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Horseracing Update: NYRA Unveils Packed Belmont Park Spring/Summer Lineup

Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
Horseracing Update NYRA Unveils Packed Belmont Park Spring/Summer Lineup

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) recently released a packed roster. It consists of stakes races for the 48-day, USD16.95-million Belmont Park spring/summer meet. The horseracing spectacular will feature 59 bigtime races. They will start on April 22 and end on July 11. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the development in his announcement. He mentioned live sports and entertainment venues will re-open to a limited number of spectators starting on February 23. The development also means that more online horseracing betting action will be available for everyone as the sport partially opens its doors amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Newly-announced Health Protocols Under Review

Cuomo’s directive permits live sports and entertainment venues to reopen. It will cater to a specified number of fans starting on February 23. These sites must obtain approval from the New York State Department of Health. A spectator limit applies to all venues. Only 10% of the total seating capacity will be used in the horseracing facility. Attendees are asked to present a negative COVID polymerase chain reaction test. It must be taken within 72 hours of the event. They must also follow the minimum health and safety requirements, including mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

The association is currently studying the newly-announced directives. This is in order to seek a way forward for the Aqueduct Racetrack. New York State is currently using it as a COVID vaccination center. They are also analyzing the situation whether it could also be applied to Belmont Park and the Saratoga Race Course.

Belmont Park Spring/Summer Surprise

Eleven Grade 1 events and seven races with purses of at least USD700,000 are on tap for the horseracing extravaganza. Four of these events will happen in the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 3-5. The main event for the spring/summer racefest is the USD1.5-million, 1 1/2 mile (2.414-kilometer) Belmont Stakes. The final leg of the US Triple Crown will flag off on June 5. Aside from the prestigious horseracing event, the race card also features three Breeders’ Cup qualifying races. This includes the one-mile USD1-million Metropolitan Stakes Race for four-year-olds and up; the USD500,000, Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes for older fillies and mares for a distance of 1 1/16 miles; the USD400,000, Grade 1 Jaipur Stakes Race for three-year-old horses that will cover a distance of six furlongs.

The Belmont Stakes Day card will also feature the Grade 1, Manhattan Stakes for four-year-olds; the one-mile Acorn Stakes for three-year-old fillies; the Just a Game Stakes for four-year-old fillies and mares; the Woody Stephens seven-furlong sprint and the Grade 2 Brooklyn Stakes for horses with the age of at least four years old.  The first day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival happens on June 3. It features two Grade 3 turf races with the Intercontinental Stakes for older fillies and mares and the Wonder Again Stakes for three-year-old fillies. The Astoria Sprint is the final race for the day, with juvenile fillies taking centerstage.

A heavy racing card will take place the following day, June 4, with the Grade 2 New York Stakes headlining the second day of the Belmont Stakes race fest. The 10-furlong race for older fillies and mares will grant a bonus to any previous winner of the Belmont Oaks, Saratoga Oaks or the Jockey Club Oaks. The winner of the 2021 edition of the New York Stakes will give the winning owner and trainer USD315,000 and  USD35,000, respectively. Anticipate the Belmont Gold Cup, True North Stakes, Bed ‘o Roses Stakes, and the Tremont Stakes Races on that day.

Conclusion

A month after the Belmont Stakes Race Festival, the NYRA will hold the Stars and Stripes Racing Festival on July 10. The race fest will feature three graded stakes races, top-billed by the opening legs of the Turf Triple Series. Two races that are part of the Turf Triple will be raced during the racing event and these are the USD1-million Belmont Daily Invitational for sophomores and the Belmont Oak Invitational for three-year-old fillies. The two races runs at a distance of 1.25 miles. Capping the festival is the USD150,000 River Memories Stakes on July 11. After this, the racing action moves to Saratoga for its 40-day feature beginning on July 15.

The Belmont Park spring/summer meet gives enthusiasts who will be betting on horseracing events treat and excitement for the three-month span beginning on April 22. The middle part of the year will be big for horseracing as it tries to recover from the stigma of the virus and move on to a new future in the so-called sport of kings.