The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced the stakes schedule for the 44-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet, which will feature 59 stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purses. The spring/summer meet will open on Thursday, April 28 and continue through Sunday, July 10.
The Belmont spring/summer meet will offer 12 Grade 1 contests and seven races with purses of $700,000 or higher, with four of those contests coming during the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from Thursday, June 9 through Saturday, June 11. The festival will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the $1.5 million “Test of the Champion” for 3-year-olds in the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.
Tickets for the 2022 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will go on sale Thursday, February 10 at 10 a.m. Eastern via Ticketmaster.com.
In addition to the 154th running of the Belmont Stakes on June 11, that day’s card will include three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers: the one-mile Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap for 3-year-olds and up [Dirt Mile]; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares 4-years-old and up going 1 1/16 miles on the main track [Distaff]; and the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on turf [Turf Sprint].
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The blockbuster Belmont Stakes Day card will also feature the Grade 1, $750,000 Manhattan for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/4 miles on turf; the Grade 1, $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies going one mile; the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Just a Game for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at one mile on the turf; the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens in a seven-furlong sprint over Big Sandy for 3-year-olds; and the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn, a 1 1/2-mile test for 4-year-olds and up.
The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival opens with three stakes races on Thursday, June 9, including the Grade 2, $200,000 Wonder Again, a nine-furlong turf test for 3-year-old fillies offering an automatic invite to the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational to the top-three finishers. Rounding out the June 9 card are a pair of $150,000 sprints for 2-year-olds at 5 1/2-furlongs on the main track led by the Astoria for fillies and the Tremont.
On June 10, the Grade 1, $750,000 New York, a 10-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares will headline a day featuring five graded stakes. Also featured on the June 10 card are the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup, the Grade 2, $300,000 True North; the Grade 2, $300,000 Bed o’ Roses; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental, which has been shortened to six furlongs on turf.
Starts & Stripes Festival
The Stars and Stripes Racing Festival returns on Saturday, July 9 and features four graded stakes headlined by the opening legs of the Caesars Turf Triple Series. Launched by NYRA in 2019, the Turf Triple returns with a pair of 1 1/4-mile turf races offering Grade 1 status, featuring the Grade 1, $1 million Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational for sophomores and the Grade 1, $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies.
Implemented by NYRA as the turf equivalent of the Triple Crown series, with all the legs contested at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, the Caesars Belmont Derby Invitational will again launch the male division of the Turf Triple series that encompasses the Grade 1 Caesars Saratoga Derby this summer and the Grade 3 Caesars Jockey Club Derby during the Belmont fall meet.
The Belmont Oaks Invitational commences the female division of the Turf Triple series, which will be followed by the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks this summer and conclude with the Grade 3 Jockey Club Oaks during the fall.
Also featuring on the Stars and Stripes card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban, a 10-furlong test for older horses; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies.
Man O’ War Tops Big Card
Man o’ War Day on May 14 boasts five graded stakes led by the Grade 1, $700,000 Man o’ War at 1 3/8-miles on the turf for 4-year-olds and upward and bolstered by the nine-furlong Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan, the local prep for the Belmont Stakes; the Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay, the Grade 3, $150,000 Vagrancy, and the Grade 3, $150,000 Runhappy.
Independence Day weekend from Saturday July 2 through Monday, July 4 offers five stakes races. The holiday weekend kicks off July 2 with the Grade 2, $250,000 John A. Nerud, which will see 4-year-olds and up contest at seven furlongs. Also featured on the card is the Grade 3 $250,000 Dwyer. The holiday weekend stakes action continues Sunday, July 3 with the $100,000 Perfect Sting and on Monday, July 4 with the $100,000 Manila and the $150,000 Grand Couturier.
The spotlight will shine on New York-breds on Monday, May 30, as part of Big Apple Showcase Day. The lucrative Memorial Day card features six stakes for horses bred in the Empire State led by the $200,000 Commentator at one mile for 3-year-olds and up and the $200,000 Critical Eye at the same distance for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and upward. A quartet of $125,000 stakes will round out the day, including the Kingston, Mount Vernon, Mike Lee and Bouwerie.
Friday, April 29 will kick off the meet’s stakes action with the $100,000 Affirmed Success, a six-furlong sprint for New York-breds 4-years-old and up. The graded stakes action begins on Saturday, May 7 with the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay, the Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester and the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Marcy.
Closing Day on Sunday, July 10 will drop the curtain down on the meet with the $150,000 River Memories and the $100,000 Saginaw before the racing action moves to Saratoga for its 40-day meet beginning Thursday, July 14.