A potent stakes schedule run at one of Thoroughbred racing’s grandest facilities awaits fans when Belmont Park begins its 64-day Spring/Summer Meet on Wednesday, April 29.

With its historic paddock, spacious backyard, playground, picnic facilities and tree-shaded paths, Belmont Park allows its fans to enjoy a day outside and get close to the horses as they savor a day of quality Thoroughbred racing.

And, to sweeten the deal, the New York Racing Association is offering a Save Your Bucks special for the opening month of the meet. Every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from April 29 through May 29, fans will receive $1 off general parking, admission, beer, soda, hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza.

“NYRA has the best fans in the world, and the Save Your Bucks deal is our way of thanking them for their support,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA President & CEO. “By discounting parking, admission, food, and drinks, individuals and families alike will be able to save money on almost all of the amenities offered at Belmont Park.”

General admission to Belmont Park is normally $2 and clubhouse admission is $5; while general parking is $2, preferred parking $4, clubhouse parking is $7 and valet parking $7. With the parking and admission discounts, fans will have saved $2 before they even set foot in beautiful Belmont Park. They will then be able to save money on a variety of food and drink offerings at the track.

The 64-day Belmont Park Spring/Summer Meet runs through Sunday, July 26. There is no live racing on Mondays or Tuesdays, with the exception of Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. Belmont Park will also be dark on Wednesday, May 27 and Sunday, June 7. Normal first-race post is 1 p.m., with a few exceptions.

The crown jewel at Belmont Park is the 141st running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes for three-year-olds at a mile and a half on Saturday, June 6, which heads a card that will include the Grade 1, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter on the turf, the Grade 1, $400,000 Just A Game for fillies and mares at a mile on the turf, the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn for three-year-old fillies at a mile, the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs and the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens for three-year-olds at seven furlongs.

The first Grade 1 race of the Spring/Summer Meet will have a new title. The Grade 1, $600,000 Shadwell Metropolitan Handicap will be held on Monday, May 25. The “Met Mile” is New York’s traditional Memorial Day feature race.

The $400,000 Suburban Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter on Saturday, July 4 has been changed to Grade 2 status. It will be part of a stellar Independence Day card that will include the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs and the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer for three-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth.

Also during this meet, three Grade 1 races for three-year-old fillies have been given purse increases to $300,000: the one-mile Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday, June 6; the nine-furlong Mother Goose on Saturday, June 27 and the six-furlong Prioress on Saturday, July 4.

The Cupecoy’s Joy Division and the Spectacular Bid Division of the New York Stallion Series, both carrying $75,000 purses, have been switched from one mile on the main track to seven furlongs on the turf on Sunday, May 31.



OPENING DAY, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29

The Grade 3, $100,000-added Westchester for three-year-olds and up at a mile is the feature race on Opening Day, with first race post at 1 p.m. Remember, NYRA’s Save Your Bucks deal -- $1 off on general parking, admission and certain food items every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday through May 29 – begins on this day.



KENTUCKY DERBY DAY SIMULCAST, SATURDAY, MAY 2

On Saturday, May 2, Belmont Park will offer the complete day of races from Churchill Downs, including the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby.

The live card, however, will certainly whet the racing fans’ appetites.

Three Grade 3 races will be offered: the 14th running of the $200,000 Nassau County for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs; the 32nd running of the $100,000-added Beaugay for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf; and, re-locating from Aqueduct Racetrack, the 33rd running of the $100,000-added Fort Marcy for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf.



MOTHER’S DAY CELEBRATION, MAY 10

Instead of dinner out, take Mom to Belmont Park for Mother’s Day.

Enjoy a lavish buffet in the North Shore Terrace, or head to the backyard for an informal Family Fun Day, featuring Western Day, complete with ponies and a Western round-up.

To remember the day, there will be a photo magnet booth. And the backyard will be abuzz with live bands and the children’s playground.

Fans may enter, free of charge, a drawing for a night’s stay at The Inn at Great Neck.



PREAKNESS SIMULCAST, SATURDAY, MAY 16

The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico, will be offered at Belmont Park, as well as the entire card from the Baltimore, Md. racetrack.

The live race feature at Belmont Park will be the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile.



