Godolphin's Express Tour alternately pressed and set the early pace en route to winning Saturday's $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Under John Velazquez, Express Tour completed the one-mile race in 1:34.57 on a fast track.
Three-year-old Squirtle Squirt is on top of his game at the moment but to remain there he must hold off a talented pack of veteran sprinters in Saturday's grade I $300,000 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park. The Vosburgh is one of four stakes on Saturday's 11-race program, which also includes the grade II Jerome Handicap, the grade III Noble Damsel and the Ashley Cole.
When the call to the post is played prior to the grade II $150,000 Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park Saturday five horses with an extra week of rest will take the gate The Jerome was originally to be contest Sept. 15 but the New York Racing Association cancelled racing due to the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Centers Sept. 11. The Jerome was the only race to be rescheduled. The grade II Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap and the grade I Ruffian Handicap were suspended for the year.
In the $100,000 Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Belmont Park, Joseph Platt Jr's Babae has been in top form and will need to stay there to best a competitive field of fillies and mares going one mile on the turf.
Pentatonic and Secret Status, who had hoped to hook up in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) last Saturday, instead ran at Belmont Park today in an allowance race. The Ruffian, a prep for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) was part of a card canceled at Belmont after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11 on the World Trade Centers.
A group of Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) hopefuls slugged it out in allowance company Wednesday at Belmont and heavily favored Heavyweight Champ scored a TKO.
When the familiar sound of "Call to Post" echoes through Belmont Park Saturday, it will be music to the ears of horsemen and racing fans that are much in need of a diversion from the effects of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Tuesday morning. Racing was suspended Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday following the attack on America.
The Chilean-bred Lido Palace proves his point in winning the grade I Woodward Stakes.
Voodoo Dancer bounced back from a disappointing loss in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) by drawing off to a decisive 4 3/4-length victory in the $244,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on Sunday.
After finishing on the board in a graded stakes in each of her last three starts, Exogenous made it to the Belmont Park winner's circle Saturday after upsetting the field of 3-year-old fillies in the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) to earn her first career stakes win.
Keeneland has announced that effective with the start of its autumn meeting Oct. 5 it will be lowering the takeout on exotic wagers from 19% to 16%. Bettors with winning tickets on daily doubles, exactas, trifectas, superfectas, and Pick Threes will see a higher percentage of money returned to them.
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.
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