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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Revenue Share vs. PPH Agency

Revenue Share vs. PPH Agency
Q & A with
Dalton Wagner, Founder V.O. Group, S.A.

Dalton Wagner, Proprietor of V.O. Group, S.A. has recently found himself in the middle of a controversy between Revenue Sharing Sportsbooks and his Price Per Head Agency Concept. We had an opportunity to catch up with Dalton Wagner and discuss the issue on his last visit to Curacao.

Vegas Offshore: We hear that the Price Per Head offering you launched several months ago has landed you in some hot water?
Wagner: Yes, it appears that my Price Per Head Software offering has been a little too popular with onshore bookmakers and it is making my competition a little upset.

Vegas Offshore: Can you be a little more explicit?
Wagner: Several offshore bookmakers have lost relationships with their agents because my Price Per Head offering has lured them away and toward my offering. Specifically, several of the largest credit sportsbooks in Costa Rica have lost packages to me in the range of 500-1000 head apiece. And, they are not happy about it.

Vegas Offshore: Why are so many people leaving their agency relationships with credit sportsbooks?
Wagner: Well, in the old days an offshore sportsbook might partner with an onshore bookmaker. The deal was based on the onshore bookmaker finding the business and the offshore operator writing it and doing the accounting for a fee. The deal was typically 50%/50%. However, with my Price Per Head offering, I can offer the same offerings, but only charge the onshore bookmaker a nominal fee for using my service. The fact is that 50% is simply too much to charge an onshore bookmaker. I charge bookmakers a flat fee based on the number of head I am writing and let the bookmaker keep the rest of the money.

Vegas Offshore: Wait a minute. How can you afford to write the business for a simple fee when it historically cost 50%.
Wagner: The simple fact is that 50% of the revenue is ridiculous. I can charge a fee as little as $25 per head, per week and allow a client to have access to sports wagering, casino wagering and horse wagering – and, make a profit. Furthermore, we have written a software interface that allows agents onshore to manage their clients limits, run reports, etc. from any computer in the world. The offering is robust, efficient and simple to use. And, unfortunately for offshore sportsbooks that share in revenue, agents and bookmakers simply love it.

Vegas Offshore: Is the PPH product only based on sports wagering?
Wagner: No. We actually have the ability to offer clients two (2) casino products including blackjack, baccarat, slots, 3 card poker, roulette, etc. And, clients may also bet on horses at over 350 tracks worldwide.

Vegas Offshore: How many bookmakers do you currently work with?
Wagner: We are writing business for over 250 bookmakers now. Some represent groups as small as 2 or 3; and others represent groups as large as 500. Again, remember the key is finding as many clients as possible. If you get to where you are writing 15 clients or more, it is almost impossible to lose for an extended period of time.

Vegas Offshore: Anything else you would like to add?
Wagner: Sure. If you’re a bookmaker onshore, call us or visit us online to learn how to save money and/or grow your business beyond your wildest dreams. The service is modestly priced, and we have never had a disgruntled user. The value proposition is simply huge for any bookmaker.

Vegas Offshore: So how does a bookmaker learn more about this?
Wagner: Simply go to any of the V.O. Group, S.A. sites to learn more. I suggest starting at or calling 1-877-512-1001 or emailing to get more information.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Innovation In Bookmaking

Innovation In Bookmaking
Q & A with
Dalton Wagner, Founder V.O. Group, S.A.

As Founder and Proprietor of V.O. Group, S.A., Dalton Wagner has the reputation of ferreting out new markets and attacking while other companies sit on their hindquarters and watch. One market that has always eluded offshore bookmakers is the ‘guy who likes dealing with his credit bookmaker’. Typically this market has been untouchable for the offshore bookmaker, but NOT for Dalton and V.O. Group, S.A. We had an opportunity to catch up with Dalton Wagner on his last visit to Panama.

Vegas Offshore: Tell us about this new product that you are calling your Price Per Head Agency Relationship.
Wagner: As you know, one market that a post-up sportsbook has historically been unable to attack is the huge market of bettors that have been betting with their local guy for years. The reason this market exists is the personal relationship that an onshore bookie has with his clients. Sportsbooks have attempted to educate the player and lure him away from the local bookie, however we have taken another tact. We have partnered with local bookies around the world to make their offering better and more valuable.

