The NTRA National Pick 4 wager, offered in conjunction with "Emirates Airline Countdown to the Breeders' Cup" series installments airing on ESPN and ESPN2 through Oct. 14, will be available Sept. 30, challenging fans to correctly select the winners of four graded stakes -- the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. I) and $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (gr. I) from Oak Tree at Santa Anita, the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) from Turfway Park, and the $250,000 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) from Belmont Park. All races will air live Sept. 30 on ESPN from 4-6 p.m. (all times Eastern).
The NTRA National Pick 4 carries a $400,000 gross pool guarantee, has a $1 minimum wager amount, and will be hubbed as a separate card event by Belmont Park with a 25% takeout. To wager, fans should ask for "National Pick 4." The first leg of the NTRA National Pick 4 will be the Kelso, which has a scheduled post time of 4:15 p.m. The Kelso will be followed in order by the Kentucky Cup Classic (4:42 p.m.), the Yellow Ribbon (5:10 p.m.), and the Clement L. Hirsch (5:40 p.m.).
"We are again pleased to link a national wager with a prominent national telecast," said Kenneth Kirchner, the NTRA's senior vice president for product development.
KELSO BREEDERS' CUP HANDICAP: Ashkal Way, who has won four of five starts in the U.S., including the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT), squares off with Meteor Storm, who has not raced since last December when he won the W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder. Other possible competitors include Art Master, Baron Von Tap, Drum Major, Free Thinking, Old Fortune, T.D. Vance, and Friendly Island. The one-mile turf contest is part of the NetJets Mile division.
KENTUCKY CUP CLASSIC: Perfect Drift, preparing for an unprecedented fifth run in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), seeks his first win of the year following a fourth-place finish in last month's Pacific Classic (gr. I). Challenging Perfect Drift will be Premium Tap, winner last time out at odds of 31-1 in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I), along with Greeley's Galaxy, It's No Joke, and either Soul Search or Alumni Hall, both of whom come from the Neil Howard barn.
YELLOW RIBBON STAKES: The Todd Pletcher-trained Wait a While heads back to Southern California where she won the American Oaks (gr. I) in July. Set to challenge Wait a While is Dancing Edie, who won the John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. I). Rounding out the field are Bond Deal, Candy Factory, Life Live, Memorette, Singalong, and Three Degrees. The contest for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up is part of the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf division.
CLEMENT L. HIRSCH TURF CHAMPIONSHIP: The Richard Mandella-trained The Tin Man, winner of last month's Arlington Million (gr. IT), heads a likely six-horse field that also includes T. H. Approval, who is coming off wins in the Del Mar and Sunset Breeders' Cup Handicap (both gr. IIT). Artiste Royal, who was second in the Del Mar Handicap, also will run as will Don Incauto, Fantastic Spain, and Quinquin the King. The 1 1/4-miles race for horses 3-year-olds and up is part of the John Deere Turf Division.
Additional NTRA National Pick 4 wagers will be offered during subsequent installments of the "Emirates Airline Countdown to the Breeders' Cup" series Oct. 7 (ESPN2, 4:30-6:30 p.m.); and Oct. 14 (ESPN, 4-6 p.m.).