The Race Track Chaplaincy's New York division has teamed up with Darley USA, a group of local breeders and owners, and a concerned group of Saratoga residents to bring some Christmas joy to approximately 100 people connected to the backstretch community at Saratoga Race Course.
The New York Racing Association will raise the purses on 13 grade I races offered at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga in 2009. The hikes are part of the 2009 NYRA stakes schedule, which was approved by NYRA's Board of Directors at a meeting Dec. 3. It now awaits approval from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
The 37-day 2008 Belmont fall meeting, which ended on Oct. 26, produced mixed business results. All-sources handle on NYRA races was $356.3 million, compared with the 2007 figure of $346.5 million, for an increase of 2.8%. Because the 2008 meet included four more days than the 2007 meet, there was actually an 8.3% decline in the equivalent daily average all-sources handle figure.
Sunshine for Life, sent off as the longest shot in a field of seven fillies and mares, took advantage of a soft pace and uncontested lead, going gate-to-wire while pulling off a shocking upset in the $110,300 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) Oct. 11 at Belmont Park.
The nation's financial crisis has stepped up efforts to prod state government in New York to select an operator for the long-stalled video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct, and launched a renewed effort to bring VLTs to Belmont Park.
In an awesome-looking performance, Vineyard Haven won the $400,000 Champagne (gr.I) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park. The victory would likely stamp him as an early favorite for the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr.I) Oct. 25, if he was being pointed to the Oct. 25 race at Santa Anita.
Vineyard Haven, Cribnote, Munnings and Break Water Edison, the top four finishers, respectively, in the Hopeful Stakes (gr.I) last month at Saratoga, meet again in the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (gr.I) at Belmont Park Oct. 4.
Castleton Lyons' Gio Ponti, who has established himself as one of the top 3-year-old turf runners in the nation this year, looks to return to his winning ways when he takes on six sophomores in the $250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
Trainer Tom Albertrani is looking forward to taking big steps with Gemswick Park and Royal Ballade in the $400,000 Frizette Stakes (gr.I) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park. Gemswick Park, owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk, and the Darley-owned Royal Ballade, are coming off open-length maiden wins at Belmont Sept. 14. Both fillies led from gate-to-wire.
Already a graded stakes winner overseas, Godolphin Stable's Tam Lin became a grade II winner on American soil when he wore down Forefathers in upper stretch and sped away to a convincing 4 1/4-length victory Sept. 28 in the $250,000 Kelso Handicap on the Belmont turf.
John Confort and Albert Weiss' Our Golden Dream will try to follow up on her impressive debut when she takes on a full field of 12 juvenile fillies in the $150,000 Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 1 on the Belmont turf.
Jockey John Velazquez reached a major milestone at Belmont Park Sept. 28 with his 4,000th career victory when he guided Rogue Agent to a six-length victory in the muddy first race.
Curlin made racing history by winning the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr.I) at Belmont Park in New York Sept. 27. Curlin's victory, which was worth $450,000, made the colt the richest North American-based Thoroughbred of all-time and the first to vault past the $10-million mark.
Godolphin Stable's Cocoa Beach has raced in her native Chile and in the Middle East, but apparently, she has found a home in New York.
Battling saddlecloth-to-saddlecloth with Fabulous Strike through the final yards, a determined Black Seventeen, the longest shot in the field at 23-1, got a head in front at the wire to take the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) over a sloppy Belmont Park surface in New York Sept. 27.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier scored his second consecutive grade I win, coming from off the pace to post a resounding victory in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Dynaforce repelled a challenge from heavily favored Mauralakana at the top of the stretch to power away to a four-length victory in the $588,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, are donating $100,000 from "Jackson Curlin for Kids" to Anna House, the on-track daycare center for children of backstretch workers at Belmont Park.
The soft turf course at Belmont Park could give Barry Schwartz's gelding an edge in the one-mile event Sept. 28.
With Belmont Park hit with 1 1/2 inches of rain overnight and the prediction that two more inches, accompanied by high winds, are on the way, the New York Racing Association has canceled live racing for Friday, Sept. 26.
After battling dual-classic winner Big Brown down the stretch in the Sept. 13 Monmouth Stakes only to fall a neck short, Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky will try to get back to his winning ways when he takes on eight turfers in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
A star-studded cast of seven talented sprinters led by grade I winners Fabulous Strike and First Defence will do battle in the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Defending older filly and mare champion Ginger Punch will take another step toward defending her honors Sept. 27 when she takes on four rivals in the $600,000 Beldame (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
All eyes will be on reigning Horse of the Year Curlin as he takes aim at Cigar's all-time earnings record in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Curlin t-shirts will be on sale Sept. 27 at Belmont Park when the reigning Horse of the Year attempts to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup(gr. I) and become the first American horse to surpss $10 million in earnings.