Vegas Offshore: So instead of attacking the local guy, you actually approach him with your offer?
Wagner: Exactly. The fact is that the relationship is the last thread holding clients to a local guy. Yes, there is the fact that the local guy extends credit, but with bonuses and promotions we can overcome that offering. The key is the relationship.

Vegas Offshore: I’m confused, please explain.
Wagner: As you know, the onshore bookmaking market has lost steam to the offshore providers like V.O. Group, S.A. The reason is that the offerings that I can provide are far superior to those that any onshore bookmaker can offer. The PPH concept is based on allowing the onshore bookmaker to provide his clients my offerings on a purely anonymous basis via an online automated tool. Rather, by signing up with my PPH service, an onshore bookmaker can compete with all offshore sportsbooks on equal footing offering 24-hour wagering, 365 days a year. All the bookmaker does is use an online system to assign PINs and PASSWORDs and pay me a small fee per week for the service.

Vegas Offshore: Wait a minute. So, this means that a small time operator in Cleveland, Ohio can offer all the same things that V.O. Group, S.A. does without making the multi-million dollar investment?
Wagner: Now your catching on. For as little as $25 per head per week, a guy in Ohio can compete with the biggest sportsbooks in the world. And, better yet, never answer another wagering phone call again.

Vegas Offshore: OK, I get it. They use your automated tool to drive their clients to your software online, and they simply pick up the figures at the end of the week.
Wagner: Exactly correct with one exception. Their clients can bet on the phone via our call center staffed with 250 people OR bet online. Again, they have access to all of the offerings V.O. Group, S.A. provides including call center access, client services and technical support.

Vegas Offshore: Is the PPH product only based on sports wagering?
Wagner: Very good question. The answer is no. We actually have the ability to offer clients two (2) casino products including blackjack, baccarat, slots, 3 card poker, roulette, etc. And, clients may also bet on horses at over 350 tracks worldwide.

Vegas Offshore: Wow! That truly is incredible. So, a bookie that has one client can compete with the likes of on equal footing?
Wagner: Exactly correct. But, there are two keys to the success of the product launch. The first is being able to compete head to head with the biggest sportsbooks in the world. But, arguably the most important factor is that since the onshore bookie no longer has to answer phones or track plays, he can spend all of his time picking up new clients, NOT writing bets.

Vegas Offshore: I remember that in a prior interview you had stated that the key is not winning, but finding more losers.
Wagner: An embarrassing quote, but true. Amateur bookmakers think that the key is to beat the clients you have. That is a huge mistake. The key to getting rich as a bookmaker is finding a new client every single day of the year. The numbers take care of themselves, the key is to get more and more people playing. That is the TRUE BEAUTY of the PPH software and agency relationship.

Vegas Offshore: Do you have any success stories to tell?
Wagner: I have many, but will tell you one that emphasizes what the PPH program can do. I have a bookmaker that has been working out of San Antonio, Texas for 10 years. The guy has historically made $200,000 a year from his 25 or 30 players. He was introduced to our product in July 2004, and today he is writing over 185 clients. The ability to outsource answering calls and writing tickets to us has allowed him to grow his business 600% and his revenue over 1000%.

Vegas Offshore: Why did his revenue grow more than his business? Is it because your lines are sharper than his?
Wagner: There you go again. That is the obvious mistake that everyone makes. Again, don’t worry about beating the clients. Worry about getting more clients to play. But, to answer your question directly, the ability for his clients to play in the casino, play 24 hours a day, play games/halves/quarters, props, etc. is where the extra revenue comes from. Our lines might be sharper, but the advantage is more clients betting more often.

Vegas Offshore: How many bookmakers do you currently work with?
Wagner: We are writing business for over 250 bookmakers now. Some represent groups as small as 2 or 3; and others represent groups as large as 500. Again, remember the key is finding as many clients as possible. If you get to where you are writing 15 clients or more, it is almost impossible to lose for an extended period of time.

Vegas Offshore: So how does a bookmaker learn more about this?
Wagner: Simply go to any of the V.O. Group, S.A. sites to learn more. I suggest starting at or calling 1-877-512-1001 or emailing to get more information.

State of the Offshore Gaming Industry

State of the Offshore Gaming Industry
Q & A with
Dalton Wagner, Founder V.O. Group, S.A.

