02/13/2014 2:34PM

Belmont Park spring stakes schedule has six stakes worth at least $1 million

Barbara D. Livingston
Palace Malice, shown training at Palm Meadows this winter, won the 2013 Belmont Stakes, which has been boosted this year from $1 million to $1.5 million.

The beefed up Belmont Park spring/summer stakes schedule isn’t confined to Belmont Stakes Day.

One week after announcing that the June 7 Belmont Stakes Day card will be the second-richest program on the North American calendar, the New York Racing Association released the entire spring/summer schedule that will present 62 stakes worth $17.95 million in purses – including six races worth at least $1 million. In 2013, Belmont’s spring/summer meet offered 37 stakes worth $9.3 million with only the Belmont Stakes worth $1 million.

The 2014 schedule includes several $100,000 stakes that in past years were run as overnight stakes, and the money for those comes out of overnight purses and not stakes purses.

On the heels of a June 7 card that offers 10 stakes worth $7.7 million – topped by the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes – will be a July 5 program that will offer five stakes worth $3.25 million. That card will include the inaugural runnings of the Belmont Derby Invitational, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds with a purse of $1.25 million, and the Belmont Oaks Invitational, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies that will be worth $1 million.


In order to be offered as Grade 1 races, the Belmont Derby will replace the Jamaica on the schedule while the Belmont Oaks will replace the Garden City. The Jamaica and Garden City have typically been run at the Belmont fall meet. The Grade 3 Hill Prince and the Grade 2 Sands Point will be moved from the spring to the fall for those divisions and both be worth $500,000.

Also being offered on the July 5 program – which will be promoted as Stars and Stripes Day – is the Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban, which will return to 1 1/4 miles for the first time since 2009; the Grade 3, $200,000 Dwyer for 3-year-olds, and the Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship at seven furlongs. That race was formerly known as the James Marvin, a race that had been offered on opening day at Saratoga and gained traction as a prep for the Grade 1 Forego.

The creation of the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks is the brainchild of Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. During his stint as director of racing at Hollywood Park, Panza created the American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.

“That purse was $700,000 and initially it was getting 14-horse fields,” Panza said. “In New York, it will draw some horses from Europe, we’ll work on drawing horses from Japan. It’s a process. It’s the first year, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work right away, but it will work.”

Panza said that part of his decision to schedule those two turf races on July 5 was because “those are two categories that don’t really affect on a large scale Saratoga.”

With races like the Metropolitan Handicap, Phipps, Acorn and Jaipur being moved to Belmont Stakes Day, the Memorial Day card will now offer the Grade 3, $300,000 Poker at a mile on turf, the $200,000 Pennine Ridge, essentially a 1 1/8-mile prep for the Belmont Derby, and the Jersey Girl, a sprint stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

In an attempt to beef up the 2-year-old program, Panza is reviving the Astoria and Tremont Stakes, for juvenile fillies and juvenile males, run June 14 and 15, respectively. Those races haven’t been run since 2008.

Greg More than 1 year ago
Bring it on too bad to hear about Met Mile change that sucks.
Greg More than 1 year ago
Where o where is Ramon Dominguez where o where is he . Please please come back . I cant stand playing Irad ortiz !!,
Thomas Rex More than 1 year ago
For all of you clamoring about the Met Mile moving from Memorial Day...give it a rest. In 2014, who heads to BEL on Memorial Day just to see the Met Mile? 1% of the total attendance? NYRA has been stuck in the 1970s for four decades and Panza is shaking the tree. BEL was built to emulate European tracks and he is trying to create world class turf racing. BTW... last year on Memorial Day at BEL... track fast/turf firm. In addition to the Met Mile were two other Grade 1s and a Grade 2. Attendance: 11,664
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of these moves seem good with the exception of , and as a few have posted , the re-placement of one of the best races of any year ; the Met Mile . I guess we will never witness - not that any to my recollection have tried - one of the most remarkable racing feats of all time ; Conquistador Cielo winning the Met Mile on monday and then taking the Belmont 5 days later peter k
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
Now a horse has a chance to win both races on the same day.
peter k More than 1 year ago
Love it , very funny gotta have a sense of humor to appreciate this sport peter k
Frank Dambrosio More than 1 year ago
The logic is beyond me My take is the Belmont Stakes undercard with the Met Mile will not add much to the attendance but the Memorial day card without the Met Mile will decrease the crowd WHY?
Walter More than 1 year ago
Panza, making it happen at NYRA.
Kenny More than 1 year ago
Think back to your biggest days and scores, when do they happen? On days with huge, evenly matched fields......like some things....others I hate....moving Met Mile makes zero sense....those 3yo turf races will get 12-14 horses....at least Panza is shaking things up, lets see how they handle NYBreds which in my opinion there are to many at NYRA tracks running for outsized purses
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
As long as they are renaming so many stakes races at Belmont, why don't they finally name one for Seattle Slew?
Walter More than 1 year ago
Belmont Derby just doesn't sound right. Maybe that race could be called the Seattle Slew? Although Slew didn't run on turf. But the Secretariat is run on turf and he did his damage on the dirt.
Matt D. More than 1 year ago
1973 Eclipse for 3 & up, Turf - Secretariat !
Mickey More than 1 year ago
Well lets see how much this will hit the "FAN" in the pocket....from parking to a bottle of water.....Still think moving the Met Mile off of its traditional day is a terrible move...and look what it was replaced with?...the Poker....yup nothing like tradition.
Jon Shonk More than 1 year ago
The "big day" mentality with multiple Stakes on a card has been the current trend and they do seem to attract bigger crowds. While this may not benefit the everyday racing, lowering the outrageous takeout of 24% on Trifecta's, Pick 3's and Pick 4's would help the everyday player. Let's hope they don't overlook the one's that keep their business afloat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fat Chance Hot 'N' Nasty