Thursday, May 07 2009


FAN FAVORITES SQUARE OFF IN KINGSTON


ELMONT, N.Y. -- When Banrock stuck his head out to win Belmont Park’s 2008 Kingston Stakes over Dave, it signaled the start of a big season for the gelded son of 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin. By year’s end, Banrock had won four of eight starts with two third-place finishes as well as the admiration of New York’s fans.

Sunday afternoon, the 6-year-old Banrock will return for the 31st running of the $100,000-added Kingston Stakes for New York-breds at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf course, where he will face some others that have earned admiration for their class and courage. With plenty of rain during the week, the footing should favor Banrock, who won the Kingston over yielding ground last year.





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PROCINO RETURNS TO ROOTS IN PETER PAN


ELMONT, N.Y. – Gerald Procino has been away a long time. Now, he has taken an even longer road back home to New York.

Procino, who turns 68 on May 25, is a native of Yonkers, N.Y. He started off exercising Thoroughbreds, became a successful standardbred trainer, moved to Florida to train Thoroughbreds in the 1990s and now is back at Belmont Park on Saturday, where he will saddle Stately Character in the 56th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan for three-year-olds at nine furlongs. The Peter Pan (race 9, 5:17 p.m.) will be the third leg of Belmont Park’s brand new guaranteed $350,000 Late Pick 4 (races 7-10).





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FAMILIAR FACES ADD UP TO STRONG BELMONT JOCKEY COLONY


ELMONT, N.Y. – The day after riding Pioneerof the Nile to a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, Garrett Gomez was back in the irons at Belmont Park, where he will base his tack this spring for the fourth year in a row.

Gomez was one of seven New York jockeys to have a mount in the Derby, and returning to Belmont with him were Eibar Coa, Alan Garcia, Edgar Prado, Kent Desormeaux, Ramon Dominguez and John Velazquez.





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Monday, May 04 2009


PATIENCE PAYS OFF FOR SAPPHIRE SKY IN SLOPPY BOUWERIE


ELMONT, N.Y. – Strait Gate Stable’s Sapphire Sky and jockey John Velazquez were content Sunday afternoon to watch the 32nd running of the $109,000 Bouwerie unfold ahead of them. With a steady rain falling most of the day, they weren’t in a hurry to get mud thrown in their faces early on in this seven-furlong sprint for three-year-old New York-bred fillies.

So, they waited. And waited. And waited.





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AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM TO LAUNCH AT BELMONT


ELMONT, N.Y. -- There will be a few extra hands at trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn at Belmont Park this spring, but they won’t belong to either grooms or hotwalkers. Instead, McLaughlin will be hosting a group of elementary students in the afternoon in conjunction with Gateway Youth Outreach, which supports the youth of neighboring Elmont with a number of programs and services.

According to Pat Boyle, the executive director of the agency, four students will visit McLaughlin’s barn on a weekly basis during GYO’s after-school program. The students will have the opportunity to observe the inner workings of one of the country’s leading Thoroughbred stables at historic Belmont Park, home of the Belmont Stakes.





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RACING’S BEST REWARDS PROGRAM JUST GOT BETTER


ELMONT, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. has announced a new and upgraded NYRA Rewards rebate schedule with new awards levels and increased rebates. The monthly point categories have been rearranged and the payout percentages have been increased for each type of wager.


“The new NYRA Rewards rebate schedule will result in all of our members receiving higher rebates,” said NYRA Director of Marketing Neema Ghazi. “The new schedule makes it easier for our members to qualify for higher rebates because we have reorganized our monthly point categories. In addition, the percent payouts for every type of wager have been increased.”





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BELMONT PARK NOTES, Sunday, March 3, 2009


In the aftermath of Rachel Alexandra’s powerhouse victory in Friday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, trainer Hal Wiggins was still on cloud nine even as he looked ahead to the three-year-old filly’s next start, the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday, June 6.

“We’ve got the Acorn penciled in pretty good,” said Wiggins from Churchill Downs. “It really is, historically, a very prestigious race. The one-turn mile should fit her just great. Plus it gives us five weeks, which is what I like.”





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Sunday, May 03 2009


COSMONAUT LANDS VICTORIOUS IN FORT MARCY


ELMONT, N.Y. – Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut rebounded from an ankle fracture that had kept him out of action since last July and overcame Tam Lin (GB) to win Saturday’s 33rd running of the Grade 3 $106,500 Fort Marcy Stakes for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a sixteenth on Belmont Park’s Widener Turf Course.

The Fort Marcy, previously run at Aqueduct Racetrack, was the eighth victory of Cosmonaut’s 33-race career. The 7-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right front ankle last summer, shortly after he ran second to Stream Cat in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap on July 12.





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MY PRINCESS JESS SAVES BEST FOR LAST (QUARTER) IN BEAUGAY


ELMONT, N.Y.-- Lael Stable’s My Princess Jess halted a three-race losing streak and began her 4-year-old campaign as a winner Saturday afternoon, rallying for a 1 ¾-length victory over favored Carribean Sunset (IRE) in the 32nd running of the $109,000 Beaugay for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf course at Belmont Park.

The Stormy Atlantic filly, whose previous victory was in Saratoga’s Grade 2 Lake George last July, came on strong in the middle of the “good” course under jockey Cornelio Velasquez after sitting well off a pace of 26.07, 50.57, 1:15.27 and 1:38.97. Are We Dreamin had been the early pacesetter, but was overtaken on the turn by Sunshine for Life, who wilted in midstretch.





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FLASHING MAKES COMEBACK FOR FIRST BELMONT SCORE


BELMONT PARK, ELMONT, N.Y. -- Darley Stable’s Flashing, making her Belmont Park debut after winning three of four career starts at Aqueduct, came back in the lane to collar 6-5 favorite Saarlight and win Saturday’s 14th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Nassau County for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs by a length and a quarter.

Flashing, a daughter of 1992 Belmont Stakes winner and Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, took the lead from the rail on the muddy/sealed track and was quickly engaged by Saarlight. They opened a huge lead over their three rivals, setting a pace of 22.14, 44.63 and 1:09.73.





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Thursday, April 30 2009


FIVE FILLIES TRY BELMONT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NASSAU COUNTY


It’s the first graded race for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park and, fittingly, all five starters will try the track for the very first time in the 14th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Nassau County Saturday at seven furlongs over the dirt.

Darley Stable’s New York-based Flashing will try for her first black-type win for trainer Tom Albertrani. Coming off back-to-back wins in allowance company going longer, the daughter of A.P. Indy will sprint for the first time since she broke her maiden at Aqueduct in November.





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NYRA SUPPORTS BILL TO ELIMINATE WITHHOLDING TAX


Elmont, NY – The New York Racing Association, Inc. supports a bill that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 28 that would eliminate the automatic 25 percent federal withholding on pari-mutuel winnings of $5,000 or more for bets that carry odds of 300-1 or higher.

The bill, titled the “Pari-Mutuel Conformity and Equality Act” (PACE Act – H.R. 2140) was introduced by Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) with Rep. Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-LA) as the co-sponsor.





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