Stakes Advance
Jul 7, 2019
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2019 Stars & Stripes Racing Festival generates record handle

by Pat McKenna



Saturday's 11-race Stars & Stripes Racing Festival card, highlighted by an upset victory by Henley's Joy in the 70th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational, generated all-sources handle of $25,766,176, the highest handle figure since the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) launched the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival in 2014.

One of five graded stakes on the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival program, the Belmont Derby opened the Turf Trinity in NYRA's new Turf Triple series, which offers $5.25 million in purse money for sophomores over three legs at Belmont and Saratoga Race Course.

In the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, Concrete Rose posted a 2 3/4-length win in capturing the first leg of the new Turf Tiara in the Turf Triple Series.

In addition to the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks, Saturday's card included the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban, the Grade 2, $300,000 John A. Nerud, formerly the Belmont Sprint Championship, and the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer.

With a paid attendance of 15,937, Saturday's on-track handle was $2,720,632.

Stars & Stripes Racing Festival Handle History
(2014-2019)

2014
Saturday, July 5
Races: 10
All-sources: $18,829,264
On-track: $2,825,797

2015
Saturday, July 4
Races: 11
All-sources: $20,652,065
On-track: $2,779,529

2016
Saturday, July 9
Races: 11
All-sources: $22,980,094
On-track: $2,898,826

2017
Saturday, July 8
Races: 11
All-sources: $22,341,423
On-track: $3,084,823

2018
Saturday, July 7
Races: 11
All-sources: $24,612,465
On-track: $3,182,22

2019
Saturday, July 6
Races: 11
All-sources: $25,766,176
On-track: $2,720,632


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Brian Bohl

Imperial Racing millionaire Plus Que Parfait already has bested a talented field of international contenders on dirt when he captured the Group 2 UAE Derby in March. The Brendan Walsh trainee will look for similar success as he transitions to turf as part of a full 14-horse field of 3-year-olds in the 70th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on Saturday at Belmont Park.