Things are in full swing to prep for the Belmont Tea at my house tomorrow, where I've got about 15 women showing up to watch the final leg of the Triple Crown. I'm looking for an exciting race without tragedy.
2007 winner Rags to Riches' younger half-brother, Casino Drive, is out to be the spoiler at Belmont and he would be Better Than Honour's third off-spring in three years to win the race if he prevails. Older half-brother Jazil won two years ago. That's one hell of a brood mare. She passes on genes from both Seattle Slew (her grandsire) and Secretariat (her great-grandsire) from her own sire, 1992 Belmont winner A.P. Indy. Talk about a royal family of racing as well as the convoluted inbreeding of Thoroughbreds. Casino Drive's sire is Mineshaft, son of A.P. Indy. Rags to Riches (retired after a hairline fracture that was reinjured) is two months in-foal to Giant's Causeway, sire of Better than Honour's 2007 foal.
Big Brown's runaway performance at the Preakness gives him the favored status tomorrow, despite that quarter crack. The news coverage about steroids does still put a cast over his performance, though. Not the horse's fault. It will be interesting to see if he races against Curlin, 2007's horse of the year despite his loss to Rags to Riches, as the article I read today suggests is in the works. A modern Seabiscuit versus War Admiral match up, perhaps?
I managed to find a bakery that makes pullman loaves, perfect for making tea sandwiches. They would even make them in color, but I decided to pass on that. I'm getting white, wheat, and rye, and I'll get two of the loaves sliced on the horizontal. I've got a wide variety of sandwich fillings to choose from, so I'll probably do an egg salad, a smoked salmon, a ham, and possibly the blue cheese with roast beef (even if I won't eat it.) I've found about 10 different recipes for making Maids of Honour, though none quite like the ones Marilyn Niven brought to the last Belmont Tea. My scone recipe is from the no longer existent Ticky-boo Tea Room in Carlsbad, a wonderful Victorian place that disappeared overnight, much to our chagrin. Fortunately, my friends had bought the self-published "Cookin' in the Kilt" the owners had written and the scones and a savory Stilton cheesecake are always a big hit.
My challenge tonight is to get the dining room table cleared to set up the tea trays, cups, saucers, and the good silver. I've also got to pull out all of the horse swag I've collected to decorate, including balloons with silks on them, the string of plastic horse lights, the teapots with horses, and my growing collection of Triple Crown glasses (for anyone choosing to drink iced tea or a Belmont Breeze.)
My friend Kay is doing a whirlwind trip to the east coast to watch the race in person. I suggested she call and give us a live report. I suspect we won't be able to hear a word if Big Brown wins.