I would stay when I purchased the tickets and have them shipped to the hotel. Oh, and about the pricing, general admission tickets were under $40, but I would have to fight for a spot at race time or arrive very early, stake out my spot, and stay put. I wanted to walk around and experience the park and all of the excitement. I suppose I would wager a very small amount just for the experience. Sometimes I forget why most people attend races. To me, it’s about the horses.
The cheapest reserved seat was $225.
Okay. This is okay. Remember, I do have the money set aside. But for some reason, I couldn’t pull the trigger; and I didn’t know why. In a couple of days, I felt the crunch … airfare was breathing down my neck … I just couldn’t do it. Ticket prices soared and hotel deals were gone. And then …
In a few days, I was in the middle of a crisis; and my attention was focused elsewhere. I now know that’s why I didn’t receive the final nudge.
Just like I did in 1973, 1977, and 1978, I’ll be watching from my living room – they say the best seat in the house. But I really do wish I was there. I know there will be other opportunities.
So tune in a little early; it’s a beautiful day: Gate No. 2, purple and green with a jackass on the back. (Did I really say that?) California Chrome!
Post Time: 6:52 ET/5:52 CT/4:52 MT/3:52 PT (Don’t miss it!)