For years critics have been saying that horse racing is dead, that people just don’t care about it anymore. They point put the sparse crowds at Santa Anita race course and others throughout the country. They point out that many tracks, such as Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows have closed in recent years after their real estate became too valuable.
His weekend a modestly bred horse named California Chrome proved that racing is very much a player with good stories. After convincing wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Chrome was in New York trying for the Triple Crown. More than 120,000 fans jammed historic Belmont Park to watch the Belmont Stakes. They wagered more money on California Chrome to win than had ever been wagered to win on any horse in history. Locally a massive crowd gathered beneath the grandstand at Les Bois Park to root on the favored horse which has Idaho ties. There was little or no promotion by the track, but the fervor of the crowd was impressive.
After Chrome faded in the stretch to finish fourth, it felt as if the air had been sucked out of the place, but most fans stayed around for the finish of the local card. Unfortunately one of the owners of California Chrome made an ass of himself, taking away some of the luster from the rags to riches story. It would have been a massive shot in the arm for horse racing had chrome won the race, but the undeniable fact is that with a good story, the fans are still there.