Monday, September 01, 2008
“BEST HORSE ON THE PLANET” COULD BRIGHTEN BELMONT’S FALL
2007 Horse of the Year Curlin, largely considered the “best horse on the planet,” could be making his final New York appearance in the 90th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on Saturday, September 27 – the biggest race of Belmont Park’s 38-day Fall Championship Meet.
Curlin’s majority owner, Jess Jackson, has said that no decision will be made until Curlin works again at Saratoga Race Course in a week or so, and that he has several options for the 4-year-old Smart Strike colt.
By winning the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga Race Course on August 30, Curlin moved ahead of Skip Away and into second place behind two-time Horse of the Year Cigar as racing’s all-time leading money-earner. Cigar, the 1995 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, earned $9,999,815, and with Curlin at $9,796,800, a win would make him racing’s first $10 million earner.
And it would happen before an appreciative audience and New York’s vast media market.
Should he win the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Curlin could also nail down Horse of the Year honors, and join Mad Hatter (1921-’22), Dark Secret (1933-’34), Nashua (1955-’56), Kelso (1960-’64), the mare Shuvee (1970-’71), Slew o’Gold (1983-’84), Crème Fraiche (1986-’87) and Skip Away (1996-’97) as the only repeat winners of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. (Firethorn won it in 1935 and as a five-year-old in 1937).
The Jockey Club Gold Cup would be Curlin’s second Belmont Park appearance this year. Back in July, he ran second by two lengths in his first try on turf to classy Red Rocks in the Grade 1 Man o’War. He has won four of five starts this year, including a resounding 7 ¾-length victory in the Dubai World Cup on March 29.
Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet will begin on Friday, September 5 with a first-race post of 1 p.m.
Many horses competing at Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet will be heading out Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Championships on October 24-25.
Fans will be able to wager on those races on both days, and on Saturday, October 25, Belmont Park will offer its own live racing card featuring the Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker Handicap for three-year-olds and up at nine furlongs on the turf, and the Grade 3, $150,000 Sport Page Handicap for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.
Closing Day of Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet is Sunday, October 26 and the featured race will be the Grade 3, $100,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for fillies and mares at nine furlongs.
OPENING DAY, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
General admission is free, $2 off clubhouse admission as Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet begins. First-race post time is 1 p.m. Eastern
RUFFIAN HANDICAP, GARDEN CITY
LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
A pair of Grade 1 races, the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth and the $250,000 Garden City for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs on the turf will help make for an exciting day of racing.
Additionally, fans will receive a free Belmont Park long-sleeved T-shirt with each paid admission, while supplies last.
PICK THE PROS AND PONIES KICKS OFF
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 7
The best of two great sporting worlds meet every Sunday during Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet with the return of the popular Pick the Pros and Ponies Contest.
It’s a free contest, in which contestants must correctly pick the winners of four designated National Football League games as well as the winners of races 3 and 5 on the day’s card for the chance to win a $1,000 prize.
General admission is free, $2 off clubhouse admission on this day.
GRADE 1 GAZELLE, GRADE 3 NOBLE DAMSEL
PLUS TWO FOR THE TWO-YEAR-OLDS
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
The Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs headlines a strong, stakes-filled card.
Also on the day will be the Grade 2, $250,000 Matron for two-year-old fillies and the Grade 2, $250,000 Futurity for juvenile colts and geldings, both at seven furlongs.
Additionally, the card will feature the Grade 3, $100,000-added Noble Damsel Handicap for fillies and mares, 3 and up, at a mile on the turf.
BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE DAY
$500,000 GUARANTEED PICK 4
BELMONT PARK STADIUM CUSHION GIVEAWAY
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
Five Grade 1 stakes worth more than $2.4 million is reason enough to come to Belmont Park on this day, but Curlin would be the draw in the featured Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational at 10 furlongs. It is the feature on a Super Saturday at Belmont Park, which will host four other Grade 1 races.
Two superior turf races, the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at a mile and a half and the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational for fillies and mares at 10 furlongs on the turf will determine the leaders of the pack on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Filly & Mare Turf races.
The Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh at six furlongs and the Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame for fillies and mares at nine furlongs complete this sensational day of racing.
There will also be a guaranteed $500,000 Pick 4 on the day.
All paid admissions on Jockey Club Gold Cup Day will receive the Belmont Park Stadium Cushion, free while supplies last.
FUTURE IS NOW FOR JUVENILES
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4
The Grade 1, $400,000 Champagne for two-year-olds and the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette for two-year-old fillies, both at a mile, will head a card that will also includes the Grade 2, $300,000 Jamaica Handicap for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf.
COLUMBUS DAY, MONDAY, OCTOBER 13
Explore the grounds of beautiful Belmont Park and discover a world of excitement on your holiday. It’s the only Monday of the season when Belmont Park is open. Post time at 1 p.m.
The $100,000, Grade 3 Pebbles is the main event for three-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf. Reminder: Belmont Park will be closed on Tuesday, October 14 and Wednesday, October 15. Belmont Park will re-open on Thursday, October 16. Post time is 1 p.m.
NEW YORK SHOWCASE FALL FESTIVAL, CAP GIVEAWAY
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18
It has become one of the better betting days at Belmont Park, one devoted exclusively to the New York Thoroughbred Breeding & Racing Program. Featured are seven New York-bred stakes races, highlighted by the $250,000 Empire Classic.
Trainer Dominic Galluscio won the nine-furlong Empire Classic in 2006 with Organizer and last year with 15-1 Dr. V’s Magic.
“You know how they used to call Reggie Jackson `Mr. October?,’” Galluscio said. “If I win this race again, maybe they will call me `Mr. October.’”
A possible candidate to spoil the affair is Tin Cup Chalice, who swept the Mike Lee at Belmont Park, the New York Derby at Finger Lakes and Saratoga’s Albany to become the first horse to earn the OTB’s Big Apple Triple bonus of $250,000 for owner/trainer Michael LeCesse.
BREAKFAST AT BELMONT
The Breakfast at Belmont program provides fans with a behind-the-scenes look at the world of racing by gaining access to otherwise restricted areas of Belmont Park, including a tram tour of Belmont’s remarkable stable area. A kids’ favorite, the starting gate demonstration, gives children an up close and personal look at the starting gate. The Paddock Show is a must-see for racing fans and novices alike as a horse’s daily routine and equipment are explained.
Fans can also join Mary Ryan trackside as she provides expert commentary on the morning workouts and training schedule. For entry into the track for the Breakfast at Belmont program, take Exit 26B off the Cross Island Parkway and enter Belmont through Gate 5.
The Breakfast at Belmont program is held every weekend through September. Breakfast is optional and available for a nominal cost.
2008 BELMONT FALL CHAMPIONSHIP MEET (38 days)
(Friday, September 5 – Sunday, October, 26)
SCHEDULE: Thoroughbred horse racing is conducted Wednesdays through Sundays, with a few exceptions. Belmont Park is open Columbus Day, Monday, October 13. Belmont Park will be closed on Tuesday, October 14 and Wednesday, October 15, and will re-open on Thursday, October 16. First race post time is 1 p.m. on all racing days. There is no Sunset Racing during Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet.
ADMISSION: General Admission, $2; Clubhouse, $5. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.
PARKING: General Parking, $2; Preferred, $4; Valet, $6.
SWITCHBOARD: (516) 488-6000.
NYRA.com: Log on to this site to get updated information on all three New York Racing Association tracks: Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga.
NYRA STORE ONLINE: Delivery is easy and the prices affordable as the NYRA Store expands the menu to include all the NYRA gear you need. Go to http://www.nyra.com and click on the NYRA Store link.
NYRA REWARDS: Known as the “Bettors’ Best Bet,” the NYRA REWARDS
wagering program offers cash back just for wagering on the races. Members can earn points through on-track self-service wagering terminals, phone wagering with Telebet, or with NYRA REWARDS Internet Wagering. Enrollment is free and available only to customers 18 years and older. To sign up or for more information, visit nyra.com, call 1-800-THE-NYRA, or stop by a customer service booth on-track. The NYRA Rewards Lounge, featuring an array of large flat screen TVs, as part of the renovated Paddock Bar, second floor clubhouse.
