Belmont spring/summer stakes schedule worth $17.95 million

Feb 13th, 2014 | By TrackSide View | Category: Racetrack Reports

belmont-stakes275webJon Forbes

ELMONT, N.Y. – Six races worth $1 million or more, along with three new events – the Belmont Stakes Festival on June 6-8, Stars & Stripes Day on July 5 and a May 11 Mother’s Day card featuring three graded stakes – form the backbone of the 2014 Belmont Park spring/summer meet, which begins May 1 and continues through July 13. In all, the schedule contains 62 stakes races worth $17.95 million, including 16 overnight stakes with purses of $100,000 each.

June 7 is the most lucrative day on the schedule with $7.7 million in stakes purses, topped by the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes for 3-year-olds, the Grade 1, $1.25 Metropolitan Handicap for 3-year-olds and up, the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares for 4-years-old and up, and the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap for turf horses 4-years-old and up. Total purses for the day will be $8 million, making Belmont Stakes Day the second richest on the North American racing calendar behind only Breeders’ Cup Saturday.

Full details on Belmont Stakes Day are available here:

Belmont will host its inaugural Stars & Stripes Day on July 5. The holiday weekend extravaganza will include a pair of million-dollar 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 1¼-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.

The Belmont Derby, Belmont Oaks, and Belmont Sprint Championship were formerly known as the Jamaica Handicap, Garden City, and James Marvin, respectively.

Big Apple Showcase Day will be held May 31, one week before Belmont Stakes Day, and will feature six stakes, all restricted to New York-breds, worth a combined $900,000.

The Grade 1, $400,000 Man o’ War, which had been contested in July since 2008, is scheduled for Mother’s Day, May 11, and tops a card that also includes the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian, the Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester, and the $100,000 License Fee. The Man o’ War will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 as part of The Jockey Club Tour on FOX series, which debuted earlier this month.

Memorial Day, May 26, features three stakes topped by the Grade 3, $300,000 Poker to be run at one mile on the grass. Also on Memorial Day is the $200,000 Pennine Ridge which, along with the May 25 Wonder Again, serve as prep races for the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks. The first three finishers in both the Pennine Ridge and Wonder Again will be guaranteed invitations to the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks, respectively.

“We are hopeful that, given the lack of big money opportunities at a mile on the grass, the Poker could attract two-time defending Horse of the Year Champion Wise Dan,” said Martin Panza, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations for The New York Racing Association. “The Pennine Ridge and Wonder Again are new races that should be especially popular with their guaranteed invitations to the Belmont Derby and Oaks attached. We anticipate that interest among horsemen in the Derby and Oaks could result in oversubscribed fields for those two seven-figure-purse races on July 5.”

The Astoria for 2-year-old fillies and Tremont for 2-year-olds have returned to the stakes schedule for the first time since 2008 and will be held on June 14 and 15, respectively.

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