The Third Jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, will serve as the marquee race among many stakes races as part of Belmont Park’s Racing Festival Saturday, June 11.
At Turf Paradise doors will open at 8:00 am with the first Belmont simulcast scheduled for 8:35 am. The Belmont Stakes itself is scheduled for 3:26 pm. All of Belmont’s races, including races from other tracks across the country, will be simulcast at Turf Paradise and at all 65 in-state OTB facilities.
There is no admission or parking fee at Turf Paradise.
Other stakes on Belmont Day are: the $500,000 Wood Stevens (G2), $1,000,000 Ogden Phillips (G1), $150,000 Easy Goer, $1,000,000 Manhattan, (G1) $1,250,000 Metropolitan Handicap (G1), $300,000 Jaipur (G3), $700,000 Just a Game (G1), $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational (G2) and $700,000 Acorn (G1)
True, there will be no Triple Crown winner this year: Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby (G1), defeating Exaggerator and then Exaggerator won racing’s Second Jewel, the Preakness (G1) Stakes, with Nyquist finishing third. So, no grudge-match showdown between the two colts in the Belmont. Following the Preakness, Nyquist developed a fever and a low white-cell blood count. Given the grueling 1 ½ miles of the Belmont Stakes, it made no sense for Nyquist, who would be losing valuable training, to show up if he’s not at 100%.
However, given the exceptional menu of stakes on Belmont day, no one should leave disappointed.
The Belmont Stakes itself should come up with a strong field to contest the Preakness winner. Exaggerator himself will get plenty of action, given that he is by Curlin, who is bred to run all day. The colt should have no trouble handling the 1 ½ Belmont Stakes. After coming from way behind in the Derby, Exaggerator showed in the Preakness he can race closer to the pace and still have another gear when hitting the stretch.
Cherry Wine, who nosed out Nyquist for the place in the Preakness, showed he belonged with the current crop of 3-year-olds. A one-run, deep closer, Cherry Wine can only improve upon his Preakness effort, even though his come-from-behind running style does not conform to most close-to-the-pace Belmont winners.
Stratavari, the lightly raced colt who finished fourth in the Preakness, is scheduled to take another run at his more accomplished peers. Also Lani, the temperamental and highly unpredictable colt from Japan, who finished ninth in the Derby and fifth in the Preakness, should find himself in the Belmont starting gate along with several others, like Creator (13th Derby) and Suddenbreakingnews (5th Derby), Brody’s Cause (7th Derby). Destin, Mo Tom and Governor Malibu.