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NYRA sets schedule for Belmont Stakes festival at Saratoga

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The New York Racing Association said the 2024 Belmont Stakes racing festival, which will be held at Saratoga from Thursday, June 6, through Sunday, June 9, will include 23 stakes races with purses totaling $10.1 million.

These are the highest purse levels and number of stakes offered since the launch of the multi-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in 2014.

NYRA has increased the purse of the Belmont Stakes from $1.5 million to $2 million in 2024, which is the first significant increase since 2014. The 2024 Belmont Stakes will be contested at 1 1/4 miles in 2024 rather than the traditional 1 1/2 miles because of the configuration of Saratoga’s main track.

In addition, NYRA has increased the purse of the Grade 1 Manhattan from $750,000 to $1 million and boosted the New York (G1) from $600,000 to $750,000. As a result, the total purses offered at the 2024 Belmont Stakes racing festival will exceed $10 million for the first time.

NYRA has also boosted the purse of the Poker (G3) from $200,000 to $350,000 and added $100,000 to the purses of the Woody Stephens (G1), the Jaipur (G1) and the True North (G2). Accordingly, the Woody Stephens and Jaipur will offer a purse of $500,000, with the True North rising to $350,000.

Differences between the circumference of Saratoga and Belmont Park will require slight distance adjustments to a number of races scheduled for the 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. On the main track, four races previously run at a one-turn 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Acorn (G1), Ogden Phipps (G1), Commentator and Critical Eye, will be run at 1 1/8 miles around two turns.

On the turf, the Manhattan and New York will be contested at 1 3/16 miles rather than the customary 10 furlongs. The Jaipur and Intercontinental (G2), which saw un upgrade from Grade 3 status last year, will each be run at 5 1/2 furlongs rather than the customary six furlongs.

The festival opens with four stakes on Thursday, June 6, led by the Belmont Gold Cup (G2) for older horses traveling two miles on the turf. The June 6 program will include the listed Jersey Girl for sophomore fillies sprinting six furlongs; the listed Tremont for juveniles sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs and the Astoria at 5 1/2 furlongs for juvenile fillies.

Friday, June 7, will feature three Grade 1 events among four stakes topped by the New York for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up; the Acorn for sophomore fillies and the $500,000 Just a Game at one mile on the turf for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up. The Intercontinental for older fillies and mares rounds out the stakes action on the second day of the Belmont Stakes racing festival.

The program for Belmont Stakes day at Saratoga on Saturday, June 8, includes six Grade 1 events among nine stakes races in total, culminating with the Belmont Stakes and featuring three Breeders’ Cup win-and-you’re-in qualifiers: the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) for 3-year-olds and up going one mile (qualifier for the Dirt Mile); the Ogden Phipps for older fillies and mares (Distaff); and the Jaipur for 3-year-olds and up (Turf Sprint). In addition, the Grade 1 races on Belmont Stakes day will include the $Manhattan for older horses, and the seven-furlong Woody Stephens for sophomores.

Belmont Stakes day at Saratoga will be bolstered by the True North for older horses sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs; the Poker for older horses at one mile on the turf and the Suburban (G2) for older horses at 10 furlongs.

The Belmont Stakes racing festival at Saratoga will conclude on Sunday, June 9, when New York-breds take center stage for a New York showcase day featuring six stakes exclusively for New York-breds.

The curtain drops on the festival with a quartet of $125,000 events: the Kingston at 1 1/16 miles on turf for older horses, the Mount Vernon at one-mile on turf for older fillies and mares, the seven-furlong Mike Lee for sophomores and the seven-furlong Bouwerie for sophomore fillies. The day’s feature races are a pair of $200,000 stakes contested at nine furlongs on the main track in the Commentator for 3-year-olds and up and the Critical Eye for fillies and mares 3 years olds and up.

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