Andy Serling has been playing the horses for almost his entire life, and is currently the co-host of NYRA Live. To follow Andy on Twitter, click here.
I sit here trying to figure out what I did wrong. Who at NYRA did I anger? How could they ask me to write a blog and then put me in a grouping that includes Ernie Munick? It's not fair. I once read Phil Lesh, the bass player for the Grateful Dead, expressing embarrassment after Miles Davis warmed the Dead up ( even an avowed Dead Head such as myself knows how absurd that is ) at the Fillmore East. Well, compared to this, that was nothing. Here I am trying to string together drivel about the TC races, and this clown Ernie Munick is making graphic illustrations of his 38 Belmonts that are funnier than anything I could even dream of writing. Screw this.
I could, perhaps, compose a list of my bitterest memories of my roughly 30 Belmonts.....missing Colonial Affair ( and Krone ) winning in 1993 ( not to mention a Dead show as well ) due to a wedding commitment ( they're divorced ). Who could forget the famous LIRR breakdown of 1979 ( or was it 1978....who can remember ) BEFORE Penn Station had air conditioning? How about Summing winning in 1981 when I made doubles with Pleasant Colony and second finisher Highland Blade into Maudlin ( who of course won the last race )? What about the rain in 2003 that clearly cost the greatest horse to ever look through a bridle, Dynever, his deserved place in history as a Belmont winner? I'm still waiting for my friend Lance to show up for the 1980 Belmont. Has anybody seen him? Anyone care to explain how Sarava beat the 18:1 ( are you kidding me??? ) Medaglia D'Oro in 2002? I'm still waiting for my High School Math teacher to give me the proper credit for picking Coastal in 1979 ( he scoffed at me...then bet him...claiming it was because " Russ Harris picked him " ). What am I, Rodney friggin Dangerfield?
But I'm over that stuff. Or, at least I was, and then NYRA brought Munick aboard. What's worse is that I actually like the guy. When I first moved to NY, Ernie was writing a daily handicapping column for the NY Daily News called, I believe, Runners and Bummers. Now, I don't know if many of you remember this, but it was brilliant. I idolized him. I actually bought the paper every day just to see his picks and what he wrote. It was great stuff....funny, informative, and the picks were golden. Then he left....dropped me like a bad habit. And it got worse, not only was Ernie gone, but I was left with Kurt Paseka. This was like going to see Olivier play Hamlet, and finding out the understudy is filling in....and the understudy is Jackie Mason. My life has, understandably, never been the same. And now it just got worse.
But there is a silver lining. Ernie still has to make his Belmont Pick. I'm fully confident that no matter how much I embarrass myself with my selection, Ernie will outdo me there as well. I could be wrong, but I heard Ernie got pretty excited when Spangled Star joined the field.
By the way, poetic license, as Kurt Paseka is actually one of my favorite people.