Updated on 02/10/2014 12:52AM

Belmont Stakes Day card will have 10 stakes, $8 million in purses

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The nine supporting stakes on the June 7 Belmont Stakes card will include the Metropolitan Handicap, now worth $1.25 million.

Racing fans won’t have to wait until November to experience a Breeders’ Cup-type program.

The New York Racing Association announced Friday that the June 7 Belmont Stakes Day card will offer purses totaling $8 million and 10 stakes races – six Grade 1’s – including the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, which has been moved from its traditional Memorial Day spot on the calendar. Also, the purse of the Met Mile has been raised to $1.25 million from $750,000.

Other stakes that have been moved to the Belmont Stakes program are the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps, Grade 1 Acorn, Grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational, and Grade 3 Jaipur. The purses of all those races received significant increases, with the Phipps going to $1 million from $400,000, the Acorn to $750,000 from $300,000, the Brooklyn to $500,000 from $200,000, and the Jaipur going to $300,000 from $150,000. Additionally, NYRA is instituting the “Brooklyn Bonus” whereby any horse who has previously won a graded stakes at 1 3/16 miles or longer will receive a bonus of $175,000 if he wins the Brooklyn.

The 13 race-card – which will include three $100,000 allowance races – will be the second-richest card in North America behind Breeders’ Cup Saturday.

“We wanted to create a day that would grab people’s attention in classic, bigger-than-life New York-style by offering what shapes up as the finest day of racing in Belmont Stakes history,” Chris Kay, NYRA’s president and CEO, said in a conference call Friday afternoon. “We want to give people every reason to come out and be part of the excitement.”

Those races will join a card that already includes the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, which already had its purse raised to $1.5 million; the Manhattan, which had its purse double to $1 million; the Just a Game, which went from $500,000 to $750,000; the Woody Stephens, which went from $400,000 to $500,000; and the Easy Goer, which will remain at $150,000.

By raising the purse of the Phipps to $1 million, the hope is to get a showdown between Eclipse Award winner Beholder, based in Southern California, and Princess of Sylmar, last year’s top 3-year-old filly on the East Coast.

Despite the 10 stakes races, there is not one that fits reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, a prolific turf miler. Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations, said that Belmont will offer a mile turf race later in the spring/summer meet that could attract Wise Dan.

NYRA did not release the remainder of its Belmont spring/summer stakes schedule. NYRA also did not announce what the admission and ticket prices will be for the Belmont Stakes, saying that announcement would come in about a month.

NYRA is hoping the Belmont Stakes card is viewed as a Breeders’ Cup-type program in June. It is also the type of “big-day” card that Panza, who came here last November from Hollywood Park, hopes to do more of here in the future.

“Big days are what we all look forward to. They give a racetrack a big part of its identity,” Panza said. “For casual fans you hope it makes a difference; for core fans it gives them quality races that are more fun to handicap and bet on. The whole big-day concept is something I believe in and hope to do more of in the future of New York racing.”

The True North Handicap, a race typically run on Belmont Stakes Day, has been moved to the day before the Belmont, June 6, and had its purse slashed from $400,000 to $250,000. That day the $200,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, for 4-year-olds and up, will be run at two miles.

On Sunday, June 8, NYRA will present the $100,000 Intercontinental Stakes for females 4 and up, to be run at seven furlongs on the turf.