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Belmont Park: Vinery Stallions in Spotlight

Four top stallions standing at Vinery New York will be spotlighted on October 22 at Belmont Park when The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) hosts its annual New York Showcase Day, featuring the best of the Empire State both on track and off.

Lending their names to four of the seven stakes for New York-breds on Showcase Day are Grade 1 winner Bluegrass Cat, runner-up in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers; Posse, winner of Belmont’s Grade 2 Riva Ridge in 2003; Justenuffhumor, winner of six straight races in 2009 including the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch and the Grade 2 Fourstardave, and multiple graded stakes winner Friendly Island, who took the Hudson Handicap on New York Showcase Day in 2003.

“We are so pleased to be a participant in this important day of racing in New York,” said Vinery president Tom Ludt of the sponsorships, which comprise the $125,000 Bluegrass Cat Mohawk on the turf; the $125,000 Posse Hudson for sprinters; the $125,000 Justenuffhumor Ticonderoga for fillies and mares on the turf, and the $125,000 Friendly Island Iroquois for fillies and mares going seven furlongs. “Our division, Vinery New York at Sugar Maple, is flourishing with a new stallion roster and new clients coming on board. It is so exciting to have a presence in the state of New York due to the lucrative breeders program and now the racing incentives.  ”

On January 1, purses for the winter/spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack are expected to increase by approximately $8.6 million, or 36 percent, over last year’s purses. The increase is due to the expected fall opening of Genting Resorts World Casino New York City with 6.5 percent of the revenue from the Video Lottery Terminals to go to the purse structure for Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.

In addition to the Vinery New York sponsorships, McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, LLC, and Adena Springs, multiple Eclipse Award winner as top breeder, will be the title sponsor for the highlight of the day’s racing, the $200,000, 1 1/8-mile McMahon Adena Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and up.

Rounding out the state-bred stakes action is a pair of races for 2-year-olds, the $100,000 Bertram F. Bongard and, for fillies, the $100,000 Joseph A. Gimma in memory of Fleet Indian, named in honor of 2006’s champion older mare.

Highcliff Farm, Spendthrift, the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and the New York Breeding and Development Fund are also participating in the Stallion Showcase to advertise and promote stallions standing in New York, and the advantages of breeding and racing in the state.

In addition to a day of racing featuring New York-bred thoroughbreds in all divisions, Belmont Park will offer a wine-tasting event in the clubhouse lobby, family activities in the backyard and nearly two dozen New York crafters and food purveyors in the grandstand.

One of New York’s finest vintners, Glenora, will offer a special wine-tasting in the Clubhouse lobby on Saturday. Just a few steps away in the Grandstand lobby near the paddock colonnade, a New York marketplace will feature local food products including cheese, jams and fruit spreads for sampling and purchase, as well as hand-crafted items for sale.

In Belmont Park’s spacious backyard, an Autumn Carnival will feature a scarecrow hunt, a hayride and pumpkin patch, face painting, a pumpkin carver, pony rides and much more. All activities are free for children 12 and under.

On Saturday and Sunday, the clubhouse lobby will feature elegant hats made in the Empire State for purchase, and New York equine artist Celeste Susany will display and sell her work on the second floor of the clubhouse near the Belmont Room.

Also on Showcase Day, NYRA will host its third “New Owners Luncheon” to provide a comprehensive introduction to thoroughbred ownership in an effort to bring new owners to the sport of horse racing. The day-long event will be hosted by former jockey and current NYRA television analyst Richard Migliore and emceed by NYRA consultant and co-host Thomas Gallo.


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