NYRA announces partnership with Germany's historic Hoppegarten
by Pat McKenna and Gerhard Schoningh
The New York Racing Association has announced a three-year partnership with one of Germany's premier racetracks, Hoppegarten Racecourse in Berlin, to host a unique, intercontinental stakes series beginning in 2017.
Through the agreement, NYRA will offer the winning 3-year-old filly of the 2017 Group 2 Diana-Trial, contested at 2,000 meters on the turf at historic Hoppegarten on June 4, an all-fees-paid invitation to the 1 ¼-mile, Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational, one of the preeminent turf stakes in North America, on Stars & Stripes Day, July 8, at Belmont Park. The Belmont Oaks Invitational are ideally timed 34 days after the Diana-Trial and 29 days before the Group 1 German Oaks allowing the Berlin winner to compete in both races.
Likewise, the winner of the Group 2 Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen for four year olds and upwards, held at 3,200 meters on May 14, will receive an all-fees-paid invitation to compete in the two-mile, Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 9. The newly upgraded Group 2 The Comer Group Internationial Oleander-Rennen, Germany's premier extended distance race, is upgraded to Group 2 for the first time in 2017 and will launch its winner onto a challenging international campaign.
Additionally, NYRA will offer a generous travel allowance for each qualifying horse and hospitality on the race day.
"The New York Racing Association is thrilled to enter into a relationship with Hoppegarten Race Course. As we look to elevate our international presence, this agreement connecting these races made a lot of sense in trying to further promote both of our racing programs," said Martin Panza, NYRA's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. "The timing is ideal and the race conditions match. The story behind Hoppegarten Race Course is most fascinating and we look forward to working together in our efforts to bring German-based horses to race in New York."
"I am delighted with this exciting new partnership which offers owners excellent prize money and raises our international profile," said Gerhard Schöningh, Owner and Chairman of Hoppegarten Racecourse. "In addition, winning connections can experience a unique race day at Belmont Park in iconic New York."
About The New York Racing Association
The New York Racing Association was founded in 1955 and is franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York's three major tracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course) through 2033. With a lineage of nearly 150 years, NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's thoroughbred industry, which contributes more than $2 billion annually to its urban, suburban and rural economy. NYRA.com is the official website of the New York Racing Association. Follow us on your favorite social media platform, including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
About Hoppegarten Racecourse
Opened in 1868 Hoppegarten quickly established itself as the leading German racecourse and training center. Until 1945 it was the home of four of the five German classics. After the war and until the reunification of Germany in 1990, Hoppegarten was behind the Iron Curtain and therefore cut off from horses and racegoers from West Berlin, West Germany and the western world generally. Following privatisation in 2008, Hoppegarten has become the most dynamic racecourse in Germany in terms of number of racegoers, betting turnover and sponsorship. The track now features an international racing programme with four Group and six Listed Races, headed by the Group 1 LONGINES Grosser Preis von Berlin held in August. In 2013 the 518 acre racecourse estate was officially declared a "Landmark of National Importance". Hoppegarten is well placed to reclaim the leading position in German racing, as well as becoming an important venue for outdoor events in the Berlin region.