A $250,000 bonus will be awarded to the connections of a horse that sweeps this year's "Big Apple Triple," a series of races for New York-bred 3-year-olds at Belmont Park, Finger Lakes, and Saratoga Race Course.
The Big Apple Triple is comprised of Belmont's $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes at seven furlongs June 1, Finger Lakes' $150,000 New York Derby at 1 1/16 miles July 20, and Saratoga's $150,000 Albany Stakes at 1 1/8 miles Aug. 21.
The bonus has returned after a one-year hiatus. In 2008, Tin Cup Chalice became the first, and so far only, horse to sweep the series.
"The $250,000 Big Apple Triple owners bonus is up for grabs again in New York," said Jeffrey Cannizzo, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders. "This lucrative incentive is yet another perk for owning a New York-bred. Monetary incentives like this add value for any owner in racing and that's what makes New York-bred ownership even more appealing. The Triple races are worth $425,000 in purses this year for state-breds."
"The Big Apple Triple is an elusive prize but well worth reaching for," added Tracy Egan, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund. "Our breeders are striving to breed quality horses that can demonstrate the kind of versatility and talent demanded by this series."
"The reinstatement of the owners bonus should give horsemen even greater incentive to run their top New York-breds in those races," said NYRA director of racing P. J. Campo.
"We look forward to welcoming the Mike Lee winner and all challengers to Finger Lakes for the New York Derby," said Finger Lakes general manager Chris Riegle. "The New York-bred program is in many ways the backbone of our racing program and we take great pride in hosting the second leg of this exciting series."