IndyCar: A.J. Foyt pulling for California Chrome in today’s Belmont

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In addition to winning four Indianapolis 500s, current Verizon IndyCar Series team owner A.J. Foyt has experienced success on a different kind of track.

As IndyCar.com helpfully points out, “SuperTex” was the former record holder at Churchill Downs for victories during the track’s Spring/Summer meet.

His horses earned 27 wins over the 93-day meet back in 1984, and that mark stood until last season, when Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s horses chalked up 32 wins in 38 days.

Foyt knows a thing or two about thoroughbreds (he has a trio of 2-year-olds that have begun training). And while he’s certainly focusing on tonight’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), you can probably assume that he’ll be keeping tabs on this afternoon’s Belmont Stakes (4:30 p.m. ET, NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra).

With a victory today in New York state, California Chrome (pictured, with jockey Victor Espinoza) will become the first winner of horse racing’s Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Foyt is among those hoping to see history, but worries about the Belmont’s grueling 1.5-mile distance.

“He’s no Secretariat. I don’t know if he can go that far,” Foyt said to the IndyCar website. “A mile and a half is a long way and the way it’s set up [two weeks between the Derby and Preakness Stakes, then three weeks until the Belmont] knocks a horse down. That’s the reason why you didn’t see a lot of them [continue] at the Preakness.”

However, Foyt would be glad to see California Chrome pull it off for owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn.

“Because they turned down a lot of money before they ran the Derby and took a big gamble,” he added. “I hope they do it but they have their work cut out.”

California Chrome will start from the second post position this afternoon at the Belmont. Foyt’s driver, Takuma Sato, is starting 16th on the grid for tonight’s IndyCar race at TMS.

Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”