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Stateline experts like Real Quiet to compete Triple Crown

Michael Traum

A two-horse race. That’s the predominant feeling of thoroughbred racing fans entering this weekend’s Belmont Stakes in New York.

Nationally and locally, all eyes will be on Real Quiet and Victory Gallop – watching to see if Victory Gallop can improve on his stretch run at the Preakness to catch Real Quiet, thwarting his bid to become a Triple Crown winner.

“I don’t see any competition other than Real Quiet and Victory Gallop,” said Mark Layson, supervisor in charge of horse racing at Harveys Race and Sports Book. “I think it’s a two-horse race, (especially) when you look at the odds. The big challenge is to see if Real Quiet is going to take the crown or if Victory Gallop is going to steal a win.”

The lure, of course, is watching Real Quiet make a run at the sport’s most coveted title – a fact reflected in Harveys projected action for Saturday’s race.

“We’re expecting our business will boom because of the chance of a Triple Crown winner. We expect double the volume of people, betting and money,” said Layson, who said the casino/resort plans to show the telecast in the Emerald Lounge for race fans.

Harveys, which uses a parimutuel system of betting linking directly to the track in New York, expects roughly $100,000 in action.

“That’s about double compared to a race without a Triple Crown (potential winner),” Layson said. “With the parimutuel betting, it’s just like being at the track. It’s unlimited the amount you can win.”

The excitement of a Triple Crown winner is exactly what the sport needs, according to Layson. Interest in horse racing is on the decline as the older generation of race enthusiasts leaves the business.

“It could be a real shot in the arm, what this sport needs right now. It’s a business where the players are getting older. Tracks are closing and younger people seem to like (other kinds) of sports betting,” Layson said.

Not since Affirmed mounted classic battles with Alydar and won the Triple Crown in 1978 has a horse ascended to the sport’s pinnacle. And while Real Quiet is a mount some consider unworthy of a potential spot among the sport’s immortal, cited by a lack of real competition during his Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins, Layson said a win Saturday wouldn’t detract from the accomplishment.

“The purists are right. Real Quiet may not go down as one of the greatest horses. (He) hasn’t won a lot of races and doesn’t appear to have the strength of a Secretariat. But it’s still a great feat,” he said.

With all of the potential detractions aside, there will still be a winner on Saturday. And Layson, along with Harveys first-class handicapper “Fast Eddie” Ripperdan, are picking Real Quiet.

“I think the horse has what it takes and will be a Triple Crown winner. I really do,” Layson said.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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