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Breeders' Cup 2017

Purse Hike for Juvenile Races at Belmont

Purses for all 2-year-old maiden special weight races during the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, whether they are open to all comers or are restricted to New York-breds, have been increased to $60,000, The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has announced.


In addition, the Belmont Park spring/summer meet will include the Grade 2, $150,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds and the Grade 2, $150,000 Matron for 2-year-old fillies, which will be contested July 3. The races were previously held in the fall and return to the stakes schedule after a one-year hiatus in 2010.


The spring/summer meet has attracted several top training outfits from outside the state as David Fawkes, Bob Hess, Jr., Dale Romans, and Wesley Ward will have strings in New York, with the strong 2-year-old purse structure and revamped stakes schedule playing prominent roles in their decision to compete in the Empire State.

Belmont’s spring/summer meet runs 56 live racing days from Friday, April 29 – Sunday, July 17. The 143rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, the third jewel in racing’s Triple Crown, will take place on Saturday, June 11.

Bob Hess, Jr.: “My first horses will be arriving next Wednesday and we will have 22 there by the end of the week. A combination of factors led to the decision [to send horses to New York]: the purse structure should get better once the slots take effect, New York has always had top-class racing, and our primary client, Amanda Pope, wants her base to be at Belmont Park. The purses will allow us to develop horses at their own schedule as there should be a lot of opportunities to run as the races fill.”


Kiaran McLaughlin: “I agree with what the racing office and [NYRA VP and Director of Racing] PJ [Campo] are trying to do. We need 2-year-old races to fill and to fill earlier. We want to have winners to turn into allowance horses and into stakes horses. Of course, we will only run our horses if they are ready, but the extra money should give horsemen in the tri-state area extra incentive to run.”


Todd Pletcher: “I think it’s tremendous and I am very pleased about the effort to bring the Belmont 2-year-old program back to where it used to be. In addition to having the Matron and Futurity as part of the stakes calendar, the maiden purses should be a big boost to the 2-year-old program. I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating for an owner or a trainer than to have a horse ready to run and have a race not fill, and hopefully the extra purse money will provide horsemen with additional opportunities to race their 2-year-olds.”


Dale Romans: “I’ve always had horses in New York in the summer and fall, and it seems like it’s time to run there more as the slots are about to come online. I have 30 stalls and I’ll be putting together my program this week. I hope the purses motivate ,people to run. They always get going at Saratoga, and they may motivate some people to run their 2-year-olds at Belmont.”


Rick Violette, Jr. (also president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association): “I’m for anything that jump starts the 2-year-old program. Anything we can do to attract 2-year-olds is worth trying. This year’s 2-year-olds are next year’s stars. A strong 2-year-old program leads to a strong 3-year-old program. [The extra money] should help attract people from out of state as it makes it a lucrative program leading into the graded stakes in July and into Saratoga.”


Wesley Ward: “I plan on bringing horses to Belmont sometime after the Kentucky Derby, and I’m really looking forward to it. The purse structure is outstanding. It should inspire stiff competition and provide some good betting races for the fans.”



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