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Belmont Park hosts the first ever Stars & Stripes Day

By Nailah Ellis Timberlake | 06/27/2014 11:04 AM ET

Belmont Park will host its inaugural Stars & Stripes Day celebrating Independence Day on Saturday, July 5. The day will kick with a mystery mutuel voucher giveaway for all visiting fans, live music and activities in the backyard, and a food truck festival.  

The holiday weekend extravaganza will include a pair of seven-figure contests: the Grade 1, $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational and the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational. Both the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks are 1 ¼-mile turf races for 3-year-olds, with the Oaks restricted to fillies. Also on the July 5 card are the Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban Handicap, the Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship and the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer. The Suburban Handicap will be contested at the classic distance of 1 ¼ miles for the first time since 2009.

"As we celebrate our nation's independence, we're excited to offer an unprecedented day of racing on Stars & Stripes Day," said Chris Kay, President and CEO of The New York Racing Association, Inc. "We also take this time to honor members of the armed forces serving at home and abroad and thank them for their service."

The New York Racing Association Inc. is honoring the brave men and women who serve by extending free admission to all members of the U.S. military - active and retired - who show their Military I.D. at the admissions gate.

A mystery mutuel voucher Giveaway will also take place during Stars & Stripes Day. Fans who register here by 5pm on July 3 will receive a coupon via email to redeem their voucher on July 5 at Belmont Park or Aqueduct Race Track. Vouchers are worth $5, $10, $20, $50 or $100 with four lucky fans receiving a voucher worth $1,776 in commemoration of the year in which the Declaration of Independence was signed. In addition to the voucher giveaway, the first 12,000 fans will receive a Belmont Stars & Stripes T-shirt.
The Belmont Backyard will host a variety of family friendly activities such as a petting zoo, pony rides, face painters, karaoke, an inflatable rock wall and a variety of carnival booths.

In addition to all of the backyard festivities, Belmont will host a Food Truck Festival with more than 20 participating trucks including: Gorilla Cheese NYC , Papaya King, Hibachi Heaven, Pizza on Wheels, Andy's Italian Ices NYC & Espresso Bar, Big D's Grub Truck, Carl's Steaks, El Paso, Hot Dawg Truck, Mr. Smith's Seafood and More 2, Mike n' Willies and Crepes Truck, Mr. Nice Guy, Mac Truck, Dub Pies and Emily's Apple Puffs.

The Belmont spring/summer meet runs through July 13. Live racing is generally conducted Wednesday through Sunday. Belmont Park is located at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont N.Y. 11003. For more information, visit here.

About The New York Racing Association, Inc.
NYRA's mission is "Meeting the highest standards in thoroughbred racing and equine safety." Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York's three major tracks (Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course) through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state's thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State's urban, suburban and rural economy.