Belmont Park - Featuring the third annual Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, itself anchored by the 149th renewal of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 10, live thoroughbred racing returns to Belmont Park on Friday, April 28 for its 54-day spring/summer meet.
First post time is 1:30 p.m. on Friday and admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. General admission is $5 and general parking is free.
The 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes, the oldest and longest leg of racing's Triple Crown, will bring down the curtain on three days of world-class racing, featuring 19 stakes worth $9.6 million beginning Thursday, June 9 and continuing through Belmont Stakes Day.
As the premiere event of the spring/summer meet, the Belmont Stakes Day will be comprised of five Grade 1 contests supporting the final and most elusive jewel of the Triple Crown: the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap
("Met Mile") for 3-year-olds and up, the $1 million Manhattan Handicap
for older horses on the grass and the $700,000 Longines Just a Game for the turf female division, as well as the $1 million Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares and the $700,000 Acorn for sophomore fillies.
With the Belmont Stakes Draw scheduled on Wednesday, June 8 at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, Thursday, June 9, will open the premier racing festival as "Community Day" at Belmont Park, highlighted by a live Q&A session with Bob Baffert, the Hall of Fame trainer of 2016 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah
. The racing card will feature a trio of stakes in the $200,00 Astoria for 2-year-old fillies, $150,000 Intercontinental for filly and mare turf sprinters and the $200,000 Belmont Coronation Invitational for fillies and mares going 1 15/16 miles on the turf.
Friday's card will feature five stakes worth more than $1.5 million, including the Grade 2, $500,000 New York and the Grade 2, $250,000 True North, as well as hospitality room entertainment and a handicapping seminar. A special post-race concert by country stars Maddie & Tae will close out the second day of the festival. TasteNY vendors will also be on hand with a variety of regional products of wines, spirits, foods, and crafts available for purchase.
Friday will also mark the beginning of the meet's elite high-roller handicapping tournament, the Belmont Stakes Challenge, a two-day live-money handicapping contest with a $10,000 buy-in set to conclude on Belmont Stakes Day with a guaranteed overall prize pool of at least $125,000.
Guests will be able to take advantage of enhanced wifi capacity and other upgrades at Belmont Park as the 2016 spring/summer meet gets underway on Friday with a three-day opening weekend, highlighted by the $100,000 Affirmed Success for New York-bred sprinters on opening day and followed by a pair of turf stakes in the $100,000 Elusive Quality on Saturday, April 30, and the $100,000 License Fee on Sunday, May 1.
Derby Day will host the first of 29 graded stakes races of the much-revered meet, offering a trio of prestigious races: the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay and the Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy, both on the turf, and the Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester, the traditional prep for the Met Mile on Belmont Stakes Day.
The racing action heats up the following weekend with four graded stakes on Saturday, May 14: the Grade 3, $150,000 Beaugay; the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian; the Grade 1, $400,000 Man o' War for older turf horses; and the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan, the local prep race for the Belmont Stakes.
On Preakness Day, Saturday, May 21, fans will be able to enjoy live racing at Belmont as well as full-card simulcasting of the day's events at Pimlico, while picking up the first giveaway item of the summer, a long-sleeve black t-shirt, free with admission while supplies last.
New York-breds take center stage for Big Apple Showcase Day on Memorial Day, May 30, with six stakes races worth $900,000, including a pair of one-mile dirt races: the Commentator and the Critical Eye for fillies and mares, both worth $200,000. Rounding out the Big Apple experience will be various family-friendly activities and food trucks in the backyard as Belmont pays tribute to our nation's military service members.
In July, the second "must-see" event of the meet is the third edition of the internationally themed Stars & Stripes Racing Festival on July 9, highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.25 Belmont Derby Invitational for 3-year-olds and the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies, both at 1 ¼ miles on the turf. Also on the card are the Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban Handicap, the Grade 3, $500,000 Dwyer for 3-year-olds, the Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship and the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride for 3-year-old filly sprinters. Food trucks and other activities will be on hand for the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival, as well as a beach towel giveaway and a two-day handicapping contest July 9-10.
Twilight racing returns with "Party at the Park," taking place on four Fridays this summer - June 17, June 24, July 1 and July 8 - with a special first-race post time of 3:05 p.m.
With the exception of the twilight racing cards, Derby and Preakness Day, and the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, the first race post time at Belmont Park generally will be 1:30 p.m.
Admission to Belmont Park is $5, excluding Belmont Stakes Day, when Grandstand admission is $15 and Clubhouse admission is $40. Information on special hospitality packages and seats for Belmont Stakes Day can be found at belmontstakes.com
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