Belmont Park opens Wednesday, April 29

December 11, 2015

$10 million Belmont Stakes Racing Festival set for June 4-6

ELMONT, N.Y. - Highlighted by the inaugural Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, encompassing three days of world-class stakes racing including the 147th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, Belmont Park opens on Wednesday, April 29 for its 59-day spring/summer meet with exciting thoroughbred action and a wide-ranging array of special events designed to enhance the guest experience.

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The oldest and longest leg of racing's elusive Triple Crown, the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes this year will be supported by three days of outstanding racing, featuring 17 stakes races worth more than $10 million from Thursday, June 4 through Belmont Stakes Day, June 6.

As New York's home for Triple Crown racing, Belmont Park will host a live simulcast of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2, complemented by a full day of live racing along with a Kentucky-themed barbecue festival, family fun activities, a Knob Creek bourbon tasting, and a special post-race concert by pop-rock artist Parachute in the backyard.

That day, Belmont will offer a trio of prestigious stakes 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 Grade 1, $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap ("Met Mile") on Belmont Stakes Day.

The Met Mile is one of five other Grade 1 races on a 13-race card supporting the Belmont Stakes: the $1 million Knob Creek Manhattan on the turf, the $1 million Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares, the $750,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies and the $700,000 Longines Just a Game for turf fillies and mares. Also on track that day will be the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens , the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational, the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur Invitational, and the $150,000 Easy Goer for 3-year-olds.

Numerous guest-centric enhancements have been made for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, including special post-race concerts by top-tier bands on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Two new food truck villages in the Backyard and near the Top of the Stretch will feature more than 30 of the most popular New York-area trucks.

With the Belmont Stakes Draw scheduled on Wednesday, June 3 at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will kick off on June 4 with the $150,000 Intercontinental for turf fillies and mares and the $250,000 Astoria for 2-year-old fillies.

On Friday, June 5, the festival continues as Belmont Park will offer five stakes races worth $1.2 million, including the Grade 2, $300,000 New York for turf fillies and mares, the Grade 2, $250,000 True North for sprinters, the $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational for turf marathoners, the $150,000 Jersey Girl for 3-year-old filly sprinters, and the Astoria's twin race, the 5 ½-furlong Tremont for juveniles, also with a purse of $250,000.

Belmont Park will celebrate Mother's Day on May 10 with Family Fun Day, an enter-to-win contest featuring equine-themed jewelry, clothing and accessories, free roses to all women dining in the Garden Terrace and special photo opportunities for the whole family.

On Memorial Day, May 25, New York-breds take center stage on Big Apple Showcase Day, 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 a Farmers' Market as one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature initiatives, Taste NY, as well as a jockey and trainer autograph session.

In July, the second "must-see" event of the meet is the second edition of the internationally themed Stars & Stripes Racing Festival, highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.25 Belmont Derby Invitational 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 129th running of the Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban Handicap, the 98th edition of 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.

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