As Founder and Proprietor of V.O. Group, S.A., Dalton Wagner has the reputation of making one-dollar work like three in online marketing. With formidable competition, Mr. Wagner founded V.O. Group, S.A. in 1998 and has quickly risen to be one of the largest offshore operators in the world with over 50,000 active clients. We had an opportunity to catch up with Dalton Wagner on his last visit to Antigua.

Vegas Offshore: This year has been interesting for V.O. Group, S.A. and the offshore industry as a whole (advertising changes, etc.). How do you feel about the industry at the current time?
Wagner: I feel the industry is as strong as it has ever been. We are still finding that our advertising is bringing us new clients at an ever-growing rate. Some competitors are complaining that the crimp on advertising is affecting the industry, but we are not seeing this trend. Consolidation within the industry has begun, and I am sure you will continue to see smaller competitors gobbled up, and medium to larger companies merging. The weaker will go by the wayside.

Vegas Offshore: What about the rumors of V.O. Group, S.A. being bought?
Wagner: I am glad you used the term 'rumors'. The fact is that in July 2004 three suitors approached V.O. Group, S.A. because of our record-breaking profit year. In two of the cases we did see 'value' in a merger/relationship. However, at the end of the day, we could not come to terms that were agreeable on both sides. At this time V.O. Group, S.A. stands independent. And, we are happy being independent, profitable and growing.

Vegas Offshore: It is rumored that Bet On Sports (PLC; BSS.L) was one of the suitors. Is that true?
Wagner: There were three suitors that approached V.O. Group, S.A. And, in all cases confidentiality agreements were signed. For this reason, I cannot confirm or deny who any of the potential suitors were. What I can tell you is that one was a major sportsbook player, one was a major casino player and two were PLCs. I doubt that helps.

Vegas Offshore: Well, if Bet On Sports was involved, I bet you are happy you weren't involved in their November 24, 2004 stock debacle.
Wagner: The Bet On Sports stock debacle was an over-reaction by the market in my opinion. In one day you saw their stock drop 50% in value. And, the reason was poor performance in a very short period. If you looked at the other publicly held offshore gaming companies, you saw the same thing, just not as drastic as with BSS.L. Simply put, I know the founder of Bet On Sports, I know the management of Bet On Sports, I know the staff at Bet On Sports and I would not hesitate to invest in Bet On Sports. They were, and still are, undervalued in my opinion. They are a great competitor and a great company. I wish I had some of their stock at the new adjusted price. I just don't see how you can lose.

Vegas Offshore: It is rare to hear the 'competition' speaking so highly of a major competitor. Why would you do so?
Wagner: Simple. Bet On Sports is a great company. And, I am sure they would tell you the same about V.O. Group, S.A. The fact is, that there are companies out there that make our industry stronger. And, ones that make it weaker. Bet On Sports and V.O.Group, S.A. strive to make our industry stronger and more legitimate on a daily basis (as do;; etc.). What kind of ambassador for the industry would I be if I downplayed a 'good' competitor like Bet On Sports for my own benefit?

Vegas Offshore: If Bet On Sports did approach you, would you consider a merger?
Wagner: I like being independent. But, simply put, NEVER say NEVER.

Vegas Offshore: What of the rumors that you are looking at Panama as a potential relocation site?
Wagner: Our operation currently has offices in Costa Rica, Antigua and Belize. In Costa Rica we currently have over 400 employees. With employment costs in Costa Rica on the rise, the burden of Caja and the ever-changing political climate, we have looked at several alternative locations. One of the most desirable is/was Panama. However, due to the massive failure of and the political debacle involving their past gaming commission, we have decided to stay put for the current time. I think it is very safe to say that our primary location will be Costa Rica for the next 5 years. Pending any crazy licensing or governmental changes.

Vegas Offshore: I have visited your office in Antigua, however had no idea that you employed 400 individuals in Costa Rica. Why do you need such a large staff?
Wagner: Our industry has a reputation for being lazy and getting by on a shoestring budget. Most sportsbooks, casinos, racebooks and poker rooms answer phones when it is convenient and buy computers when the ones they are operating blow-up. Most are simply embarrassing to the legitimate operators. To run an operation like ours, servicing 50,000 bettors, you need lots of space, a 1st rate phone system, fiber and satellite phone and Internet backups, IT professionals, accounting professionals, etc. V.O. Group, S.A. is currently located in 35,000 square feet of space, operating 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and we are busting at the seems. At the current time, we are negotiating to buy the building next to us for future expansion. I think we will employ 600 people come this same time next year.