DINING: Garden Terrace Restaurant ($3.50 Seating Charge, $10 minimum), fourth floor clubhouse. Belmont Café (Casual Dining), first floor clubhouse, $5 seating charge per table for a TV table.
Food Court – located on third floor (clubhouse and grandstand accessible).
Additional concession stands are located throughout the track.
CORPORATE AND SOCIAL EVENTS: Accommodations for 20 to 500. The Grand Marquee Village Tent, located adjacent to the Paddock, is the ultimate place to entertain larger groups of clients or associates. Other private areas are also available. Visint http://www.nyragroupsales.com or call (888) 285-5961.
ATTIRE: Box Seats: Suits or Sport Coats required. Absolutely no shorts or jeans.
Garden Terrace Restaurant – Preferred Attire: Gentlemen: Suits or sports jackets; Ladies: Dresses, skirts or pant suits. No jeans, shorts or abbreviated wear permitted. Acceptable Attire: Business Casual. Gentlemen: Collared shirts required. Suits or sports jackets optional. No shorts, jeans or abbreviated wear permitted.
Clubhouse: No abbreviated wear. Gentlemen: No tank tops. Management reserves the right to use its discretion to determine acceptable attire.
HOW TO GET TO BELMONT PARK
By Car >From Manhattan: Queens Midtown Tunnel to Long Island Expressway, East to Cross Island Parkway, South to Exit 26B.
From Brooklyn: Belt Parkway, East to Cross Island Parkway, North to Exit 26B, or Brooklyn – Queens Expressway to Long Island Expressway, East to Cross Island Parkway, South to Exit 26B.
From Queens: Grand Central Parkway, East to Cross Island Parkway, South to Exit 26D or Belt Parkway, East to Cross Island Parkway, North to Exit 26B.
From Staten Island: Verrazano Bridge to Belt Parkway, East to Cross Island Parkway, North to Exit 26B.
From Long Island: Northern State Parkway or Long Island Expressway, West to Cross Island Parkway, South to Exit 26B or Southern State Parkway, West to Cross Island Parkway, North to Exit 26B.
From New Jersey: (North) George Washington Bridge to Cross Bronx Expressway to Throgs Neck Bridge to Cross Island Parkway, South to Exit 26B. (South) Any interstate bridge to Staten Island Expressway to Verrazano Bridge to Belt Parkway, East to Cross Island Parkway, North to Exit 26B.
From Connecticut & Westchester: Any route to Throgs Neck Bridge to Cross Island Parkway, South to Exit 26B.
By Subway: Take the F Train to 169th Street or 179th Street, then take the N6 or the Q2 bus to Belmont. Or take the F train to Parsons and Hillside or the E train to Parsons and Archer and transfer to Q110 MTA bus.
By Bus: N6 (MSBA Line) – Operates along Hempstead Turnpike between Hempstead, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Elmont, Hollis and Jamaica. >From Jamaica, the bus starts at Jamaica Bus Terminal (165th Street & 89th Avenue) and runs along Hillside Avenue to Francis Lewis Blvd. To Hempstead Ave. Stops in front of Belmont Park. Connections: Transfer from the “F” Train at either 169th Street or 179th Street stations.
Q110 (MTA Bus) – Service provided every 20 minutes to and from Belmont during racing days, available at Parsons Blvd. and Hillside Ave. and from Parsons Blvd. & Archer Ave., and various locations eastbound on Jamaica Ave and Hempstead Ave in Queens. These buses pick up and discharge at the west end of the track. Connections: Transfer from “F” Train at Parsons & Hillside; Transfer from “E” Train at Parsons & Archer
Q2 (MTA bus) – Originates at Jamaica Bus Terminal (165th Street and 89th Ave) and runs along Hillside Ave to 187th Place to Hollis Ave. and discharges at the west end of the track. Connections: Transfer from “F” Train at 169th Street or 179th Street stations.
RAILROAD: Passengers can board the LIRR at Penn Station, Woodside or Jamaica. Residents of Brooklyn, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens can make connections at Jamaica Station.
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