Cant get used to the idea that tomorrow is Independence Day. How can there be a 4th of July weekend when the big day falls on a Wednesday?

Never got a five-day holiday weekend when I was in school.

When I was a kid, July 4th was a huge racing day. Actually, still is, but because of the way the calendar falls this year, my big-race barometer is more than a little askew.

At Belmont Park tomorrow, there will be two big races to celebrate the countrys birthday; the Dwyer Stakes for three-year-olds, and the Tom Fool, a seven furlong event that almost always attracts some of the countrys top sprinters.

But the big action is not limited to New York, New York. In upstate Canandaigua, just outside Rochester, a Kentucky Derby winner will appear for the first time in Finger Lakes racetrack history. We speak of the celebrated New York-bred, Funny Cide, seeking a field he can defeat.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

But the highlight, of course, will be the return of two current Kentucky Derby three-year-olds in the Dwyer.

Perhaps Nobiz Like Shobiz and Any Given Saturday might have a better second half beneath the glaring sophomore lights than they had earlier this season. If they have developed further since May, it could be one hell of a Saratoga and fall.

Alas, we shall see. But in the meantime, lets celebrate whats truly great about this country at this time in our storied history: Scooter Libby walks among us a free man.