Vegas Offshore: I have noticed that you are still branching into other products. How has this strategy worked for V.O. Group, S.A.?
Wagner: In 1998 we started with our sports product. We then branched into the casino product. In 2001 and 2002 we opened several major race books and poker rooms. The fact is that we are profitable in all products. However, our core product, and hub for our advertising, is focused on the sports product. The strategy has worked, but we will not desert our core product. You can look for our re-launch of interactive betting in early 2005 and bingo in mid 2005.

Vegas Offshore: What other changes do you see in 2005 for V.O. Group, S.A.
Wagner: I think you will see V.O. Group, S.A. work more on our Internet interface to make it more gamer-friendly; you will see our company move into land-based gaming; and you will see us acquire two or three smaller competitors. Rather, you will see what you have always seen, expansion.

Vegas Offshore: What other changes do you see in 2005 for the industry as a whole?
Wagner: The strong will get stronger. The weak will get weaker. And, the acquisition race will be on.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Nick Zito's 2005 Triple Crown Campaign And Now Comes The Belmont Stakes

Nick Zito's 2005 Triple Crown Campaign And Now Comes The Belmont Stakes

Will Andromeda's Hero Become His Birdstone? At the beginning of the 2005 Triple Crown season, Nick Zito was the trainer to beat sending off five strong contenders to the 131st Kentucky Derby. For a moment everyone seemed to know how it would all end, but fate was not about to agree.

He sent them all to Louisville: Aventura and Fountain of Youth stakes winner High Fly; Tampa Bay Derby numero uno Sun King; plus equally powerful starters Bellamy Road, Noble Causeway, and Andromeda's Hero. After the dust cleared, none of his five entries played a factor at Chruchill Downs. His highest finisher was the George Steinbrenner-owned colt, Bellamy Road, at a miserable 7th place.

The others settled for 8th (Andromeda's Hero), 10th (High Fly), 14th (Noble Causeway), and 15th (Sun King) places.

Bellamy was also his hope in the next Triple Crown race, the 130th Preakness Stakes, but a popped split was discovered and the colt was sent to the barn to recover. Not about to cop out he re-sends his “triple threat” to Baltimore – High Fly, Sun King, and Noble Causeway.

Once more, Zito was slapped with an awful loss when his horses failed to soar, Sun King finished 4th, Noble Causeway 6th, and High Fly 10th.

They say there is strength in numbers but so far it has only brought disappointing results to the soon-to-be-inducted racing Hall of Famer.

He now has at least two prospects for the 137th Belmont Stakes: Andromeda's Hero and the Sir Barton winner, Pinpoint. He is yet to confirm Bellamy Road's status, who was earlier reported to be Belmont-bound.

The Fusaichi Pegasus colt, Andromeda's Hero, is the one trying to follow Birdstone's footsteps. He finished eighth in the Derby, last year, Birdstone also finished eighth in the same race. As with Birdstone, he skipped the Preakness to point for the Belmont, and is doing his serious work at Saratoga, where Zito keeps his top runners at this time of year.

Andromeda's Hero, so to speak, is Zito's last chance to shine in this most revered horse racing season in America.

Zito appear both hopeful and resilient about his failed Triple Crown bid. "I'm extremely grateful we're still standing," he said. "We're extremely grateful we still have horses to run. That's how I look at it. Our experience shows just how tough the Triple Crown is."

Will Zito find redemption in Andromeda's Hero and win Belmont for the second straight year? Or will his Triple Crown season completely go to the bin?

Zito was recently elected to the racing Hall of Fame, it would be sweeter to get inducted in August if he wins his last hurrah at Belmont. He may be on a losing streak but all-eyes will still be on his entries for the last leg of the Triple Crown races.

The 137th Belmont Stakes, the culmination of the 2005 Triple Crown season, finally happens on June 11 at Belmont Park, New York.

