Belmont Stakes benefits from thrilling finish
NEW YORK — Even with its star sidelined and no Triple Crown to contest, the Belmont Stakes proved this much: The show does go on.
And it went on pretty well, thanks to a thrilling race and a photo finish.
Fans were rewarded with a sizzling finale to the season’s Triple Crown series when Union Rags overcame Paynter in the closing strides to win by a neck.
The Belmont lost its main attraction on the eve of the race when I’ll Have Another was suddenly and shockingly retired with a left front tendon injury.
Belmont Park officials had expected a crowd of about 100,000 to see if I’ll Have Another could end the 34-year drought of Triple Crown winners. Instead, 85,811 fans showed up — the largest ever for a non-Triple try and sixth-biggest at the track, bettering by 16.2 percent the previous record of 73,857 in 2001 when no Triple sweep was in play. The attendance was up nearly 54 percent from the 55,779 who showed up last year.
The on-track crowd wagered $13,777,920 on the 13-race card, second-largest at the Belmont Stakes. The figure trailed the $14,461,402 bet in 2004 when Birdstone spoiled the Triple Crown bid of Smarty Jones. Nationwide betting totaled more than $96 million, third-highest for Belmont Stakes day.
New class inducted into boxing hall
CANASTOTA, N.Y. — Al Bernstein stood in front of a thousand fans as he accepted his commemorative ring, and then took the podium at the 23rd International Boxing Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday. Behind him sat a “who’s who” of boxing legends.
But on this day, the stage belonged to six in particular that made up the 2012 class: Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, trainer Freddie Roach, ring announcer Michael Buffer, writer Michael Katz, and Bernstein, the noted boxing analyst for Showtime.
As he began his speech, Bernstein glanced at the greats behind him and was humbled.
“This Hall of Fame is essentially for the great boxers you see on this stage,” Bernstein said. “It is built for them. It is their house. This Hall of Fame is very generous in the way it welcomes those of us who filled another function for boxing. I take this as a supreme honor that I’m allowed to be a part of this place that is so special.”
Hearns fought in the magnificent era of the 1980s, taking on Marvin Hagler, Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran in some of boxing’s most famous fights. He was the first fighter to win five world titles in five different divisions. Johnson was the first African-American to claim the flyweight and super-flyweight titles.
Roach, who trains Manny Pacquiao, chartered a private plane so he and Buffer could fly from Las Vegas to Syracuse for the ceremony, just mere hours after Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Timothy Bradley. Roach did not acknowledge the split decision that cost Pacquiao his welterweight crown. He merely gave credit to the legendary Eddie Futch, who trained Roach as a fighter, and later gave him his start as a trainer.
Answers may be hard to find in Sandusky trial
BELLEFONTE, Pa. — The trial of Jerry Sandusky, which will begin today when prosecutors and his lawyer make opening statements before a central Pennsylvania jury, will probably be over in a few weeks.
But when it comes to getting to the bottom of what happened, it will definitely not be the final word.
Testimony in the child sex abuse case will focus on the 52 counts and 10 accusers for which the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach could, if convicted, spend the rest of his life behind the bars of a state prison.
There are many other questions, however, being asked in a number of forums that would have to be answered for the complete story to come to light.
First and foremost, the state attorney general’s office has repeatedly indicated it has an “active and ongoing” related investigation, and the mere existence of the open investigation suggests additional criminal charges could result.
By wire sources