Appetite shifts from Belmont to World Cup

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Horse racing was front and center this past Saturday as California Chrome attempted the somewhat impossible feat in these days of breeding horses for speed – winning the Triple Crown.

Chrome made a gallant effort to win the Belmont, the final leg after the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and toughest of them all at a 1½ miles. He gave his all but, as they say, the racing gods were not in his corner and he faded late to a dead heat for fourth.

Nothing to be ashamed about and if I were one of the owners I would have gone on national TV and congratulated the owner and trainer of the winner Tonalist, said we had a great run and hope to come back again. We love the wonderful journey this beautiful colt has taken us on and look ahead to the future.

It created one remarkable weekend along with the NBA and the NHL Finals. The city was jumping and the books were packed. Now it is on to the World Cup, the next huge event for Vegas books.

The Belmont had 20.6 million viewers, the second highest weekend sporting event watched since the Sochi Winter Olympics on NBC. And I’m taking nothing away from the NHL, which had 6.4 million viewers – the best Game 2 on record.

The World Cup could topple all records as the Vegas books have gone all out to get ready. Even though I know little about soccer I have built some interest and will be going out with my video crew this Friday to find some spots and just see what all the hype is about. We will show the videos here on our web site GamingToday.com.

One more thing on the Triple Crown: A big shout out to Bob Mann who gave us the winner Tonalist and the winner in last year’s Belmont. I will be putting some money away in safekeeping for next year’s race. As far as California Chrome, there have been much better horses than him to fail at winning the Triple Crown and some great ones that went on to win Horse of the Year.

Back to World Cup, I will be stopping at Roma Deli on Spring Mountain Road. Roma is sure to be a hot spot for the Cup. The owner Masimo told me a few weeks ago Brazil is his top pick with Argentina, Spain and Germany rounding out the top four. We will hold Masimo to those selections.

Usually this time of year is called the “dog days of summer” and it is getting mighty hot out there. The talk would be about baseball but with all the other things going on it takes a back seat. But as we wind down the first half of the season we have some very heated races and lots of parity.

The Giants continue to try and run away from the Dodgers as the G-men own the best record in baseball with the Blue Jays, A’s and Brewers also doing great. The Miami Marlins have the best home record and a horrible road mark. This is a long season and things will change. Before we know it August will be here and that says NFL.

Every Wednesday you can listen to me on the Race Day Las Vegas radio show (AM 1400 at 7 a.m.). I join host Ralph Siraco talking horses, some sports. Tune in, have a good listen; you may even get a winner or two.

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper.  Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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