12/28/2013 12:31PM

Belmont Stakes purse raised to $1.5 million

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The purse for the Belmont Stakes has been raised by 50 percent to $1.5 million, according to a press release issued by the New York Racing Association on Saturday.

The Belmont, the third and longest jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, had been worth $1 million since 1998. It will be run for the 146th time on June 7, 2014. The increase puts the “Test of the Champion” more in line with the Kentucky Derby, which is worth $2 million, and the Preakness, which earlier this month also received a $500,000 boost after being run for $1 million since 1998.

“The Belmont Stakes is the main attraction of the biggest day of the year at Belmont Park, and we felt this increase suitably reflects the race’s status as one of the sport’s prestigious Triple Crown events,” said Martin Panza, who last month was appointed Senior Vice President of Racing Operations for the NYRA. “I am grateful to Steve Duncker, Bobby Flay, Barry Ostrager, Leonard Riggio and Rick Violette of the NYRA Racing Committee for their help and cooperation in making this increase possible.”

The first four finishers in the Belmont will earn six-figure paydays, with $800,000 earmarked for the winner, $280,000 for the runner-up, $150,000 for the show horse, and $100,000 to the fourth-place finisher. Fifth money is $60,000, followed by shares of $45,000 for sixth, $35,000 for seventh, and $30,000 for eighth. This represents a slight change from previous years, when the percentage splits were 60-20-11-6-3.

“Belmont Stakes runners represent the very best of their respective foal crops,” said NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes. “This purse increase helps ensure the fullest, most competitive field possible, and even an owner whose horse finishes eighth can earn good purse money for his or her commitment.”