Updated on 09/15/2011 2:21PM

Full alert at Belmont: Sharpshooters, searches


ELMONT, N.Y. - Security was at a high level Saturday at Belmont Park for the Breeders' Cup. Sharp-shooters toting automatic rifles could be seen from all angles on the roof; bags were searched as people churned through the turnstiles; trucks, including horse vans, were banned on the backstretch; and commercial trucks were carefully screened on Hempstead Turnpike, the road that runs parallel to the track.

Terry Meyocks, president of the New York Racing Association, said, "We pulled no stops. We want our fans to feel safe and secure."

Meyocks estimated there were 600 security personnel on the grounds, including NYRA employees, Nassau County and New York City police, and the FBI.

Meyocks and Anthony Rocco, the deputy chief of the Nassau County police, both said there were no known threats made on the event.

On site were approximately 60 Special Operations officers from the Nassau County police department armed with automatic rifles, many of whom were positioned on the roof.

Anthony Rocco, the deputy chief for the Nassau County police, said beefed-up security was planned following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, located 23 miles west of Belmont Park.

"We had preliminary plans in place, but everything changed after Sept. 11," Rocco said. "We knew there would be people participating in the event from countries that might be sensitive. So we reassessed areas we felt were at risk and came up with a more visible plan."

None of the Middle Eastern owners with horses in the Breeders' Cup races attended on Saturday.

Crowd largest of New York's BC Days

The announced attendance of 52,987 was the 10th highest of 18 runnings of the Breeders' Cup races. Saturday's attendance was the highest of the four Breeders' Cups held in New York. The highest-ever attendance was in 1998 when Churchill Downs announced a crowd of 80,452.

A slew of longshots resulted in the $3 million Ultra Pick 6 paying $262,442 for each of the 11 winning $2 tickets. There was one winner on track. Five of six paid $1,475 for each of the 652 winning tickets. The handle was $4,811,450.

The pick 6 started in the Mile and concluded in the Classic. With the exception of Fantastic Flight, the favorite in the Turf, who paid $4.80, the other winners were double-digit winners.

The Breeders' Cup helped produced a Belmont Park record for on-track handle. The crowd of 52,987 wagered a record of $13,087,813, erasing the previous mark of $10,581,093 set earlier this year on Belmont Stakes Day. Total commingled handle for the 10-race card was $98,757,580 and total handle from all sources will be in excess of $100 million.

Stuyvesant: Graeme Hall dominates

Graeme Hall stormed through the stretch in Saturday's $107,700 Stuyvesant, the opener on the Breeders' Cup Card, to win the Grade 3 by 6 1/4 lengths over County Be Gold.

Graeme Hall, the 4-5 favorite and 119-pound highweight under John Velazquez, stalked the early leaders while sitting in third position in the six-horse field and took control of the lead at the top of the stretch.

It was Velazquez's third win in the Stuyvesant.

Graeme Hall, a 4-year-old, covered the 1 1/8-mile Stuyvesant in a quick 1:47.95 over a fast track.

Cat's at Home finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Country Be Gold. Burning Marque, Open Sesame, and Postponed completed the order of finish.

Owned by Eugene Melnyk and Laura Melnyk, Graeme Hall ($3.70) increased his earnings to $977,441.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he gave Graeme Hall a freshening after he finished eighth in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs in June. The colt returned here on Oct. 7 and was an easy winner of an allowance race.

"Looking back, his two races at Churchill were bad - the Stephen Foster and Derby. He was knocked out after the Stephen Foster. We had this race in mind when we won the allowance race."

Pletcher said Graeme Hall could run next in either the $350,000 Cigar Mile on Nov. 24 at Aqueduct or the $100,000 Queens County there on Dec. 1.

Sport Page: Yonaguska has his day

Yonaguska was on the outside looking in when entries were drawn for the Breeders' Cup Sprint but earned a small measure of consolation by rallying to a 1 1/2-length victory over Silky Sweep in the $109,400 Sport Page Handicap.

Yonaguska was unable to draw in from off the also-eligible list for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. As a result, trainer D. Wayne Lukas went to plan B. Lukas was rewarded when Yonaguska, a 3-year-old son of Cherokee Run, stalked a contested early pace, rallied four-wide to gain command into the stretch, edged clear then withstood a bid from Silky Sweep in the final furlong. The latter trailed to the stretch, swung wide and was easily second best finishing four lengths in front of Big E E.

Yonaguska, who runs for owner Michael Tabor, paid $5.10 after covering six furlongs in 1:09.50 over a fast track with Chris McCarron aboard.

"It's a little bittersweet. I wish we could have been in the big one, but we'll count our blessings and take what they give us," said Lukas. "I had him on target for the Sprint, but I underestimated the size of the field. I think the fact Hook and Ladder beat us for second in the Forest Hills might have been the difference, or we would have been in the position he was to draw into the race."

Lukas said the Cigar Mile could be next for Yonaguska.

"I think he'll stretch out, and I'll look at the Cigar Mile if Mr. Tabor will go along with it."

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch