For One Family, Belmont Is a Major Holiday For the Meehan family of Long Island, Saturday's Belmont Stakes isn't just part of the Triple Crown. It's a national holiday. Marty Meehan has been gathering relatives and friends to watch the horse race and celebrate afterward for 37 years.
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For One Family, Belmont Is a Major Holiday

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For One Family, Belmont Is a Major Holiday

For One Family, Belmont Is a Major Holiday

For One Family, Belmont Is a Major Holiday

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2-year-old Kevin Meehan at his family's annual Belmont Stakes party in 1983. hide caption

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Horseracing fans from around the country will gather in Long Island this weekend to watch Big Brown go for the Triple Crown, at the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes.

The race has special meaning for Marty Meehan, who has gathered friends and family to watch the event for the last 37 years. His celebration is so well-established that his children grew up thinking the Belmont was a national holiday.

For Meehan, the most memorable race was in 1973, the year Secretariat won the Triple Crown.

"At the time, we were maybe five-deep along the fence, the rail and could only see a small section of the race in front of us. The crowd behind us was roaring, and we thought it must be a neck-and-neck race," Meehan says. "And then Secretariat passed within our foot-wide view and then we waited and waited and waited for the second horse to come by and it seemed forever because he won by such record lengths."

Around 50 people will gather at the Meehan's house this weekend, including relative Matt O'Neill, whose trips to the Belmont led him to cover horseracing as a career.