ELMONT, NY — Belmont Park’s lucrative spring/summer meet, with 59 stakes races worth a total of $16.95 million, kicks off Thursday with a nine-race card and first post at 1:20 p.m. from the east. The 44-day encounter runs until Sunday, July 10.
The Belmont Spring/Summer Meet will feature 12 Tier 1 events highlighted by the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from Thursday June 9th to Saturday June 11th.
The festival will feature 17 stakes in total, including eight Grade 1 Belmont Stakes Day, capped off with the $1.5 million ‘Champion’s Test’ for 3-year-olds on the final 1 1/2 mile stage of the Triple Crown. For more information on the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and details of hospitality offerings, ticket packages and prizes, visit BelmontStakes.com.
Last year, Chad Brown recorded 32 wins to finish as top coach at Belmont’s spring/summer meet for the sixth consecutive year. Jose Ortiz took the riding title with 59 wins, while Klaravich Stables led all owners with 11 wins over the 48-day encounter.
The Belmont Park Spring/Summer 2021 meet generated $632,208,251 across all sources with an average daily handle of $13,171,005. The Belmont Stakes Day card, highlighted by Essential Quality’s win in the 153rd Annual Grade 1, $1.5 Million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, generated an all-source handful of $112,725,278; a NYRA record for a non-Triple Crown year.
The average field size across 454 runs at the 2021 Belmont Spring/Summer meet was 7.6.
NEW AT BELMONT PARK
A colony of star jockeys will be bolstered by the arrival of the West Coast raider Flavien Prat.
Prat, a 2021 Eclipse Award finalist, made his presence felt last summer at Belmont winning the Grade 1 Manhattan with Domestic Spending, the Grade 3 Wonder Again aboard Con Lima and the Grade 3 Victory Ride on Souper Sensational. He also guided Hot Rod Charlie to a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes.
A top rider at Santa Anita Park, Prat is a three-time Breeders’ Cup winner and his resume includes classic scores in the Kentucky Derby [Country House, via disqualification in 2019] and earliness [2021, Rombauer].
Prat is expected to join Belmont Colony after the Kentucky Derby.
JOCKEY/COACH VICTORIES PER AREA
Some jockeys and horses thrive on Belmont Park’s steep bends and its infamous 1 1/2 mile main dirt road known as Big Sandy, which features a 1,097 foot run. The unique configuration allows racing of nine stages around a lap.
Belmont Park has two grass courses, including the 1 5/16 mile Widener Grass Course and the 1 3/16 mile Indoor Grass Course.
Here’s a look at how the jockeys and trainers fared at the Belmont spring/summer meet last year.
Top 5 jockeys by main track wins with winning percentage:
Jose Ortiz [133-32-24-22, 24.1%]
Irad Ortiz, Jr. [117-29-24-20, 24.8%]
Manny Franco [176-27-28-26, 15.3%]
Luis Saez [138-25-31-16, 18.1 %]
Joel Rosario [105-23-10-18, 21.9%]
Notable: Trevor McCarthy [49-11-2-7, 22.4%]
Top 5 jockeys by turf wins:
Irad Ortiz, Jr. [120-28-22-15, 23.3%]
Jose Ortiz [145-27-23-24, 18.6%]
Manny Franco [174-25-20-24, 14.4%]
Joel Rosario [133-20-19-20, 15%]
Eric Cancel [137-17-13-16, 12.4%]
Notable: Flavien Prat [17-5-3-1, 29.4%]
Top 5 Trainers by Main Track Wins:
Rudy Rodriguez [66-13-12-5, 19.7%]
Todd Plecher [58-12-9-9, 20.7%]
Rob Atras [56-11-15-8, 19.6%]
Noda from Orlando [44-11-6-7, 25%]
Steve Asmussen [21-9-2-3, 42.9%]
Notable: Wesley Ward [20-8-2-2, 40%]
Top 5 coaches by wins on grass:
Chad Brown [121-26-23-24, 21.5%]
Christophe Clement [118-25-21-15, 21.2%]
Microphone manufacturer [66-11-11-10, 16.7%]
Rob Atras [35-8-3-5, 22.9%]
Graham’s movement [34-7-7-5, 20.6%]
Neighborhood Wesley [26-7-4-4, 26.9%]
Notable: Robert Falcone Jr. [15-4-1-1, 26.7%]John Terranova [19-4-3-4, 21.1%]
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
Jockey Dylan Davis captured his first NYRA competition title with 63 wins at Aqueduct’s winter competition. The 27-year-old Manhasset NY native was effective with limited mounts in Belmont’s Spring/Summer meet last year, which was cut short due to injury, earning 11 wins from 75 starts for a return on investment of $3.86.
Coach Michelle Nevin won 8 of 45 starts for a healthy return on investment of $4.27 at Belmont’s Spring/Summer 2021 meet.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez and coach Wesley Ward proved a successful combination last summer at Belmont, winning 10 of 18 starts for a return on investment of $2.57. A number of other jockey/trainer combos have also proven useful, including:
Eric Cancel and Chris Englehart [5-for-18, $4.39] Manny Franco and Chad Brown [7-for-20, $3.89] Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Saffie Joseph, Jr. [5-for-8, $3.53]
HORSE FOR THE COURSE
First Captain and Runaway Rumor each tied for a perfect 3-for-3 score for the winningest horse at last year’s Belmont Spring/Summer meet.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, First Captain, a 4-year-old chestnut Curlin, graduated last April on Big Sandy before earning an allowance in May and a Grade 3 Dwyer in July. He recently finished seventh in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at the Big A.
Turf specialist Runaway Rumour, a 4-year-old New York-raised Flintshire girl, made her first two career starts against other state breeders, graduating for the first time in May before a score of narrow allocation on June 5th.
She ended a perfect summer campaign in Belmont by beating an open company on June 26 in the Wild Applause. Coached by Jorge Abreu, Runaway Rumor returned to Belmont in the fall with a strong third in the Pebbles and narrowly missed out on the Grade 2 Sands Point victory, finishing a neck close to Fluffy Socks. The consistent bay is expected to target the 3rd year Beaugay, $150,000, on May 14th.
A unique Pick 3, with a minimum bet of $3, will be available on Sundays only. The NYRA Triple Play will launch on May 1, the first Sunday of the Belmont Spring/Summer meeting and will not be available to customers using computer-assisted betting [CAW] programs.
The $3 Pick 3 bet requires bettors to select the first runner-up from three designated races on the card. Each week will feature a mandatory net pool payout. NYRA Triple Play betting is also available on ADW platforms and at simulcast facilities across the country.
TAKE AWAY RATES
Win, place and show: 16% Pick 5: 15% Daily Double, Quinella and Exacta: 18.5% Trifecta, Superfecta, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Grand Slam: 24% Pick 6: 15% (24% on days of report)
Belmont Park Press Release