Follow the 2005 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on the Triple Crown Trail beginning from the prep races then the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and Preakness Stakes at Pimlico all the way to the Triple Crown horse racing championship finale. Find all you need to know about the Belmont Stakes horse racing picks, horse racing tips, horse racing selections, race analysis, Belmont Stakes official race entries, past performance, possible race contenders, recent winners, race results and payouts, Belmont Stakes horse racing history, and Belmont Park race track information and history. Consider the 2005 Belmont Stakes on June 11, 2005, at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, as your winning bet, after the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, leading up the Triple Crown 2005!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

NYRA To Implement Pre- And Post-Race Testing Belmont Stakes Betting

In continuing its battle to eliminate illegal substances from racing, the New York Racing Association will institute pre- and post-race “milkshaking” tests for races at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course beginning Wednesday, February 16.

Random pre-race testing will be conducted each day. Post-race testing will be conducted on all NYRA races to determine if Blood Gas levels exceed legal thresholds, which could thereby enhance a horse’s performance.

“Milkshaking” is the illegal administration of a mixture of bicarbonate of soda, sugar and electrolytes to a horse in hopes of reducing fatigue, thus enhancing its performance.

“There has been a vigorous debate within the industry over which testing practice employs the best methodology,” said NYRA Co-Chairman C. Steven Duncker. “We will do both to help New York racing and the entire industry in becoming more knowledgeable through this collection of data. As the owners and caretakers of three of the most important racetracks in the sport of Thoroughbred racing, it is imperative that NYRA pursues all avenues to prevent illegal practices.”

On Friday, February 4, 2005, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board adopted emergency rules that authorize excess TCO2 testing, otherwise known as “milkshake” testing, for harness and thoroughbred horses in New York State. The new rules set 37 millimoles per liter as the threshold level, establish penalty guidelines, provide provisions for voidable claims and procedures for trainers to verify naturally high levels of TCO2 in a racehorse.

As an emergency filing the rules take effect immediately and will remain in effect for 90 days (May 4, 2005); however, the Board intends to make these rules permanent.

“The new testing program will greatly enhance the Board’s ability to detect those who would illegally tube their horse in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors,” said NYSRWB Chairman Michael Hoblock. “The combined efforts of Dr. (George) Maylin at our Equine Drug Testing Program at Cornell University and NYRA means ensuring more integrity for racing at NYRA.”

Earlier this month, NYRA announced that it would begin “milkshake’ tests in early February. The New York State veterinarian will now draw blood one hour after the race. Occasionally, there will be a three-hour post-race test where the horse will be monitored from the time it leaves the test barn for the entire three-hour period.

“We need to evaluate the results of both pre- and post-race testing through data collection,” said Dr. George Maylin of Cornell University. “This will provide the information we need to establish best practices moving forward.”

Any trainer whose horse tests positive for illegal substances will be required, at his or her own expense to move any horses entered to compete to a NYRA security-monitored barn by 5 p.m. prior to race day. This policy will continue for a period of 30 days for a first offense.

A trainer will have his stalls revoked and will not be allotted stalls at NYRA tracks for a second offense.

On Saturday, January 29th, NYRA announced that Cornell University would begin freezing urine samples for use as new tests for performance enhancing substances are developed. NYRA and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) will provide funding for new test development.

Because frozen samples may be preserved and stored for up to one year, tests may be developed as new substances arise.

In recent weeks, NYRA has shut down 10 simulcast outlets, including four that were connected to the federal government’s recent indictments involving alleged instances of illegal gambling, money laundering and horse doping.

On Friday, January 28th, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board withdrew its approval of any contracts between New York simulcast licensees and those same 10 outlets.

“There can be no compromise on obeying the rules,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “Anyone involved in the racing industry - owners, trainers, jockeys and fans - knows that honesty and credibility are essential for the sport’s survival. And because of the importance of Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga to the state and to the racing world, NYRA has to be the standard-bearer for this cause. There can simply be no tolerance for wrongdoing. It is far too costly for all of us.” Belmont Stakes Wagering

The Belmont Stakes

The third jewel of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes, held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

No effort to discuss the Kentucky Derby is complete without mentioning the Triple Crown, the series of horse races that, in all due respect to the Breeders' Cup, defines the sport of horse racing. What follows is an abbreviated "Call To The Derby Post" treatment of the Belmont Stakes, an event that is almost (but not quite) as celebrated in New York as the Derby is in Louisville and the Preakness in Baltimore.

NOTE: The following information comes from the official site of the Belmont Stakes, hosted by the New York Racing Association.

