This Saturday, a California thoroughbred that was once considered of inferior stock will race for the Triple Crown, perhaps the most elusive of all sports honors. It’s been 35 years since a horse won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes, and only 11 horses have ever accomplished the feat.
Perhaps that’s why the nation has gone nuts for California Chrome, with a running countdown until this weekend’s race. But throughout the state of California, and especially in and around Yuba City, where the horse’s co-owners live, it’s a strictly local affair.
Looking for a place to join in the revelry? Check out a few fun picks below.
In Yuba City, where half of the ownership team of California Chrome lives (Denise and Perry Martin live in Yuba City and Steve and Carolyn Coburn call Topaz Lake, Nevada home), an outdoor viewing party is set for Plumas Street in the downtown district. There will be large TV screens on either side of the street tuned to the race, live music as a preamble, and local dining from Rolling Stone Pizza Company, El Zarape and Dancing Tomato Caffé.
Yuba City Viewing Party
Plumas and Church streets
If you’d rather stay indoors in Yuba City, head to Clubhouse 56 to watch the race and partake in the special of the night, “the Belmont Breeze, the official drink of the Belmont Stakes,” said the Sacramento Bee.
723 56th St., Yuba City
In Berkeley, combine your love of wine tasting and horse racing at the Belmont Stakes Wine Festival at Golden Gate Fields. Watching the race may be even more fun after a few samples.
Belmont Stakes Wine Festival
Golden Gate Fields
If it’s not the Belmont Stakes without an official bet, Cal Expo might be for you. It’s “the only place in the region you can officially place wagers on the Belmont before you watch the race on the Club House’s many large flat screens throughout the venue,” said Sactown Magazine.
Plus, a $38 admission ticket to the Sports & Wagering Center Club House will also get you a reserved seat and a gourmet breakfast and lunch buffet.
In the Los Angeles area, the place to be is Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. California Chrome has run a number of races here, and Santa Anita also has a personal stake in California Chrome’s success,” said the Beverly Hills Courier. “Ever since Chrome’s win at the Santa Anita Derby, the track has adopted the colt as its “hometown hero,” and, indeed he may be the first California-bred horse in history to take the Triple Crown,” they said.
While the Belmont Stakes is in New York, a little geography isn’t going to stop fans from showing up to celebrate the race and root the horse on. Specifically, the place to be be is Santa Anita’s Chandelier Room, which “has quietly become the de facto place for food-loving and cocktail-sipping spectators.” The L.A. Times says to expect “Belmont Stakes-style hats and dress” at the “ultimate viewing party for Southern California locals.”
It’ll cost you $150 to get in, but you’ll have great viewing, both of the race and the get-ups, as well as great food from Chef Christian Page (most recently of Short Order) and Christopher Feldmeier (formerly of Osteria Mozza), California wine tasting from David Rosoff (also of Mozza), and spriits from Nathan Oliver (Harvard & Stone, Ink.).
Santa Anita’s Chandelier Room
Noon to 8 p.m.
The Chandelier Room too chi-chi for you?
KROQ and New Found Glory are joining together for Belmont Stakes Day, Triple Crown Race & Microbrew Fest, with a concert and microbrew beer garden leading up to the race.
Triple Crown Race & Microbrew Fest
Doors open 11 a.m.
Packages cost $15–100
If you’re excited about watching, but not about being out in a crowd, bring the crowd home. Borrow a few ideas from Punch Bowl and throw your own party with traditional horse race cocktails” like mint juleps or bellinis, and main courses including “buttermilk fried chicken, grilled sausage, crab cakes or a brunch buffet with french toast, bacon, quiche, an assortment of fresh fruit and pastries.”
And make your own festive cocktail while you’re at it! Follow their recipe the The Belmont Breeze:
1 1/2 oz American blended whiskey
3/4 oz Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
1 oz lemon soda
1 oz club soda
Add the first six ingredients with ice to a shaker and mix. Top with sodas and garnish with mint and lemon slice. Tune in NBC on Saturday, June 7, at 4:30 p.m.
So where will you be watching?