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Belmont spring/summer meet opens April 22

Some fans might be permitted


Thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park will resume on April 22.

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced the stakes schedule for the 48-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet, which will feature 59 total stakes races worth nearly $17 million in total purses. The meet will conclude on July 11.

On Feb. 10, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced live sports and entertainment venues will be permitted to re-open to a limited number of spectators beginning Feb. 23. In order for qualifying venues to re-open, those sites must gain New York State Department of Health approval and limit the number of spectators to 10 percent of seated capacity. All attendees must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event and adhere to health and safety requirements, including mandatory facial coverings and social distancing.

NYRA is reviewing the newly announced guidelines to determine how they apply to Aqueduct Racetrack, where the first floor is currently the site of a New York State COVID-19 vaccination center, and to Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

The Belmont spring/summer meet will offer 11 Grade 1 contests and seven races with purses of $700,000 or higher, with four of those contests coming during the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from June 3-5. The festival will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the $1.5 million "Test of the Champion" for 3-year-olds in the 1 ½-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.

Tickets for the 2021 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival are not yet on sale to the public. Additional information and the timing of the general on-sale will be released in the coming weeks.

In addition to the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes on Sat., June 5, that day’s card will include three Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” qualifiers: the one-mile Grade 1, $1 million Metropolitan for 4-year-olds and up; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track [Distaff]; and the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs on turf.

The blockbuster Belmont Stakes Day card will also feature the Grade 1, $750,000 Manhattan for 4-year-olds and up going 1 ¼ miles on turf; the Grade 1, $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies going one mile; the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Just a Game for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at one mile on the turf; the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens in a seven-furlong sprint over Big Sandy for 3-year-olds; and the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn, a 1 ½-mile test for 4-year-olds and up.

The Stars and Stripes Racing Festival returns July 10 and features a trio of graded stakes headlined by the opening legs of NYRA's Turf Triple Series. Launched in 2019, the Turf Triple returns with a pair of races earning Grade 1 status, featuring the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational for sophomores going 1 ¼ miles and the $700,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies over the same distance. 

Closing Day on July 11 will drop the curtain down on the meet with the $150,000 River Memories before the racing action moves to Saratoga for its 40-day meet beginning July 15.