Horse of the Year Curlin had a "perfect" workout Sept. 22 in his final move before attempting to become the first American racehorse to break the $10-million mark in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's plans changed for two of his graded stakes-winning sprinters, Abraaj and Lucky Island, when the former suffered a slight setback that will force him to miss the $400,000 Vosburgh (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's homebred Indian Blessing, who was scratched from the 1 1/16-mile Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) two weeks ago, returns to the racetrack as a sprinter and faces older horses for the first time. Last year's champion juvenile filly will try for her fifth graded stakes victory of the season Sept. 20 when she takes on a short but talented field in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
Good Night Shirt's journey to a second Eclipse Award resumes Sept. 21 at Belmont Park when he goes out to defend his title in the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Steeplechase (NSA-I). The son of Concern won the inaugural running of the 2 1/2-mile stakes in 2007 en route to year-end honors and returns from his customary summer vacation as the horse to beat.
Doremifasollatido saved ground early, moved into contention while splitting horses at the top of the stretch and pulled away for a two-length victory in the $250,000 Matron (gr. II) Sept. 13 on the Belmont dirt.
Criminologist needed the length of the stretch to catch Waquoit's Love, but the 5-year-old Maria's Mon mare finally ran down the pacesetter, getting up in the final stride to win the $100,000 Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) by a head Sept. 13 on the Belmont turf.
- By Tom Precious
The New York Racing Association is expected to emerge from Chapter bankruptcy and make official its 25-year franchise extension Sept. 12.
Bob Baffert scratched morning-line favorite Indian Blessing in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), but still left himself a chance with his other lesser-known entry, Tough Tiz's Sis. The veteran trainer must have known exactly what he was doing, as the daughter of Tiznow enjoyed the sloppy conditions at Belmont Park en route to a dominating 12 1/4 length victory Sept. 6.
Smell My Carrots, a 3-year-old New York bred maiden gelding, was euthanized today after being found in his stall in Belmont Park's Barn 38 with a fever and unable to stand, according to New York Racing Association's Chief Examining Veterinarian Dr. Anthony Verderosa.
IEAH Stables' grade I winners Ariege and Pure Clan are the headliners in a contentious field of eight 3-year-old fillies vying for the $250,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) Sept. 6 on the Belmont turf, but there is plenty of tough competition in the nine-furlong test.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's homebred Indian Blessing will try older horses for the first time and stretch out past a mile once again, as she battles eight fillies and mares in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) Sept. 6 at Belmont Park.
Stonestreet Farms announced Sept. 4 that the next start for Curlin, 2007 Horse of the Year, will be the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Officials with Breeders' Cup and Churchill Downs aren't ready to confirm the 2010 World Championships will be held at the Kentucky racetrack.
Belmont Park's 38-day Fall Championship meeting begins on Sept. 5 with with first-race post at 1 p.m. General admission on Opening Day is free and there will be $2 off clubhouse admission as well.
The New York Racing Association Aug. 1 announced that John Passero has resigned as director of racing surfaces, effective at the conclusion of the Saratoga meeting Sept. 1. Glen Kozak will take over Passero's responsibilities at the start of the Belmont Park meeting Sept. 5.
All-sources handle declined 2.2% during the recently-concluded Belmont Park Spring/Summer meet, the New York Racing Association announced July 23.
Racing at Belmont Park was canceled July 20, which would have been the final day of the spring/summer meet.
Godolphin Racing's Music Note put on an awesome display in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) July 19 Belmont, taking over at the quarter-pole and romping to an 11-length win for her second consecutive grade I score.
The coupled entry of Music Note and Little Belle, both grade I winners trained by Saeed bin Suroor, head a short field of five in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) July 19 at Belmont, but don't count out Acoma, a good-looking Empire Maker filly who enters off a three-race win streak.
Last year's NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) winner Kip Deville has a clear edge in class over his four contenders in the $100,000 Poker Handicap (gr. IIIT) July 13 at Belmont, but will have to carry 125 pounds, which is nine to 11 more than his rivals.
ESPNews will televise the 49th running of the $500,000 Man o'War Stakes (gr. IT) July 12 at Belmont Park, featuring the turf debut of 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin.
Cutting back to six furlongs, Hal and Patti Earnhardt's Eclipse Award-winning filly Indian Blessing returned to the winner's circle for the first time since February, as she took over at the top of the stretch and drew away for a convincing five-length score in the $250,000 Prioress Stakes (gr. I) July 5 in the mud at Belmont Park.
Lucky Island showed his greed for speed in the $161,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II), grabbing the lead after bursting out of the starting gate from the one hole and rolling to a 4 1/4 length victory, without a serious challenge, July 4 at Belmont Park in New York.
Joseph V. Fields Jr.'s homebred mare Any Limit hit the winner's circle for the first time in nearly 17 months July 4 at Belmont, getting the early jump on six rivals, then holding off Wild Gams in a determined stretch drive to narrowly win the $150,000 First Flight Handicap (gr. II).
Bob Baffert offered no excuses for his prized filly Indian Blessing during her last two races, the only two losses of her career. In fact, Baffert says those two setbacks should only help the daughter of Indian Charlie going forward. Her next test is the $250,000 Prioress Stakes (gr. I) July 5 at Belmont.
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