Bettors will have a veritable smorgasbord of options to choose from when Belmont Park’s Fall Meet takes to the track in September. In a schedule released by the New York Racing Association on Tuesday, organizers are featuring four, Grade 1 races and five Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series races throughout the six-week meet.
Belmont’s 28-day fall meet runs from Thursday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Oct. 31 and includes 47 stakes – 20 graded – boasting $11.15 million in purses.
Highlighting the meet are the four Grade 1s. Those begin with the one-mile Champagne Stakes on Oct. 2. That key race for 2-year-olds provides a good picture of Kentucky Derby prospects for the 2022 Derby. The winner of that race earns a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar on Nov. 5.
The other Grade 1 that day is the Woodward Stakes, which sends its 3-year-olds on a one-turn, 1 1/8-mile tour of Big Sandy. That race returns to Belmont Park for the first time since 2005. It ran at Saratoga from 2006-2020.
Frizette, BC Juvenile Fillies can make, break Eclipse hopefuls
The following day puts another Breeders’ Cup spot up for grabs in the meet’s third Grade 1. That’s the Frizette for 2-year-old fillies. Like the Champagne does for male Derby contenders, the Frizette opens a window to Kentucky Oaks prospects for the following spring. The winner, meanwhile, gets a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The next weekend – Oct. 9 and 10 – wraps up the Grade 1s and the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races. Oct. 9 offers the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, which sends its grass runners 1 ½ miles. That day’s Grade 2 Vosburgh, a six-furlong sprint, sends its winner to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Belmont Park-2021 Fall Meet Key Stakes Races
|Sept. 18||Jockey Club Derby||Listed||1 1/2 miles (turf)||3-year-olds|
|Sept. 18||Jockey Club Oaks||Listed||1 3/8 miles (turf)||3-year-old fillies|
|Sept. 25||Kelso Handicap||2||1 mile||3-year-olds and up|
|Oct. 2||Champagne||1||1 mile||2-year-olds|
|Oct. 2||Woodward||1||1 1/8 miles||3-year-olds and up|
|Oct. 3||Frizette||1||1 mile||2-year-old fillies|
|Oct. 3||Joe Hirsch Turf Classic||1||1 1/2 miles (turf)||3-year-olds and up|
|Oct. 9||Vosburgh||2||6 furlongs||3-year-olds and up|
|Oct. 10||Futurity||3||6 furlongs (turf)||2-year-olds|
The final Breeders’ Cup qualifier is Oct. 10’s Grade 3 Futurity. That six-furlong sprint for juveniles sends its 2-year-old winner to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Belmont Park stakes its fortunes early
Belmont Park’s stakes slate opens on the meet’s second day with two ungraded turf sprints. The first Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race, the Listed Jockey Club Derby, goes on Saturday, Sept. 18. That $1 million race gives the winning 3-year-old a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. It also wraps up NYRA’s Turf Triple series that begins this Saturday with the Belmont Derby and segues with the Saratoga Derby in August.
The NYRA added three stakes races to the fall schedule: the Oct. 15, seven-furlong Glen Cove, the Oct. 22 Carle Place, and the Oct. 29 Oyster Bay. All three ungraded stakes are seven-furlong turf sprints; the Glen Cove and Carle Place for 3-year-olds, and the Oyster Bay for 3-year-olds and up.