Five runners will take the post in Saturday's $500,000 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park. The field might seem small, but the qualifications the five runners bring into the 1 1/8 mile event have championship status written all over them.
Total handle for Belmont Park's 55-day meet increased 4.8%, but on-track numbers continued to be weak. Average daily on-track handle was flat at $1,929,951, while average daily attendance fell 5.9% to 8,025.
After 4-5 favorite Starrer unseated jockey Chris McCarron just after the start, 11-1 Tweedside went on to win Saturday's $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), giving sire Thunder Gulch a sweep of Belmont Park's 1 1/2-mile main track stakes races for 3-year-olds. McCarron was uninjured in the mishap.
Sharp Performance, rising to the stakes ranks after winning an allowance and maiden race in consecutive starts, scored a one-length victory Sunday in the $150,000 Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park.
Jockey Mike Luzzi broke his left ankle when thrown by his mount in the gate before the third race at Belmont Park Sunday.
England's Legend, fully recovered from a splint problem, beat Gaviola by 1 1/2 lengths Saturday in the $250,000 New York Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.
As the holiday weekend closes, Godolphin's E Dubai proves he's the one to carry its hopes in the fall.
Godolphin's E Dubai avenged his second-place finish to Hero's Tribute in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) with an impressive 5 3/4-length victory in Sunday's $150,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. The winning time marks the fastest running of the Dwyer since the race was switched to its present distance in 1994.
After trailing the field through the opening half-mile, Centennial Farms' King Cugat rallied while five wide on the second turn to win the $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) by a half-length Saturday at Belmont Park. The winning time marks the second-fastest running of the Bowling Green behind only With Approval's course record time of 2:10 1/5 in 1990.
Tracy Farmer's Albert the Great won the $500,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) in wire-to-wire style on Sunday at Belmont Park, defeating Lido Palace by 2 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile race.
Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Fleet Renee, who subsequently disappointed as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), made amends for her Oaks performance with a 5 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.
S.J. Bee Stable's Buster's Daydream reprised his success in the Flash Stakes (gr. III) with a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $106,300 Tremont Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park.
Include and Albert the Great got well acquainted in the May 12 Pimlico Special (gr. I), when Include held on to a neck victory. They renew their rivalry Sunday at Belmont Park in the $500,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) at 10 furlongs.
Critical Eye gets the added distance she prefers and wins the Hempstead Handicap
Critical Eye swept to the lead in the final strides to win Saturday's $250,000 Hempstead Handicap (gr. I) by a neck over Jostle at Belmont Park. The win marks the second career grade I victory for the New York-bred daughter of Dynaformer.
A battle for speed supremacy doesn't materialize as Dat You Miz Blue pulls away in the Vagrancy Handicap.
Tweedside drew away to a six-length win in the $107,800 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park Sunday as favored Platinum Tiara finished third.
Dat You Miz Blue dueled outside of Dream Supreme through the early going and then drew away to a 6 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $106,800 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park.
Proud Man earned his fourth grade III stakes win of the year Saturday, inching to the lead late in the stretch to win the $114,600 Hill Prince Stakes by a neck at Belmont Park.
The final television ratings for the Belmont Stakes rose 61 percent to a 4.5 and 13 percent market share. The combined ratings for the Triple Crown rose 49 percent to a 6.1 rating and a 17 percent market share.
Permitting herself a respite from the heavy air of anticipation on Belmont Stakes eve, Donna Ward flashed a broad smile as she skipped gracefully across the winner's circle and onto the main track at Belmont Park.
While NBC's Belmont Stakes telecast showed improvement over its Preakness effort, there seems to be a basic flaw in the 90-minute format of these classic productions -- the race comes too late in the show, leaving little time for replays, interviews, and analysis.
Record handle figures and higher television ratings were Belmont Park's rewards the day of its premier event. These were payoffs of clear skies, increased national and local publicity, and a showdown between Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos and Preakness (gr. I) winner Point Given.
Surely, no disappointment is greater than losing the Triple Crown by a narrow margin in the Belmont. But ranking a very close second is a first-round loss in the Kentucky Derby. If there is one Triple Crown race to win, many trainers agreed the Derby is the one.
It was a day of princes, presidents, and Pegasus. With Belmont Park rocking from the surge of electricity generated by the presence of former President Bill Clinton and his wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Point Given finally sprouted the wings his owner, Prince Ahmed Salman, trainer Bob Baffert, and jockey Gary Stevens had envisioned all along.
Under highweight of 122 pounds, Tracy Farmer's Albert the Great broke well and continued on to win Sunday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) by 3 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park.
