Monarchos victory in Preakness would spice up Belmont action

May 16, 2001 1:24 AM

Two years ago, Charismatic had a chance to win horse racing’s Triple Crown.

And Palace Station race and sports book director Rob Terry, had an idea going into the Belmont Stakes to give bettors a souvenir. He made up 500 tickets with, "Charismatic, 1999 Triple Crown winner," written on them. He printed the tickets and cut them to size. He then went to Kinkos to get them laminated.

Before the race, he gave them out for free. But as the record states, Charismatic did not win the Belmont, the third leg of the Triple Crown.

"If that horse would have won, (those cards) would have been something neat," Terry said. "Those would have been worth some money. I still have two in my desk drawer."

This year, Terry and many of his race book directors are pulling for Monarchos to win the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, this Saturday (NBC-TV, 3:04 p.m. PST post time), so there would be a shot of having a Triple Crown winner, the first since Affirmed did it in 1978.

Monarchos won the Kentucky Derby by 4¾ lengths on May 5.

A horse going for the Triple Crown would spice up race books for the Belmont, which will be held in New York on June 9.

"The Preakness is a non-issue," Terry said of the excitement compared to the Derby. "I’d love to have Monarchos win this race. Then you make the Belmont big. We’ve had a lot of possibilities the last couple of years, with Charismatic and Real Quiet (1998), to see a horse win the Triple Crown."

Besides Monarchos, other horses that should be in the Preakness, which is in Baltimore, are Congaree (3rd in Kentucky Derby), Point Given (5th in Derby), A P Valentine (7th in Derby) and Dollar Bill (15th in Derby).

"I think everyone is going to be backing Point Given," said Thomas Vernon, Terrible’s race and sports book director. "He was the Derby favorite, so people think he’s going to come through this time."