With Funny Cide's run for the Triple Crown in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the following numbers come into play:
Funny Cide, who will attempt to become Thoroughbred racing's 12th winner of the Triple Crown Saturday in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), will do so from post 4. The Sackatoga Stable star will face five challengers in the 1 ½-mile "Test of a Champion" and was installed the even-money favorite for the race.
Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Flash Stakes in 1999 with More Than Ready. He appears to hold a strong hand in this year's running with a two-horse entry of Chapel Royal and Korsakoff in Friday's running of the five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds.
Storm Flag Flying, seeking to get back to her championship form from a year ago, will break from post 1 for Friday's Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The Ogden Mills Phipps' homebred daughter of Storm Cat out of My Flag will face six 3-year-old fillies in the one-turn mile contest.
The New York area is under a flood watch from the National Weather Service as heavy rains have soaked the area since Tuesday night. Local forecasters have used words like "ugly" and "miserable" to describe Wednesday's forecast.
Funny Cide, the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner who is seeking to become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, impressed in his final workout when he made a surprise appearance on the Belmont Park track at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Funny Cide's bid to win the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on Saturday is turning New York into a "one-horse town." Sackatoga Stable's hero will not only bring out the equine stars to challenge him and run on the undercard, but will bring out a gaggle of luminaries from Hollywood and New York as well as heavyweights from the political arena.
Funny Cide is likely to face six challengers when he tries to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday and become the 12th Triple Crown champion.
Jockey Jose Santos, who will ride Funny Cide in his bid for the Triple Crown Saturday afternoon in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), has a lot of people in his corner. Count among them Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson, who compared him to the legendary Braulio Baeza.
While track officials are hoping for a record crowd for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) to watch Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide bid for the Triple Crown, they have already set a record...for press credentials.
Storm Flag Flying, last year's Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly, worked three-eighths of a mile in :36 4/5 Tuesday at Belmont Park in preparation for Friday's Acorn Stakes (gr. I).
The American Graded Stakes Committee has reviewed the status of two grade III stakes that were forced off the turf May 26, reinstating one and not the other.
Storm Flag Flying, last year's Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly, will likely face six challengers next Friday in the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, according to New York Racing Association racing secretary Mike Lakow.
Lilac Queen, unbeaten in three starts since joining trainer Bobby Frankel, should be the solid favorite Saturday at Belmont in the grade II Sheepshead Bay. The turf stakes is over 1 3/8 miles.
It has been 25 years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978 and 30 years since Secretariat broke a 25-year Triple Crown drought in 1973. The connections of Secretariat, Affirmed, and Seattle Slew speak out.
Empire Maker breezed six furlongs on Belmont Park's fast main track after the mid-morning break Tuesday in a bullet 1:12 under jockey Aaron Gryder.
There is usually little surprise when trainer Scott Lake moves a horse up off a claim. However, the improvement in Shake You Down since he was claimed by Lake for himself on March 12 is astounding.
Trainers constantly monitor the weather to see if track conditions will suit their runners. That is especially true for Saturday at Belmont as some are wishing for rain while others hope the sun will shine.
Eleven New York-bred stakes races at Belmont and Saratoga have had their purses raised to $100,000 -added.
The New York Racing association has raised Belmont's clubhouse admission from $4 to $5 for next year and will sell seats for the Belmont Stakes only in a package which includes tickets for the prior day's racing as well.
It's not quite the $5 million VISA Triple Crown, but in 2003, 3-year-old fillies will have a series of their own that offers a $2 million bonus.
On Sunday, John Salzman, trainer of Xtra Heat, will be represented in Grade 3, $100,000-added Cowdin, this time by a colt named Run Production.
When studying the past performances for Saturday's grade III, $150,000 Lawrence Realization for 3-year-olds at 1 1/2 miles on the turf, handicappers will have a difficult task trying to separate Chiselling, Finality, and Irish Colonial, the top three finishers from the Lexington over the summer.
The New York Racing Association board approved a 2003 calendar that adds a week to the Belmont fall meeting. The schedule must be approved by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
How the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) shakes out will largely be determined this week when the country's top fillies and mares enter their final preps for the Oct. 26 championships.