Instead of an essay-type history that was presented for the Preakness and for the Kentucky Derby, Call To The Derby Post's Belmont Stakes introduction will comprise of important facts and pieces of trivia that should present a full perspective of the race.

The First Belmont

The first Belmont in the United States was not the famous stakes race or even the man for whom it is named. Rather, the first Belmont was a race horse that arrived in California in 1853 from his breeding grounds of Franklin, Ohio. The Belmont Stakes, however, are named after August Belmont, a financier who made quite a name and fortune for himself in New York politics and society. Obviously, Mr. Belmont was also quite involved in horse racing, and his imprint is even intertwined within the history of the Kentucky Derby.

The Belmont's Age

One thing the Belmont does have over the Derby is that it is the oldest of the three Triple Crown events. The Belmont predates the Preakness by six years, the Kentucky Derby by eight. The first running of the Belmont Stakes was in 1867 at Jerome Park, on, believe it or not, a Thursday. At a mile and five furlongs, the conditions included an entry fee of $200, half forfeit with $1,500 added. Furthermore, not only is the Belmont the oldest Triple Crown race, but it is the fourth oldest race overall in North America. The Phoenix Stakes, now run in the fall at Keeneland as the Phoenix Breeders' Cup, was first run in 1831. The Queen's Plate in Canada made its debut in 1860, while the Travers in Saratoga opened in 1864. However, since there were gaps in sequence for the Travers, the Belmont is third only to the Phoenix and Queen's Plate in total runnings.

Some Monumental Belmont Moments

  • In 1890, the Belmont was moved from Jerome Park to Morris Park, a mile and three-eighths track located a few miles east of what is now Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The Belmont was held at Morris Park until Belmont Park's opening in 1905.

  • Here's a tidbit you didn't see in Derby or Preakness history. When Grey Lag won the Belmont in 1921, it marked the first running of the Belmont Stakes in the counter-clockwise manner of American fashion. This 53rd running was a mile and three-eighths over the main course; previous editions at Belmont Park had been run clockwise, in accordance with English custom, over a fish-hook course which included part of the training track and the main dirt oval.

  • The first post parade in this country came in the 14th running of the Belmont in 1880. Until then the horses went directly from paddock to post.

  • The Belmont has been run at various distances. From 1867 tp 1873 it was 1 5/8 miles; from 1874 to 1889 it was 1 1/2 miles; from 1890 through 1892, and in 1895, it was held at 1 1/4 miles; from 1896 through 1925 it was 1 5/8 miles; since 1925 the Belmont Stakes has been a race of 1 1/2 miles.

  • Champion Sires

    As we saw in the breeding section of the Call To The Derby Post Betting How-To Page, champions horses breed champion horses. This certainly holds form in the Belmont Stakes. A total of eleven Belmont Stakes winners have sired at least one other Belmont winner.

  • Man o' War heads the list of Belmont champion sires. Not only did he win the race himself in 1920, but three of his subsequent sires won it as well: American Flag in 1925, Crusader in 1926 and War Admiral in 1937, who went on to win the Triple Crown.

  • Commando won the 1901 running, then sired Peter Pan, the 1907 champ and the Colin, the 1908 winner.

  • 1930 champion Gallant Fox sired both Omaha (1935) and Granville (1936).

  • Count Fleet won the 1943 edition, and then sired back-to-back Belmont winners with Counterpoint (1951) and One Count (1952).

  • 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew sired a Call To The Derby Post favorite in Swale, who won both the Derby and the Belmont in 1984, as well as A.P. Indy, who won the Belmont in 1992. 1999 Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid is also a descendant of the Slew.

  • The following horses have sired one Belmont winner each: Duke of Magenta of 1878 sired Eric (1889); Spendthrift of 1879 sired Hastings (1896); Hastings then followed his again by siring Masterman, the 1902 winner. The Finn of 1915 sired Zev (1923); Sword Dancer of 1959 sired Damascus (1967); last but not least, Triple Crown winner Secretariat of 1973 sired Risen Star, the 1988 winner.

  • Belmont Traditions

    According to the offical Web site of the Belmont Stakes, "The white carnation is the traditional flower of the Belmont Stakes. The blanket requires approximately 350 carnations, glued to green velveteen spread and weighs between 30 and 40 pounds. The flowers are shipped from California or Bogota, Columbia."

