With the Belmont Stakes headlining eight Grade 1 races that day, Belmont Park will play host to one of the biggest days in American racing on Saturday, June 5.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced Belmont Park’s Spring/Summer Meet stakes schedule, which features 11 Grade 1 races among 59 stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purses. The 48-day meet opens Thursday, April 22, and runs through Sunday, July 11.
Seven of those races offer purses of $700,000 or higher. But it’s that Saturday, June 5 card that promises to suck all the racing oxygen out of North America that day.
The June 5 card would stand out for just two of its Grade 1 races: the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes and the $1 million Metropolitan Mile. As if the 1-1/2-mile final leg of the Triple Crown and one of America’s most venerable races couldn’t hold serve by themselves, NYRA is piling six more Grade 1s onto the Belmont Stakes undercard.
One of the Biggest Racing Days Outside the Breeders’ Cup
The Met Mile is one of three Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers. It offers a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to its winner. The other two are the $500,000 Ogden Phipps (Distaff) and the $400,000 Jaipur (Turf Sprint).
Add to that four more Grade 1s, including the $750,000 Manhattan, the $500,000 Acorn, the $500,000 Just a Game, and the $400,000 Woody Stephens. There’s also the $400,000 Grade 2 Brooklyn, run at the same 1-½-mile distance as the Belmont.
The June 5 card caps a three-day “Belmont Stakes Racing Festival” that opens Thursday, June 3 with a pair of Grade 3 turf races, the Intercontinental and the Wonder Again. Friday, June 4 features three Grade 2s with the $750,000 New York, the $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup, and the $300,000 True North.
Peter Pan Picked as Belmont Prep Race
The first Grade 1 of the meet is the $700,000 Man O’ War Stakes on Saturday, May 8. That headlines a five-graded stakes day that includes the $200,000 Grade 3 Peter Pan, which serves as the Belmont Stakes’ prep race.
Belmont Park Key 2021 Spring/Summer Stakes Races
|May 8||$700,000 Man O’ War||I||1-3/8 miles (turf)||4-Year-Olds and Up|
|May 8||$200,000 Peter Pan||III||1-1/8 miles||3-Year-Olds|
|June 4||$750,000 New York||II||1-1/4 miles (turf)||4-Year-Olds and Up Fillies & Mares|
|June 5||$1.5 million Belmont Stakes||I||1-1/2 miles||3-Year-Olds|
|June 5||$1 million Met Mile||I||1 mile||4-Year-Olds and Up|
|June 5||$750,000 Manhattan||I||1-1/4 miles (turf)||4-year-Olds and Up|
|June 5||$500,000 Ogden Phipps||I||1-1/16 miles||4-Year-Olds and Up Fillies & Mares|
|June 5||$500,000 Acorn||I||1 mile||3-Year-Old Fillies|
|June 5||$500,000 Just a Game||I||1 mile (turf)||4-Year-Olds and Up Fillies & Mares|
|June 5||$400,000 Jaipur||I||6 furlongs (turf)||3-Year-Olds and Up|
|June 5||$400,000 Woody Stephens||I||7 furlongs||3-Year-Olds|
|July 10||$1 million Belmont Derby Invitational||I||1-1/4 miles (turf)||3-Year-Olds|
|July 10||$700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational||I||1-1/4 miles (turf)||3-Year-Old Fillies|
The final Grade 1s will take place on Saturday, July 10, and include the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational and the $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational. The Belmont Derby Invitational launches NYRA’s Turf Triple Series. The organization created that for both males and fillies in 2019 to serve as the turf equivalent of the Triple Crown series. All of the races will take place at Belmont Park and Saratoga.
Belmont Park’s graded stakes begin Saturday, May 1 with the $200,000 Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay and the $200,000 Grade 2 Fort Marcy.
Belmont Park Welcomes Fans — With Limits
As of now, NYRA says spectators will be allowed into its facilities under New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s edict permitting spectators up to 10% of seating capacity. Attendees must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event and must follow health and safety requirements that include mandatory masks and social distancing.
Gov. Cuomo said on Feb. 10 that live sports and entertainment venues may re-open with limited spectators starting Feb. 23. Those venues must obtain New York State Department of Health approval.