The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the stakes schedule for the 51-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet, featuring 58 total stakes races worth $18.65 million starting Friday, April 24 through Sunday, July 12.
The meet will offer 11 total Grade 1 contests and five races with purses of $1 million or higher, with the first four of those contests coming during the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from Thursday, June 4 through Saturday, June 6. 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 ½-mile third and final leg of the Triple Crown.
Belmont Stakes Card Includes Three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races
In addition to the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes on June 6, the card will also include three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers: the one-mile Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan for 4-year-olds and up [Dirt Mile]; the Grade 1, $700,000 Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track [Distaff]; and the Grade 1, $500,000 Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on turf [Turf Sprint]. The Jaipur’s purse increased $100,000 from last year.
Rounding out the stacked card will be the Grade 1, $700,000 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, $500,000 Brooklyn, which will also see a $100,000 purse increase over last year, for the 1 ½-mile test for 4-year-olds and up.
On Friday, June 5, the Grade 2 New York will see its purse increased to $1 million – up from $400,000 in 2019 – as the headliner on a day featuring four graded stakes entailing the Grade 2, $500,000 Belmont Gold Cup, the Grade 2, $300,000 True North; the Grade 3, $300,000 Bed o’ Roses; and the $150,000 Tremont.
The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival opens with three stakes races on June 4, including a pair of Grade 3 turf events worth $200,000: the Intercontinental for older fillies and mares and the Wonder Again, for 3-year-old fillies.
Stars & Stripes Festival Returns July 11
The Stars & Stripes Racing Festival returns on Saturday, July 11 and features five graded stakes headlined by the opening legs of NYRA’s Turf Triple Series. After a successful program launch in 2019, the Turf Triple returns with a pair of races earning Grade 1 status, featuring the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational for sophomores going 1 ¼ miles and the $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies over the same distance.
Implemented by NYRA last year as the turf equivalent of the Triple Crown series, with all the legs contested at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, the Belmont Derby Invitational will again launch the male division of the Turf Triple series that will also include the Saratoga Derby this summer and the Jockey Club Derby during the Belmont fall meet.
The Belmont Oaks Invitational will again launch the female division of the Turf Triple Series, which will be followed by the Saratoga Oaks this summer and conclude with the Jockey Club Oaks during the fall.
Also on July 11, the Grade 2, $300,000 John A. Nerud, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, will see 4-year-olds and up contest at seven furlongs, along with the Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban and the Grade 2, $250,000 Dwyer.
Man o’ War Card Includes Five Graded Stakes
Man o’ War Day on May 9 boasts five graded stakes at Belmont Park, including four graded events, 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 Grade 3, $300,000 Peter Pan, the local prep for the Belmont Stakes; the Grade 3, $200,000 Beaugay, the Grade 3, $200,000 Vagrancy and the Grade 3, $150,000 Runhappy.
The spotlight will shine on New York-breds on Monday, May 25, as part of New York Breeders’ Showcase Day. The lucrative Memorial Day card features six stakes for horses bred in the Empire State led by the $200,000 Commentator at a 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 also round out the day, including the Kingston, Mount Vernon, Mike Lee and Bouwerie.
Opening Day on April 24 will kick off the meet’s stakes action with the $100,000 Affirmed Success for New York-breds. The graded stakes action will commence on Saturday, May 2 with the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay, the Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester and the Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy.
Closing Day on Sunday, July 12 will drop the curtain down on the meet with the $100,000 State Dinner before the racing action moves to Saratoga for its 40-day meet beginning on Thursday, July 16.