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No need to make room for Chromentos all around the yard

The famous statue of Secretariat in the paddock

The famous statue of Secretariat in the paddock is adorned with flowers for the running of the 145th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont. (June 8, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Beyond the significant mark he could have made in the record book by becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years, California Chrome Saturday was in a position to literally reshape the landscape at Belmont Park.

Among the physical features at the 109-year-old track are 11 Top of the Stretch sets of picnic tables on the track apron, all requiring special tickets, and each labeled with the name of a Triple Crown champion: Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed.

Of those equine action heroes, of course, Secretariat landmarks are the most plentiful. Besides the large Secretariat display just inside the grandstand entrance -- with Secretariat souvenirs, including small stuffed toys of Big Red in his blue-and-white Meadow Stable colors -- there is the Secretariat statue in the paddock area.

And 31 lengths from the finish line, which is how far back runner-up Twice A Prince finished behind Secretariat in 1973 -- the largest margin of victory in any of the Triple Crown events -- is a pole in the blue-and-white of Secretariat's jockey silks.

All around Belmont Park, among the countless betting windows and ATMs and TV monitors and souvenirs-including a "We Want a Triplechrome" T-shirt, racing history is lovingly preserved. On the second floor of the clubhouse are rows of framed photos of every Belmont winner, back to American Flag in 1925.

There also is a wall of celebrity photos dating back years: Olympic skating champion Tara Lipinski. Former Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella. Tennis champion Martina Hingis with two-time horse of the year Cigar. Saudi Arabian princes.

And a shot of Go For Gin -- the 1994 Kentucky Derby champ who finished second in both the Preakness and Belmont -- drinking from the Stanley Cup while Eddie Olczyk, a member of the Rangers' '94 Cup champions, steadies the trophy.


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