Long before there was New York sports betting, wagers were flying at the state’s horse racing facilities. The sport goes on strong with news out of Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack.
Let’s take a look at what’s in store at Belmont and some financial results at the just-concluded meet at Aqueduct.
Belmont Park Set for Thursday
Nine days before the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Park begins its 44-day spring/summer meet Thursday. It runs through Sunday, July 10.
The Kentucky Derby is set for May 7.
The meet’s stakes action kicks off Friday with the $100,000 Affirmed Success, a 6-furlong sprint for New York-breds 4-years-old and up.
The first graded stakes is on Derby Day, with the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay, as well as the Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester and the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Marcy.
The Belmont meet has 59 stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purses, including 12 Grade 1 contests and seven races with purses of $700,000 or higher. Nine of those Grade 1 races will come during the June 9-11 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.
The Racing Festival will be aired in its entirety by FOX Sports, which has a new, eight-year agreement with the New York Racing Association (NYRA). Fox will broadcast the Belmont Stakes in 2023.
The 154th running of the 1.5-mile Belmont Stakes, the third leg of racing’s Triple Crown, is the highlight of the festival, which will have 17 total stakes races.
Those races again will run without horses trained by Bob Baffert, who is prohibited from any racing activity in the Empire State through at least July 2, as his 90-day suspension by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has been recently upheld in court.
Belmont Stakes Day also will feature three Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers: the one-mile, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap for 3-year-olds and up (Dirt Mile); the $500,000 Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares 4-years-old and up, going 1 1/16 miles on the main track (Distaff); and the $400,000 Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs (Turf Sprint).
The first day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival June 9 has three stakes races. Those include the Grade 2, $200,000 Wonder Again, over nine furlongs on turf for 3-year-old fillies, which offers an automatic invite to the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational to the top-three finishers. Also included are two $150,000 sprints for 2-year-olds at 5.5 furlongs on the main track — the Astoria for fillies and the Tremont.
On June 10, the Grade 1, $750,000 New York, a 10-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares, will headline a day featuring five graded stakes.
Aqueduct Announces Numbers from Spring Meet
The NYRA announced Wednesday an all-sources handle for its 15-day spring meet of $115.75 million, which is a 35.5 percent increase over the 11-day spring meet held last year.
However, that overall handle benefited greatly from the extra four days. The average daily handle was $7,716,672, slightly less than $7,765,368 in 2021.
Those numbers follow a historic meet last year at Saratoga Race Course, which generated an all-sources record wagering handle of $815.5 million, a 15.6% increase over the previous record of $705.3 million set in 2019.