Forecasts of rain and no possibility of a Triple Crown thinned the crowds for the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes.
But the party went on.
Thousands of bow-tied bros, floppy-hatted ladies, die-hard racing fans and everyone in between celebrated for hours before the premier race that lasted less than 150 seconds.
Last year, when American Pharoah galloped to a Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed in 1978, attendance was capped at 90,000 — and it was a sellout. Jenny Kellner, a spokeswoman for the race, said the official 2016 Belmont head count was 60,114 — almost 30,000 fewer than the cap.
Simon Sassin, who runs a Lebanese food truck serving Mideast delicacies in the backyard of the grandstand, said business was worse in 2016.
“Last year was the Triple Crown. Of course it was more crowded than this year,” he said.
But he also questioned whether the weather was a factor: “People think it’s gonna rain so they don’t bother?”
Fewer spectators didn’t bother one racing fan from New Jersey.
“It’s par for the course. I guess it loses some of its allure” when there’s no Triple Crown possibility, said Ryan Crelin, 31, of Middletown, who was at the race with friends.
“I’m not going to lie. I prefer it this way,” he said.
Stephanie Scutari, 24, of East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, donned a baby-blue dress and lacy Toms shoes and won $81 off a $15 wager.
“I like the betting aspect, being in finance you’re analyzing a market and you’re making an informed choice and then again nothing is set in stone,” the finance-sector worker said, sipping $20 champagne her boyfriend persuaded an out-of-stock concessionaire to dig for in the ice.
Decked out in a pineapple-yellow blazer, blue-checkered shirt and a paisley bow tie he bought just for the occasion, Rob Semulka, 23, of Pittsburgh, was making his Belmont debut. “I’m not really here to watch the race,” he told a young woman next to a food truck.
Semulka, an IT worker for a construction company, said he decided to travel to New York from Pennsylvania at the last minute, staying with his sister in Manhattan and a friend in Islip for the weekend.
“My buddy kind of enticed me into it. You gotta wear something flashy. Everyone’s wearing something flashy,” he said before plowing into Korean barbecue at the Belmont Food Truck Village.
Asked to describe his race-day sartorial style, Semulka shrugged.
“Dude, I have no idea. I don’t ever dress up like this.”
Dennis Wall, 30, of Astoria, Queens, refused to dress up in a suit — on principle.
“I work in finance,” he said, explaining that he shuns casual clothing Monday through Friday. “Why am I going to dress up today?”
His concession: “I’m wearing my most bougie shorts.”
Moments after the Stakes, hundreds ran to board special Long Island Rail Road trains, whose platforms and mezzanines were shored up after a near disaster in 2014, when crowds overwhelmed the system.
“That was perfect timing. We would have totally been in the rain,” said one woman dashing to the railroad tracks, in too much of a hurry to give her name.