The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has released the stakes schedules for the 2012 Belmont Park and Aqueduct fall meets.
The marquee race day of the 2012 Belmont fall meet is September 29, with a card featuring five Grade 1 invitational races, highlighted by the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup for older males at 1 1/4 miles on the main track. Additional Grade 1 affairs supporting the meet's most prestigious race are the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic for turf routers, the $600,000 Flower Bowl for filly and mare turf routers, the $400,000 Beldame for filly and mare dirt routers, and the $400,000 Vosburgh for dirt sprinters. Also on September 29 is the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap for dirt milers.
The following weekend at Belmont features three more Grade 1 races with a focus on juveniles. On October 6, many of the top two-year-old colts in the country will go a mile on the dirt in the $400,000 Champagne while their female counterparts will travel the same distance in the $400,000 Frizette. Also that Saturday is the $400,000 Jamaica for three-year-old routers on the turf.
Kicking off the Grade 1 menu for the Belmont fall meet is the $300,000 Garden City for three-year-old fillies on September 15.
Notable additions to the Belmont fall meet are the Grade 2, $200,000 Futurity for two-year-olds going six furlongs on the dirt and the Grade 2, $200,000 Matron for two-year-old fillies. Both races, which were run during the Belmont spring meet in 2011, will be contested on September 30.
The best New York-breds will take center stage on October 20 for New York Showcase Day, always one of the most popular days of the Belmont fall meet. Headlined by the $250,000 Empire Classic for dirt routers, the day features seven stakes races for New York breds with purses totaling $1.15 million.
Eleven graded races during the Belmont fall meet are Breeders' Cup Challenge events, with the winners receiving an automatic starting position in the corresponding Breeders' Cup Championship race, pre-entry and entry fees paid, and a travel allowance of $10,000 for North American runners and $20,000 for international runners when they start in the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The eligible races during the Belmont fall meet are the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap, Beldame, Flower Bowl, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Kelso, Vosburgh, Champagne, Frizette, Grade 3 Miss Grillo, and the Grade 3 Pilgrim.
The Aqueduct fall meet features 11 graded stakes races, highlighted by the prestigious Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile on November 24. The supporting card for the Cigar Mile includes the Grade 1, $350,000 Gazelle for three-year-old filly dirt routers, the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen for two-year-old dirt routers, and the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle for two-year-old filly dirt routers.
Notable additions to the Aqueduct fall stakes schedule are the Grade 2, $200,000 Nashua for juveniles going a mile on the dirt and the Grade 3, $150,000 Tempted for juvenile fillies. Both races, which were run during the Belmont fall meet in 2011, are scheduled for November 4.