It’s Saturday, and even though the agenda was to hit the beach first and soak in the rays from the sun then head to the Horse Race, our group of thrill seekers decided to ditch Plan A and head directly to the Belmont Stakes. While we hoped for a chance to experience and be a part of a potential triple crown this year, that did not prohibit us from attending the Stakes.

For those not familiar with the epic importance of the Stakes, it’s the last stop after the trifecta of all horse races. The journey starts at Kentucky Derby, heads north to Maryland for the Preakness and makes its way to Belmont- the final excursion. After picking the perfect dress, and hat (because that is also important), we finally started the thirty-five minute trip from home and reached our destination.

People arriving by the masses, with only one- possibly a few objectives in mind: completely indulge in the Belmont experience and make the most of this sunny day in June. The betting stations filled up with eager enthusiasts with money in hand ready to bet for their favorites.

 After a few horse races and some small winnings, we mingled with new people, met up with more friends, took pictures by the Paddock as the horses exited onto the track. The excitement magnifies as we prep for the big race.

 What will happen? Who will win and make new history?

 Ten minutes before the big race, we gather by the gates, anxiously holding on to our betting tickets.

This is it and everyone is ready. The intensity of this moment is so strong, and feels heavy- but in a good way.

 Before you know it in a blink of an eye as just as the last horse enters the gate, all you hear is a bell and a loud BANG!

 Time stands still as people around us erupt in an jumbled anthem cheering on their selected horse, jumping up and down, and banging on the gates. They make their way around the last corner, and it feels as if my heart is beating 1000 mph.

 And just then the top three horses compete with one another galloping as fast as they can for a chance to be part of the winner circle. Who will it be?

 Congratulations to Palace Malice for beating out the two favorites: ORB winner of the Derby, and OXBOW the winner of the Preakness. As we hustle to collect the big payoff, I can say this was a much better decision than the beach.

 Belmont has races everyday, however, a strong suggestion is to experience the Grand Finale at least once in a lifetime if you are visiting New York this time next year around early June.

 By: Laura M. Artis