    The Belmont Breeze is the official drink of the Belmont Stakes. Created by New York’s premiere beverage authority Dale DeGroff, the profile of the Belmont Breeze comes from the colonial recipe: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak.

    The ingredients are:

  • 1 1/2 ounces of a good American blended whiskey
  • 3/4 ounces Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
  • 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce of simple syrup

  • (1 ounce of sweet and sour mix may be substituted for the lemon juice and simple syrup)
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce 7-Up
  • 1 ounce Club Soda

    Shake first six ingredients with ice, then top with 7-Up and club soda. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon wedge.

    Money at the Belmont

    Oh, have times changed. The purse for the first running of the Belmont was $1,500 added with a total purse of $2,500, with the winner's share taken by the filly Ruthless. The lowest winner's share in Belmont history was the $1,825 earned by The Finn in 1915. The Belmont set an opposite record in 1992, in which the richest Belmont purse ever totaled 1,764,800.

    Five times in Belmont history only two horses entered the race: 1887, 1888, 1892, 1910 and sadly, 1920, the year Man O'War triumphed. The largest field, on the other hand, was 15 in 1983, when Caveat defeated Slew O' Gold. In 1875 14 horses ran, when Calvin outdueled stablemate Aristides, that year's winner of the inaugural Kentucky Derby.

    The Belmont's lowest paid winner: Count Fleet in 1943, who paid a paltry $2.10. The Belmont's highest winner: Sherluck in 1961, who dished out $132.10.

    A favorite's race: Of the 129 Belmont runnings through 1997, the favorite had won 58 times, including 9 out of the last 25.

    There have been some strange twists of betting in Belmont history. Since the advent of mutuels in New York in 1940 there have been six times when no place or show betting was taken on the Belmont Stakes. The last time there was no show wagering was in 1978 when Affirmed and Alydar held their famous confrontation. There was also no show betting when Secretariat won his Triple Crown in 1973; no wonder--Secretariat won by a record 31 lengths. Show betting was also eliminated in 1957 when Gallant Man defeated Bold Ruler, and also in 1953 when Native Dancer won. In 1943, believe it or not, there was no place or show wagering when Triple Crown winner Count Fleet went off $.05 to the dollar and won by 25 lengths. To wrap it up, Whirlaway completed his Triple Crown victory in 1941 without show betting. In other words, by the time horses dominate the Derby and Preakness, there just might not be that many challengers when the horse goes to complete the sweep.

    Since 1940 there have also been 30 horses listed as odds-on favorites in the Belmont Stakes. In 1957, there were two: Gallant Man, who won at 19-20, and Bold Ruler, who finished third at 17-20. Of these 30, only 12 went on to win.

    The highest-priced Belmont Stakes winner was Sarava ($142.50) in 2002. The lowest $2 win mutuel was Triple Crown winner Count Fleet ($2.10) in 1943.

    The largest field for the Belmont Stakes was 15 in 1983 and the smallest was two in 1887, 1888, 1892, 1910 and 1920. The second largest field was 14 in 1996 (Editor's Note) and 1875 (Calvin). The widest margin of victory was Secretariat's 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. The smallest margin was a nose by Granville (1936), Jaipur (1962) and Victory Gallop (1998).

    The 2002 Belmont Stakes set the precedent for horse racing in New York with a record attendance of 103,222. Additional high attendance marks are: 85,818 in 1999 (Lemon Drop Kid denies Charismatic the Triple Crown); 82,694 in 1971 (Pass Catcher denies Canonero II the Triple Crown); and 80,162 in 1998 (Victory Gallop denies Real Quiet the Triple Crown).

    The Fastest Belmont

    Who else? Secretariat set a world-record that still stands for the mile and a half distance on a dirt track at 2:24. (He had finished a mile and a quarter at 1:59, faster than his own Derby record of 1:59 2/5.)

    Belmont Trophies

    "The Belmont Stakes trophy is a Tiffany-made silver bowl, with cover, 18 inches high, 15 inches across and 14 inches at the base. Atop the cover is a silver figure of Fenian, winner of the third running of the Belmont Stakes in 1869. The bowl is supported by three horses representing the three foundation thoroughbreds--Eclipse, Herod and Matchem. The trophy, a solid silver bowl originally crafted by Tiffany's, was presented by the Belmont family as a perpetual award for the Belmont Stakes in 1926. It was the trophy August Belmont's Fenian won in 1869 and had remained with the Belmont family since that time. The winning owner is given the option of keeping the trophy for the year their horse reigns as Belmont champion."

