Increased purses announced for Belmont Park spring/summer meet
by Keith McCalmont
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will offer its highest ever overnight purse schedule at the upcoming 48-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet slated for Thursday, April 22 through Sunday, July 11.
The condition book for the Belmont spring/summer meet is available online now at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/horsemen. Hard copies of the condition book will be available in the race office next week.
“NYRA is pleased to be able to offer the highest overnight purse levels in the history of Belmont Park,” said Martin Panza, NYRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “These increases come at an important time in support of horsemen and will drive the industry forward as we emerge from the challenges wrought by COVID-19.”
Significant increases were made across most race categories which will see horsemen at the Belmont spring/summer meet compete for some of the highest purses in North America.
Open maiden special weight races at the Belmont spring/summer meet will feature a purse of $90,000 and horsemen participating in the claiming ranks will compete for purse money ranging up to $100,000.
New York-bred maiden special weight races will offer a purse of $75,000, while horses bred in the Empire State will benefit from an $85,000 purse for non-winners of two / $45,000 claiming and an $80,000 purse for the non-winners of one category.
“There has never been a better time to race or breed right here in New York state,” Panza continued. “The New York-bred program continues to thrive, and the purses and incentives that will begin this spring will continue through the summer at Saratoga making an investment in New York-breds all the more enticing.”
Joe Appelbaum, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA), expressed his support for the newly announced purse structure.
“It’s gratifying to see these significant purse increases to the overnight and NY-bred races,” said Appelbaum. “These races are the foundation of the NYRA racing program and the continued investment in them has proven to be successful.”
Pari-mutuel wagering funds the majority of the NYRA purse account, which is awarded to horsemen and, in turn, benefits hundreds of small businesses operating at NYRA tracks and others dependent on the thoroughbred racing industry.
In addition to pari-mutuel wagering, the remainder of the NYRA purse account is funded through VLT revenues generated by casinos located in downstate New York, most notably at Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all casinos in New York were closed on March 16. The phased re-opening of the New York state economy authorized casinos to re-open to the public at limited capacity on September 9, 2020.
Live racing at Aqueduct continues Friday, February 19 with an eight-race card. First post on Friday is 1:20 p.m.