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Sep 09, 2011

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD- FALL MEETING-BELMONT

By: JOE GIRARDI


               The Fall Championship meeting at Belmont Park opens on Saturday September 10th, 2011 and runs through Sunday October 30th. During this 37 day meeting there will nine Grade I races as well as the New York showcase day which comes on Saturday October 22nd with seven stakes races featuring the best New York breds.

               General admission is only $3.00 and clubhouse admission remains at $5.00. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. The parking gates open at 11:15 a.m. and admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. General parking is always free with preferred parking only $2.00, and valet parking is $5.00. First post time is 1:00 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. For more information you can call (516) 488-6000 or visit www.nyra.com.

               Opening weekend Belmont is offering free general admission and on Sunday September 11, the pick the pros and ponies contest gets underway. You can play the free weekly contest but selecting four designated football games and the winners of two races and you could win up to $1,000. You have to be at the track to sign-up, if you want more information call (516) 488-6000 or visit the website at www.nyra.com.

               Breakfast at Belmont is back for the month of September. You can come out and watch the thoroughbreds go through their workouts in the morning. You can take a tram tour of the stable area, get a starting gate demonstration and paddock show. Breakfast at Belmont is open to the public on weekends in September, during the fall meeting, starting with Saturday September 10th and running through Sunday September 25th. Admission and activities for Breakfast at Belmont are free and optional breakfast may be purchased at the Belmont Café. The hours are 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

               On the racing side of things, top racing action gets underway on opening day with the Grade II Bowling Green Handicap a turf race run over 1 and 3/8ths miles for three year olds and upward and carries a purse of $150,000. On the first Sunday of the meeting the Ashley T. Cole stakes for New York bred fillies and mares run over 1 and 1/8th miles on the turf and carries a purse of $100,000.

               On 9/17 the first Grade I of meeting will be run in the Garden City Breeders’ Cup for three year old fillies over 1 and 1/8th miles distance on the turf with a purse of $100,000.

               Two weeks later on October 1ST, the biggest day of the meeting with five grade I races and a Grade II. This day will have a huge impact on the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs a month later. The Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, for three year olds and upward run over 1 and ½ miles on the turf and carries a purse of $500,000. Some of the top turf horses have won this race and moved on to the Breeders’ Cup to make an impact most recently in 2007 when ENGLISH CHANNEL took this race and then the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

               The Flower Bowl Invitational for fillies and mares three years old and upward run over 1 and ¼ miles on the turf and also carries a purse of $500,000. The top turf fillies will be contesting this race as they ready for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare turf.

               The Grade I Beldame for three year olds and upward fillies and mares will be run over 1 and 1/8th miles and should feature Horse of the Year candidate HAVRE DE GRACE, a winner against the males in the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga. With her presence it should be a great race.

               The Grade I Vosburgh is run over six furlongs for three years old and upward and carries a purse of $350,000. Many of those preparing for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint will be in this race. Over the years we have seen some of the top sprinters run in this race and this year’s renewal shouldn’t be any different.

               The biggest race of the day will be the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, a race for three years old and upward run over 1 and ¼ miles and carries a purse of $750,000. Last year’s race went to New York bred HAYNESFIELD who defeated the heavy favorite BLAME, who exited this race and went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in thrilling fashion over ZENYATTA giving that mare her only career defeat. This race saw the great CURLIN win back to back renewals in 2007-2008.

               The following Saturday the final three Grade I’s of the meeting will be run in the Champagne, Frizette and Jamaica Breeders’ Cup. The Champagne and Frizette will be run for two year old and two year fillies respectively and both will be run at one mile. In the Jamaica Breeders’ Cup, a race for three year olds over the turf run at 1 and 1/8th miles and will carry a purse of $250,000.

               Come out and enjoy the best racing at beautiful Belmont Park!



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