  • The Day at the Races

    Despite the increase in ticket prices, the reserved seats have sold out for the June 11 Belmont Stakes, showing the continued growth in popularity for the final leg of the Triple Crown.

    A record crowd of 120,139 showed up at Belmont Park last year to see Smarty Jones get denied his crown when he was caught by Birdstone.

    Whether Giacomo can do his part, winning the Preakness Stakes this afternoon to set up another run at the Triple Crown, is another question?

    There still is plenty of room at spacious Belmont Park to see the race, but remember: no alcoholic beverages, glass containers, canopies, tents or any type of barbeque involving an open flame will be allowed into Belmont Park.

    General admission for Belmont Day will be $10 and clubhouse admission is $20.

    There will be 13 live races on Belmont Stakes Day with first race post at noon. Parking gates will open at 8:15 a.m. and admission gates open at 8:30.

    Post time for the Belmont is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

    Post time for the opener today at Pimlico for the special Preakness Day card is 10:30 a.m. Racing action from Pimlico will be televised all day starting at 9 a.m. on ESPN2 before moving to ESPN at noon. NBC's coverage of the Preakness Stakes begins at 5 p.m., with post time expected at 6:15 p.m. for the race itself.

    Andromeda's Hero, who finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Nick Zito, breezed five furlongs in 1:03.17 yesterday morning over the Oklahoma training track up at Saratoga. Zito announced after the Derby that he is pointing Andromeda's Hero for the Belmont Stakes.

    The Pick Six wasn't hit yesterday as there was only one winning favorite in the sequence, Chief Commander at $9.50 in the sixth race. As a result there is a $32,620.87 carryover going into today's wager.

    YESTERDAY'S PLAYS: We hit the $49.20 exacta of Judy Soda over La Reina in the seventh 3-1/2 times, collecting $172.20 on the bet for a $130.30 profit on the day and now a $52.20 profit for the week.

    TODAY'S PLAYS: We'll try a $7 exacta box using Beautiful Bay, Wait It Out and Deflation in the seventh for $42. The bet is turf only.

    Originally published on May 21, 2005

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    Belmont Could Include Derby, Preakness Winners

    Although the race is still three weeks away and the picture could change, the 137th renewal of the Belmont Stakes June 11 could serve as a rubber match between longshot Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and the courageous Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex.

    The last time a Kentucky Derby winner hooked up with the Preakness winner in the Belmont Stakes was June 9, 2001. While Derby winner Monarchos finished third, Preakness winner Point Given cruised to victory over A P Valentine before a Belmont crowd of 73,857.

    According to the New York Racing Association, those two may be joined by any number of new contenders, with the top finishers from Belmont's May 28, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) at nine furlongs likely to return in the Belmont Stakes. Chekhov, Golden Man, Mr Sword, Oratory, Reverberate, Robador, Saint Anddan and Survivalist, and possibly Better than Bonds and Confederation are expected to run in the Peter Pan.

    NYRA reports that Andromeda's Hero and A.P. Arrow, nominated to the Peter Pan, may wait for the Belmont Stakes. Pinpoint, who won Saturday's Sir Barton at Pimlico, and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Buzzards Bay, fifth in the Kentucky Derby, is also likely for the Belmont. Scrappy T, the Preakness runner-up, is questionable for the Belmont Stakes at this point.

    In addition to Point Given, other horses to complete the Preakness/Belmont Stakes double are Cloverbrook (1877), Duke of Magenta (1878), Grenada (1880), Saunterer (1881), Belmar (1895), Man o'War (1920), Pillory (1922), Bimelech (1940), Capot (1949), Native Dancer (1953), Nashua (1955), Damascus (1967), Little Current (1974), Risen Star (1988), Hansel (1991) and Tabasco Cat (1994) as.

    Giacomo is out to become the 12th horse to complete the Kentucky Derby-Belmont Stakes Double, hoping to join Zev (1923), Twenty Grand (1931), Johnstown (1939), Shut Out (1942), Middleground (1950), Needles (1956), Chateaugay (1963), Riva Ridge (1972), Bold Forbes (1976), Swale (1984) and Thunder Gulch (1995).

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