NYRA announces stakes schedule for 28-day fall meet at Belmont Park
by Brian Bohl
Grade 1 Woodward returns to Belmont on October 2
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the stakes schedule for the 28-day fall meet at Belmont Park, which will include 20 graded stakes among 47 total stakes worth $11.15 million in purses.
The fall meet, which will run from Thursday, September 16 through Sunday, October 31 will offer four Grade 1 races and five “Win and You’re In” qualifiers to the Breeders’ Cup in November at Del Mar.
The first two stakes will come during the meet’s second day, with a pair of $100,000 six-furlong turf sprints on Friday, September 17, with the Allied Forces for sophomores and the Christiecat for 3-year-old fillies. The following day will feature the first Breeders’ Cup qualifier on the docket with the $1 million Jockey Club Derby for 3-year-olds going 1 1/2 miles on the turf in the final leg of NYRA’s Turf Triple series that will commence with the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby in July and continue with the Grade 1, $1 million Saratoga Derby in August at historic Saratoga Race Course.
September 18 will also see the $700,000 Jockey Club Oaks, the concluding leg of the Turf Triple for 3-year-old fillies, held at 1 3/8 miles, with the card bolstered by the 1 5/8-mile $300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational.
The weekend of September 25-26 will encompass the meet’s first graded stakes races, with that Saturday offering the Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Handicap for 3-year-olds and up going one mile on the main track and the Grade 3, $200,000 Athenia for fillies and mares 3-years-old competing at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The following day will see fillies and mares 3-and-up sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs in the Grade 2, $250,000 Gallant Bloom, with the undercard rounded out by the $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard for New York-bred juveniles going seven furlongs.
Seven graded stakes will comprise the weekend of October 2-3, with a pair of Grade 1s highlighting the Saturday card with the $500,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up going a one-turn 1 1/8 miles on Big Sandy and the $500,000 Champagne for 2-year-olds running one mile in a prestigious race affording a spot in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to the winner. The Grade 2, $200,000 Miss Grillo will see juvenile fillies running 1 1/16 miles on turf that day, along with the Grade 3, $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on the grass.
Sunday, October 3 will continue the high-level action, with the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette for 2-year-old fillies at one mile with a spot in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies up for grabs. The day will also include the Grade 2, $200,000 Pilgrim for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the Grade 3, $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya at 1 3/8 miles in a turf route for fillies and mares 3-and-up.
The following weekend will again provide a chance to see top-caliber racing, with Saturday, October 9 showcasing the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic for 3-year-olds and up in a marathon 1 1/2-mile turf competition, with the Grade 2, $250,000 Vosburgh, a six-furlong “Win and You’re In” event for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, bolstering the undercard along with the Grade 3, $150,000 Matron for juvenile fillies.
October 10 will offer the fall meet’s final Breeders’ Cup qualifier with the Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds going six furlongs on the turf providing a spot in the Grade 1, $2 million Juvenile Turf Sprint. Also on tap that day will be the Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame at nine furlongs for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Knickerbocker for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
Closing weekend on October 30-31 will see a packed Saturday that will offer eight stakes for New York-breds on Empire Showcase Day, led by the $300,000 Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles. A trio of $250,000 stakes includes the Empire Distaff, Sleepy Hollow and Maid of the Mist. Also on tap will be two $200,000 contests in the Mohawk and Ticonderoga, along with a pair of $150,000 stakes in the Iroquois and Hudson.
Closing Day on Sunday, October 31 will conclude the meet with five stakes: the $150,000 Zagora for fillies and mares 3-and-up; the Pumpkin Pie for the same division going seven furlongs; the $100,000 Awad for juveniles at 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the $100,000 Chelsey Flower for 2-year-old fillies going the same distance.
Three stakes have been added to the fall schedule, starting with the $100,000 Glen Cove for sophomores fillies sprinting seven furlongs on the turf on October 15. The $100,000 Carle Place, for 3-year-olds also going seven furlongs on the turf, will be held October 22, while the $100,000 Oyster Bay for 3-year-olds and up going seven furlongs on the turf will be run on October 29.
For the complete Belmont Park fall meet stakes schedule, please visit NYRA.com/stakes