09/06/2001 11:00PM

Statebred showcase Festival expands to two days


New York-breds will have ample opportunities to shine during Belmont Park's Fall Championship meet, which opened Friday with the $75,000-added Gen. Douglas MacArthur Handicap for statebreds.

During the course of Belmont's 37-day meet, which runs through Oct. 28, a total of 12 stakes, worth more than $1.375 million, are earmarked for New York-breds,

The highlight of the statebred program is the New York Showcase Fall Festival during the weekend of Oct. 20 and 21. The festival, being run for the eighth time, features seven stakes. On Saturday, the first day of the festival, 2-year-old colts and geldings meet in the $100,000 Sleepy Hollow, a mile dirt race. Also on the card is the $125,000 Iroquois Handicap, a seven-furlong dirt race for fillies and mares, and the $150,000 Mohawk Handicap for 3-year-olds and older horses on the grass at 1 1/8 miles.

The festival concludes on Sunday with the $250,000 Empire Classic Handicap for 3-year-olds and older horses at 1 1/8 miles; the $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile grass race for fillies and mares; the $125,000 Hudson, a six-furlong handicap for 3-year-olds and older horses on the main track; and the $100,000 Maid of the Mist, a mile dirt race for 2-year-old fillies.

In the past, the New York Showcase Fall Festival, which usually draws large fields and generates strong handle, was conducted during a single card, but the New York Racing Association decided to extend it by one day this year in hopes of turning the festival into a must-attend event on New York's fall calendar.

NYRA will have at least 50 New York-based vendors in Belmont Park's backyard area, offering local and statewide products from agricultural markets and wineries. Kids will be entertained with hay and pony rides, pumpkin decorating, and face-painting.

"We thought we would take it one step further," said Terry Meyocks, NYRA's president and COO. "Six months ago, we had twice as many vendors signed up as we did last year. We've had a lot of support from the Department of Agriculture. Just like we do with the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders' Cup, we try to get local communities involved."

Not unlike the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, which often decides divisional titles, the Fall Festival has had an impact upon the voting for New York-bred divisional champions. Seven New York-bred champions from 2000 were among the runners in last year's Fall Festival, and five of those champions - Le Grande Danseur, Astrapi, Turnofthecentury, Adcat, and Shopping for Love - won their respective races.

The other statebred races to be run during Belmont Park's fall meet are the $75,000-added Ashley T. Cole Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile grass race for 3-year-olds and up, on Sept. 22; the $75,000-added Schnectady Handicap for filly and mare sprinters on Sept. 23; and a pair of 2-year-old races on Sept. 30, the $75,000-added Bertram F. Bongard for colts and geldings and the $75,000 Joseph A. Gimma for fillies.

Variety of sires at Keeneland sale

Seventy-nine horses foaled in New York are among the 4,483 yearlings catalogued to Keeneland's 13-day sale, beginning Monday.

A diverse group of sires represent these yearlings who were foaled in New York, including A. P Jet, Carson City, Deputy Minister, Hansel, Indian Charlie, Langfuhr, Ormsby, Peaks and Valleys, Rodeo, Signal Tap, Skip Away, Spinning World, and Southern Halo.

Regal Classic has another winner

New York stallion Regal Classic was represented by his 34th stakes winner last weekend at Arlington Park when Vicki Vallencourt won the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes.

Regal Classic's other 2001 stakes winners are Thistyranthasclass and Bristol Pistol.

Regal Classic, a Canadian champion and earner of $1,456,584, is among four stallions currently in New York for the 2002 breeding season with 2001 progeny earnings exceeding $2.1 million. The others are Dixie Brass, Personal Flag, and Phone Trick, who recently was moved to New York from Kentucky.

Regal Classic, owned by a syndicate, stands at Joe and Anne McMahon's McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, near Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where his 2001 fee was $10,000, live foal.