The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today that its 2014 Belmont Stakes card on Saturday, June 7 will offer total purses of $8 million and feature 10 stakes races. In 2013, only one card, Breeders’ Cup Saturday at Santa Anita Park, had purses totaling more than $8 million.
The 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card serves as the centerpiece of a new three-day “Belmont Stakes Festival” that will offer a wide array of special hospitality and entertainment options. The 10 Saturday stakes will be worth an aggregate $7.7 million. In 2013, Belmont Stakes Day included six stakes events worth $2.95 million.
“We’ve put together the finest day of horse racing in Belmont Stakes history,” said New York Racing Association CEO and President Chris Kay. “We want every serious and casual fan in the area to come out on June 7 and experience the excitement and fun of one of New York’s truly signature sporting events.”
Five traditional Belmont Stakes Day contests – the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes; the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan; the Grade 1, $750,000 Longines Just a Game; the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens; and the $150,000 Easy Goer will be back as part of the 2014 event.
Five stakes that were not contested on Belmont Stakes Day in 2013 will also be part of the 2014 card. Topping the list is the Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap. Known as “The Met Mile,” the race for 3-year-olds and older at one mile on the main track is annually considered one of the most prestigious races run in North America.
Also new to the Belmont Stakes Day lineup are the Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps; the Grade 1, $750,000 Acorn; the Grade 2, $500,000 Brooklyn Invitational; and the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational. This year’s renewal of the Brooklyn will include the “Brooklyn Bonus” whereby any horse who has previously won a graded stakes at 1 3/16 miles or longer will receive a bonus of $175,000 if he or she captures the Brooklyn.
The Metropolitan Handicap and the Ogden Phipps will also serve in 2014 as Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races offering the winners fees-paid starting berths to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Breeders’ Cup Distaff, respectively.
“This is the premier day of racing at Belmont Park, anchored by the historic Belmont Stakes,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “I see June 7 as a summer time Breeders’ Cup-type event. Fans and New York horsemen deserve a day like this.”
Also scheduled as part of the 13-race Belmont Stakes Day card are three overnight allowance events – two on dirt, one on turf – offering a total of $300,000 in purses.
Highlighting Friday’s card on June 6 are the Grade 2 True North and a new race, the $200,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational to be run at 2 miles on the turf. On Sunday, Belmont will host another new contest, the $100,000 Intercontinental to be run at 7 furlongs on turf.
The Brooklyn, the Jaipur and the Belmont Gold Cup will all be invitational races with no nomination, entry or starting fees.
The True North, Manhattan, Ogden Phipps, and Brooklyn will have allowance weights in 2014 after having handicap weights in 2013.
Longines entered into a long-term partnership with The New York Racing Association as the Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of Belmont Park and The Belmont Stakes, and 2014 marks the third year Longines has been the entitlement sponsor of the Grade 1 Just A Game on Belmont Stakes Day.