08/08/2012 11:52AM

Belmont Park, Aqueduct stakes schedules see big increases; Jockey Club Gold Cup restored to $1 million


For the first time in seven years, the Jockey Club Gold Cup will be worth $1 million when the historic race for 3-year-olds and up is run at Belmont Park on Sept. 29.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup, which had been worth $750,000 since 2006, will be the richest of 31 stakes – 21 of which are graded – offered during the 37-day Belmont fall meet, which runs from Sept. 8 through Oct. 28. The New York Racing Association released its fall stakes schedule for both Belmont and Aqueduct following its monthly Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday in Saratoga.

Belmont’s 31 stakes will be worth $8.35 million, a 34.6 percent increase in purses from 2011 when 31 stakes were run totaling $6.2 million.

At Aqueduct, there will be 21 stakes worth $3.3 million during the 39 days of racing offered from Nov. 2 through Dec. 31, which presumably encompasses 18 cards on the main track and 21 over the inner track.

All stakes at Belmont received a purse increase, anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000. Nineteen stakes were bumped by $50,000.

The Grade 2 Kelso, a one-mile race on dirt, had its purse doubled to $400,000 while the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational and Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational each had their purse boosted by $100,000 to $600,000. Those three races, along with the Beldame Invitational and Vosburgh Invitational – which both received $50,000 increases – will be run on the same Sept. 29 card as the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The Grade 1 Jamaica, for 3-year-olds on turf, received a $150,000 increase to $400,000, while the Champagne and Frizette – both Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds – had their purses upped by $100,000 to $400,000. Those three races will be run on Oct. 6 and are the last of the nine Grade 1 races offered at the meet.

The NYRA returned the Matron and Futurity to the Belmont fall meet after moving them to the spring in 2011. They are Grade 2 races for juvenile fillies and juvenile males, respectively, and will be run at six furlongs on Sept. 30.

All eight New York Showcase Day events had their purses boosted so the Oct. 20 card restricted to New York-breds will now offer $1.15 million in stakes purses topped by the $250,000 Empire Classic.

Stakes purses for the Nov. 2-Dec. 31 portion of the Aqueduct meet increased 40 percent from $2.355 million to $3.3 million. The two Grade 1 races run at the meet – the Cigar Mile and Gazelle – each had their purses increased by $100,000. Those races, along with the Demoiselle and Remsen – which had their purses increased by $50,000 to $250,000 – will be run on Nov. 24.

The Nashua and Tempted, both run at Belmont last fall at six furlongs, have been returned to Aqueduct and will be run on Nov. 4. They also have both been returned to a mile, serving as preps for the Remsen and Demoiselle, respectively.

The Gallant Fox, a 1 5/8-mile race that had not filled the last two years, was not scheduled this year.