07/27/2010 12:46PM

NYRA fall stakes schedule takes serious cut


S ARATOGA, SPRINGS N.Y. – The New York Racing Association has eliminated several traditional stakes and reduced the purses of many others at its fall Belmont and Aqueduct meets, including such prestigious events as the Flower Bowl, Beldame, Vosburgh, Champagne, Frizette, and Cigar Mile.

Among the stakes not appearing on this fall’s schedule are the Matron, Futurity, Jerome, Lonesome Glory, Joseph Gimma, and Bertram Bongard.

The Grade 2 Kelso on Oct. 3 will also feature a surface change, going from turf to dirt.

The marquee day on the 2010 Belmont fall meet, which begins on Sept. 11 and runs through Oct. 31, will be Oct. 2 with five Grade 1 races on the card: the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Flower Bowl, Beldame, and Vosburgh. Of those races, only the JC Gold Cup will maintain its previous value at $750,000. The Joe Hirsch, Flower Bowl, and Beldame have been cut from $600,000 to $500,000 and the Vosburgh from $400,000 to $350,000.

The premier day of racing during the 36-day Aqueduct fall meet will be Nov. 27, which features the Grade 1 Cigar Mile and Grade 1 Gazelle and Grade 2 Demoiselle. The Cigar Mile and Gazelle will both be valued at $250,000, down from $300,000 in 2009.

The Stuyvesant is among the three races put on hiatus this season at Aqueduct, along with the New York Stallion Series Cormorant and Perfect Arc divisions. The Aqueduct fall session begins Nov. 5 and continues through Dec. 31.

“Our fall stakes programs rank among the tops in the industry, and we are looking forward to great racing at Belmont and Aqueduct,” said NYRA’s president and CEO, Charles Hayward. “The changes that we made to the meets are a reflection of the current economic climate and the nationwide reductions in the horse population.”