There are many targets at which to sling arrows for the lousy television ratings recorded by last Saturdays Belmont Stakes. The 3.1 overnight rating on ABC-TV was the events lowest rating ever. The audience for the dreadful two-hour telecast was down 14 percent compared with last years overnight rating of 3.6. A little more than two million households a drop in the proverbial feed bin - were tuned in.

Start with the fact that the Belmont Stakes has become insignificant outside racings inner circle when theres no Triple Crown on the line. On-track attendance at Belmont was off nearly 75,000 fans from the 2004 race in which Smarty Jones tried to capture the elusive sweep. This June, with Street Sense, the Kentucky Derby winner on the sidelines, most fans felt that the Belmont was a walkover for Curlin, the Preakness winner, and you know how famous the Preakness winner is NOT!.

Nevertheless, anyone who tuned in by accident must have left in a hurry. If ABC-TV keeps producing telecasts as meaningless, downtrodden and mistake-prone as the dirge that it offered on Saturday, horse racing will be seen by fewer viewers than archery.