MILITARY DAY, FLEET WEEK NYC, FRIDAY, MAY 22

Military Day will offer free admission to all military personnel showing valid identification. NYRA will salute all branches of our nation’s military throughout the day.



WORLD OF HORSES, SUNDAY, MAY 24

One of the meet’s more popular family attractions, the World of Horses, begins with a Parade of Breeds at 11:30 a.m. on track and special equine performances between races throughout the day.



SHADWELL MET MILE HANDICAP, MEMORIAL DAY, MONDAY, MAY 25

The 115th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Shadwell Metropolitan Handicap is the traditional Memorial Day feature race in New York.



SUBWAY SERIES PROMOTION, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, JUNE 13-14

RIVALRY DAY, SUNDAY, JUNE 28

Promotion to be announced.



FATHER’S DAY, SUNDAY, JUNE 21

Annually, it is one of Belmont Park’s more popular days and it will be an even bigger hit this year.

Dad will enjoy his day at the Festival Tent, where he can delight sampling deeply discounted Habana Premium hand-rolled cigars; take part in a whisky tasting and indulge himself with a hot shave and massages. The rest of the family can relish the “Join the Circus” theme of Family Fun Day on Sunday, presented by Coca-Cola, in the backyard.

There will be a live band from noon to – 4 p.m.

Featured on the day’s live card is the first leg of the OTB’s Big Apple Triple, the $100,000-added Mike Lee for three-year-old New York-breds at seven furlongs





BELMONT PARK 2009 HANDICAPPING CHALLENGE, JUNE 27-28

This popular contest, part of the NTRA/Daily Racing Form Handicapping Challenge, is limited to 200 entries, maximum of two entries per person. Entry fee is $400, and all entry fees are returned in prize money. The top three finishers will gain entry to the NTRA/Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas in January.

Handicappers will test their skill at three tracks: Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Monmouth Park.

Contest rules and regulations are available on-line at nyra.com or by contacting Kathy Locke at

INDEPENDENCE DAY BBQ, SATURDAY, JULY 4

Belmont Park celebrates the Fourth of July with a weekend barbeque in its storied Backyard and three graded stakes races: the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs; the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer for three-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth; and New York’s traditional Fourth of July feature, the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter.

Also appearing in the backyard is the Frank Sinatra tribute band, The Vincent Roccaro Band.



FAMILY FUN DAYS ON SUNDAYS

PRESENTED BY COCA-COLA

Every Sunday during the Spring/Summer Meet – with the exception of June 7 when Belmont Park will be dark -- and beginning May 3, Belmont Park will offer Family Fun Days on Sundays, presented by Coca-Cola, from noon until 4 p.m. All events – petting zoos, miniature golf, family comedy troupes, magicians, etc. -- are free, except for pony rides, which are $1 (proceeds benefit Backstretch Employees Service Team (B.E.S.T.). For more information, call (516) 659-2285.

The schedule is:

May 3, Carnival Fun: Features Clown Bounce inflatable and circus variety show.

May 10, Western Day: Ponies and a Western Round-up are the highlights.

May 17, A Day at the Races: Speedway challenge and Fun Derby

May 24, Blast Off to Space: Rocket Bounce inflatable and craft booths.

May 31, Sports Day at NYRA: Sports Slide inflatable and 9-hole mini-golf.

June 14, Pirates of Belmont Park: Parrots and Pirates Skull Island inflatable.

June 21, Join the Circus: Puff Circus Train and Fun House inflatable.

June 28, Medieval Daze!: Crazy Maze and Castle Bounce inflatable.

July 5, Patriotic Day at Belmont Park: Fire Truck Slide and Shuttle Challenge.

July 12, Safari in the Park: Jungle Bounce and Safari Animal Hunt.

July 19, Tropical Heatwave: Sea Bounce and Gorilligan’s Island.

July 26, Nautical NYRA: Sammy the Seahorse and Buccaneer Pirate Ship inflatable.


BREAKFAST AT BELMONT

Mary Ryan is trackside to point out top horses, trainers and jockeys during the morning workouts, and children delight in the Starting Gate demonstration. Tram tours of the stable area are also available. Open to the public on weekends and holidays during the Spring/Summer Meet from 7 – 9:30 a.m. Admission is free. An optional breakfast is served at reasonable prices. On Sundays, Breakfast at Belmont also features family entertainment.