OTB Race Previews
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Live thoroughbred racing will return to Belmont Park on Friday, April 26 for its 48-day spring/summer meet, featuring 59 stakes races worth $18.4 million, that runs through Sunday, July 7.
First post time is 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Opening Day, and admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. General admission is $5 and general parking is free. Friday's nine-race card will be highlighted by the $100,000 Affirmed Success for New York-bred 4-year-olds and up going six furlongs.
New for 2019, the spring/summer twilight racing program will move to Thursdays beginning on May 9 and continuing with each subsequent Thursday in May followed by twilight cards on June 6 - Day 1 of the 2019 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival - June 13, and June 27. Twilight Thursdays will feature nine-race cards with a first post of 3:05 p.m.
The oldest and longest leg of racing's vaunted Triple Crown will serve as the centerpiece of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, from June 6-8, that comprises 18 total stakes, featuring the 151st running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 8.
Bringing down the curtain on three days of world-class racing, Belmont Stakes Day on Saturday, June 8, will include eight Grade 1 races among nine graded stakes all leading up to "the Test of the Champion," set to air live on NBC.
With the Belmont Stakes Draw scheduled for Tuesday, June 4 at Citi Field in Queens, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will kick off Thursday, June 6 with a pair of stakes for fillies and mares: the Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental on the turf going seven furlongs; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again for sophomores at 1 1/8 miles on the grass.
The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival continues Friday, June 7 with five more stakes topped by the Grade 2, $600,000 New York for turf fillies and mares at 1 ¼ miles, the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational at two miles on the turf for 4-year-olds and up; the Grade 2, $250,000 True North for older sprinters; and the $150,000 Tremont for juveniles. Day 2 of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival is rounded out by the Grade 3, $250,000 Bed 'O Roses Invitational for fillies and mares.
The spring meet will feature the second year of the Man o' War Racing Festival on May 11 offering five stakes, including four graded events, led by the Grade 1, $700,000 Man o' War at 1 3/8-miles on the turf for 4-year-olds and upward.
The top-quality card on May 11 is also headlined by the local prep for the Belmont Stakes, the Grade 3, $300,000 Peter Pan for sophomores at 1 1/8 miles. Rounding out the day's stakes are a pair of Grade 3 contests for fillies and mares with the $200,000 Beaugay at 1 1/16 miles on the grass and the $200,000 Vagrancy for sprinters, as well as the $150,000 Runhappy for sprinters 4-years-old and up.
The 2019 spring/summer meet will also see the launch of the Turf Trinity and Turf Tiara as part of the inaugural Turf Triple Series, offering $5.25 million in purse money, for sophomores over three legs at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.
The Turf Triple Series will showcase the best 3-year-old turf runners in the country, with the first legs slated for Saturday, July 6 as part of the Stars & Stripes Festival to be broadcast live nationwide on NBC.
The Turf Trinity, for 3-year-olds, kicks off on July 6 with the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational, contested at 1 1/4-miles on the Belmont turf. The two additional legs of the Turf Trinity will include the inaugural $1 million Saratoga Derby on August 4 at Saratoga Race Course and the finale back at Belmont with the first running of the $1 million Jockey Club Derby on September 7.
The 3-year-old fillies will start their path on the Turf Tiara with the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, at 1 1/4-miles on the Belmont turf as part of the July 6 Stars & Stripes Festival, to be broadcast live on NBC.
The Turf Tiara continues August 2 with the inaugural $750,000 Saratoga Oaks, held at 1 3/16-miles. The final jewel of the Turf Tiara, the first-ever $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks slated for September 7 at Belmont, will be contested at 1 3/8-miles on the turf, and aired live on NBC as part of an action-packed weekend of racing to raise the curtain on the Belmont fall meet.
The Stars & Stripes Racing Festival will be contested over three days beginning on Thursday, July 4 and concluding on Saturday, July 6, when five graded stakes will be offered on the Belmont spring/summer meet's penultimate day.
The packed card will also include the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer for 3-year-olds; the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles, and the renamed Grade 2, $300,000 John A. Nerud, formerly the Belmont Sprint Championship, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
In May, Belmont Park becomes New York's Triple Crown headquarters, hosting special events alongside live racing with the chance to watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby on May 4, and the Preakness on May 18.
Live Derby Day racing at Belmont Park is headlined by the 60th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay, the 90th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester and the Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy for 4-year-olds and up.
Preakness Day, May 18, will offer fans a full simulcast of all the action from Pimlico alongside a strong card of live racing highlighted by the Grade 3, $100,000 Soaring Softly.
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