On New York’s biggest and best day of racing in 1992, speed prevailed over mud at Belmont Park yesterday as Strike the Gold made a melodramatic return to his home track in a starring role. But it was A.P. Indy who won the big one, rocketing down the stretch in a power performance to snatch the 124th running of the Belmont Stakes in the final strides and win for the seventh straight time.
The colt, a 3-year-old son of Seattle Slew and a grandson of Secretariat, won by three-quarters of a length over the British import My Memoirs, who in turn had a neck over Pine Bluff, the winner of the Preakness. But nobody had a bigger payday than Pine Bluff, who earned $91,776 for finishing third plus $1 million in bonus money for the best overall performances in the three American classics: fifth in the Kentucky Derby, first in the Preakness and third in the Belmont.
But this was the day when A.P. Indy made the scene, and he did it before an enthralled crowd of 50,204 fans. He was forced to skip both the Derby and the Preakness because of a bruised hoof, but he raced the mile and a half of the Belmont Stakes in 2:26 flat, two seconds off the record set in 1973 by his illustrious grandfather. He matched the second-fastest time, set in 1989 by Easy Goer.