03/02/2017 2:26PM

German stakes winners offered berths in Belmont Park stakes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association will offer the winners of two specific races in Germany automatic invitations to races at the Belmont Park summer/spring meet, NYRA announced Thursday.

As part of a three-year deal with Hoppegarten Racecourse in Berlin, the winner of the Group 2 Diana-Trial, contested at 2,000 meters on turf at Hoppegarten on June 4, will get an invitation to the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies on July 8. NYRA will include an unspecified shipping stipend as well.

Also, the winner of the Group 2 Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen for 4-year-olds and up, contested at 3,200 meters on May 14 at Hoppegarten, will receive an invitation to the Grade 3, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational going two miles on turf at Belmont on June 9. Again, NYRA will provide an unspecified travel stipend.

“The New York Racing Association is thrilled to enter into a relationship with Hoppegarten Race Course,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. “As we look to elevate our international presence, this agreement connecting these races made a lot of sense in trying to further promote both of our racing programs. The timing is ideal, and the race conditions match. The story behind Hoppegarten Race Course is most fascinating, and we look forward to working together in our efforts to bring German-based horses to race in New York.”