Lucrative Belmont Fall Meet Begins Sept. 7

Stakes schedule worth $9.5 million includes 21 graded events; Super Saturday Sept.28.

A stakes schedule worth $9.5 million awaits horsemen at Belmont Park, which begins its 37-day fall meet Sept. 7 with a new Pick 5 wager featuring a low takeout, and a bevy of promotions.

The meet, which runs through Oct. 27, has 31 stakes, including 21 graded events.

On Sept. 28, Belmont will host six stakes worth $3.4 million: the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, $400,000 Vosburgh Invitational, the $400,000 Beldame Invitational--all grade I races--and the $400,000 Kelso Handicap (gr. II).

All six "Super Saturday" races are Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" events. Last year, four horses who competed on "Super Saturday" went on to win Breeders' Cup races (Fort Larned , Classic; Little Mike, Turf; Royal Delta, Ladies' Classic; and Zagora, Filly & Mare Turf).

With the start of the Belmont fall meet, The New York Racing Association will offer a Pick 5 wager every race day. The 50-cent minimum bet, with a 15% takeout rate, will span races 1-5.

Saturday's opening day will include the $250,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT). On Sunday, fans will receive free grandstand admission into Belmont Park.

On Oct. 5, Belmont will host the $500,000 Foxwoods Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds and the $500,000 Frizette (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies, both Breeders' Cup Challenge races. In addition, Oct. 5 has been designated "Fabulous Fillies Day" and will feature an umbrella giveaway, highlight breast cancer research and awareness organizations, showcase local art and fashion, and include a survivors' walk.

The best New York-breds will converge Oct. 19 at Belmont for Empire New York Showcase Day presented by The New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund. Belmont will present seven stakes, topped by the $250,000 Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and up.

On Saturdays, Belmont will offer a $300,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4. By guaranteeing the pool, NYRA will supplement the difference if the total wagering pool for the Saturday Late Pick 4 is less than $300,000.

Sundays are "Discover Belmont Days." Admission is free on Sundays with special $5 value packages that include a hot dog, chips, and a soda.

On weekends during September, fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Thoroughbred racing with the popular "Breakfast at Belmont Park" program from 7 to 9:30 a.m. Admission and activities, including guided tram tours of Belmont's remarkable stable area, trackside commentary of live morning workouts, starting gate demonstrations and paddock show, are free, and breakfast is available for purchase.

With live racing regularly conducted Wednesdays through Sundays, first post is at 1:05 p.m. EDT in September and 12:50 p.m. in October.