Reduced takeout has been credited with attracting more than $200 million in commingled handle to the New York Racing Association's three racetracks so far this year.
Banks Hill, the winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), will prep for this year's running in Saturday's $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont.
The biggest question surrounding the weekend's races is the weather. Rain was falling Thursday when entries were taken for Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont, and more rain is forecast for Friday.
Amherst Stable's Volponi will get plenty of support in the grade II, $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup at nine furlongs on the turf Saturday.
You heads a field of just five in Saturday's Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), her first attempt against older fillies and mares. Jerry Bailey has the mount.
There was money showing on the board, Richard Englander liked his breeding, and trainer Michael Pino liked his physical appearance. For $50,000, they decided to take a chance on Boston Common.
Well Fancied sprang a 7-1 upset in the $75,000 General Douglas MacArthur Handicap on opening day of the Belmont fall meeting Friday, beating a field that included the state's all-time leading money earner, 4-5 favorite Say Florida Sandy.
Lido Palace heads a field of only six when he tries to repeat in the grade I Woodward Stakes at Belmont on Saturday. The card also features to other grade I races, the Man o' War and Gazelle.
Take Charge Lady drilled a half-mile in :47 4/5 on Saratoga's main track Friday morning. The grade I winner is being aimed for the Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Excitement surrounding a fourth attempt at the Triple Crown title in six years, reduced takeout, and good weather are credited with helping Belmont Park establish across-the-board increases in attendance and handle.
Eltawaasul and Whitmore's Conn, who finished one-two in a Belmont allowance race on June 21, battle each other again Saturday in the $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT).
- By Steve Haskin
Saturday at Belmont stacks up well with two grade I races in New York.
English-bred Janet, a two-time grade I turf winner last year, faces seven rivals under top weight of 119 pounds in the $250,000 guaranteed New York Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/4 miles over Belmont Park's inner turf course.
With Take Charge Lady and Bella Bellucci both on the sidelines, a field of just five 3-year-old fillies will run Saturday at Belmont in the grade I Mother Goose Stakes.
Breaking a decades-old policy, the New York Racing Association has changed the purse levels for state-bred and open company maiden and allowance races.
Saturday, two months to the day that the great sportsman Ogden Phipps passed away at the age of 93, the feature race at Belmont will be run in his honor.
The Belmont Ball, hosted by the New York Racing Association on June 6 at Belmont Park, raised more than $150,000 for the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
"What a day. What a life." As the sun set on the Belmont backstretch following one of the most energy-charged afternoons of racing in New York history, trainer Kenny McPeek finally was able to express his feelings in simple words.
New York Racing Association officials expected Belmont Stakes Day to be big, but what they got by the end of the day blew everyone away.
The Belmont Stakes Day undercard and preceding days' stakes were characterized by dominating victories and strong-willed performances.
Pat Day broke sharply on Gygistar, but was content to let others take the lead. He then came off the rail and went around the leaders to easily win the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup (gr. II) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Babae, in her second start of the year, sat second behind early leader Penny Marie, then took the lead and held off a late challenge to win the Just a Game Breeders' Cup (gr. III) Saturday at Belmont.
Though Prince Ahmed Salman's War Emblem is going for the Triple Crown at Belmont Park on Saturday, the Saudi owner is not in attendance. A spokesman for the prince's Thoroughbred Corp. confirmed Saturday afternoon that Salman was in Saudi Arabia and not in New York.
The complexion of the True North Handicap (gr. II) changed at the start, when Summer Note, who was unbeaten in four starts and had always showed speed, hopped at the start. Yonaguska and Explicit then were the two left on the lead, and Explicit proved best in the six-furlong race.
John Velazquez, who was involved in a spill on Friday, was involved in another on Saturday at Belmont Park. Velazquez took off his first three mounts Saturday, then in his first mount back, fell aboard Imadeed as the horses hit the three-sixteenths pole in the Belmont Stakes Day fourth race, the WNBC.
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