The successful team of trainer Elliott Walden and rider Pat Day teamed up with the 6-year-old mare License Fee to capture the $175,000 Grade III Just A Game Breeders' Cup Handicap over a mile on the Belmont Park turf. License Fee was sent off as the slight 2-1 favorite in the field of 12. Owned by WinStar Farm, License Fee won for the 16th time in 42 lifetime starts. She has earned nearly $1.2 million in her career.
Eugene and Laura Melnyk announced that they have committed $1 million toward the construction of a child care center at Belmont Park to care primarily for the children of backstretch employees. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this November, with the facility to be completed in six-to-nine months.
Continuing a week-long trend of perfect weather, Belmont Day dawned sunny with a pleasing, refreshing breeze. Forecasts call for the afternoon to remain sunny with a high of 82. The main track will be fast. New York Racing Association officials, citing a stronger Belmont Stakes field and nicer weather, were anticipating an attendance figure that improves on last year's on-site gathering of 67,000.
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will attend Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The senator will present the trophy to the winning connections of the third leg of the Triple Crown.
- By Steve Haskin
We're going to venture out on that precarious and proverbial limb, even at the risk of leaving certain trainers dumfounded over our out-of-the-norm audacity. We're not going to be brazen enough to state emphatically that Point Given is the biggest lock in the Belmont Stakes since Secretariat. But...
The 3-year-olds inclined to try a shorter distance in New York on Belmont Stakes Day should make for a good prelude to those willing to try a mile and a half.
The big race this weekend in New York is the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), but those who attend the races at Belmont on Friday will get to witness a pretty fair race in its own right -- the $200,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I).
Some of the most stirring near-misses in Triple Crown history will be chronicled on ESPN Classic this week on "Thoroughbred Classics Presented by the NTRA."
Belmont Stakes hopeful Dollar Bill worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Sunday in company with stablemate Kazoo. Over the fast surface, the trouble-prone son of Peaks and Valleys covered the distance in :59 3/5 under exercise rider Joanne McNamara.
The Sheepshead Bay Handicap, switched from turf to a muddy main track, was won by Critical Eye, who romped by 7 1/2 lengths.
Edgar Prado has the mount on British import Dr Greenfield for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) as Jerry Bailey will ride Stronach Stable's Thunder Blitz in the 1 1/2-mile classic, according to a Sporting Life report.
Weather wreaked havoc on the lone graded turf sprint on the New York racing calendar, as the $100,900 Jaipur Handicap was forced off the turf and run on the muddy main track on Sunday at Belmont Park. Under Jerry Bailey, Affirmed Success completed the seven furlongs in 1:21.69 to earn the hard-fought victory in the scratch-plagued race.
Jockey Pat Day earned three victories at Churchill Downs on Sunday to move to within one win of the 8,000 mark.
Michael Tabor's Buckle Down Ben, prepping for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), earned a neck-length victory over X Country in a one-mile allowance race Sunday at Churchill Downs. Under jockey Pat Day, the 3-year-old son of Devil His Due completed the distance in 1:34.84 on a fast track. The win marked Day's 7,999th career victory.
Hero's Tribute outlasted E Dubai through a protracted speed duel to earn his first career stakes win in Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park. The 3-year-old son of Sea Hero completed the one-turn, 1 1/8-mile race in 1:47.47 on a sloppy track in earning his first win in a race longer than seven furlongs.
Michael Tabor's Buckle Down Ben, a possible entrant for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), has been entered to run in a one-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs on Sunday. Earlier this week, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the son of Devil His Due would be trained up to the 1 1/2-mile third leg of the Triple Crown.
Six 3-year-olds will line up to test impressive allowance winner E Dubai in Saturday's grade II Peter Pan at nine furlongs at Belmont Park.
Pebo's Guy, an 11-1 shot, won the $86,625 Kingston Handicap at Belmont for the second time in three years Sunday, scoring by 1 1/2 lengths over John Paul Too. The Kingston was the third leg of a Pick Four wager which returned $253,234.
D. Wayne Lukas-trained Buckle Down Ben, considered a possible entrant for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I), breezed four furlongs on Sunday morning at Churchill Downs. A Lukas-trained horse has won the Belmont on five occasions, most recently with Commendable in last year's renewal.
In the classic film Roman Holiday, Audrey Hepburn portrays a modern day princess who both resists her stringent obligations and yearns for the pedestrian pleasures of everyday life. In an effort to personify the players atop New York's current group of stakes fillies and mares, and Apple of Kent who is poised to join them, you wouldn't be taking great liberty by invoking the image of Hepburn's demure but spirited character into their respective profiles.
Jockey Joe Bravo earned his fourth win on Saturday's Belmont Park card by guiding Overbrook Farm's homebred Katz Me If You Can to a 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap (gr. II). The D. Wayne Lukas-trained 4-year-old filly carried lightweight of 113 pounds and stopped the timer in 1:09.55 for the six furlongs on a fast track.
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