The Belmont Stakes traditionally takes place every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. As the third and final leg in horse racing’s Triple Crown the event is always scheduled five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and two weeks after the Preakness Stakes. While the Belmont Stakes itself is the ‘main event’ of the racing weekend there are several prestigious stakes races contested on the ‘undercard’ every year.
The 2014 Belmont Stakes will take place on Saturday, June 7 with live television coverage of the race itself on NBC. NBC has made a strong commitment to covering horse racing of late so you can expect coverage of many of the events leading up to the Belmont Stakes on NBC Sports (formerly Versus). As always there will be full analysis and pre and post race coverage on the dedicated horse racing networks TVG and HRTV and audio coverage on HRRN (Horse Racing Radio Network). For those looking to attend the race live, gates open at 8:30 AM. In addition to the highly sought after reserved seating Belmont Park admits thousands of fans via general admission on a first come, first served basis.
The stakes races on the Belmont undercard are as follows:
–The Metropolitan Mile: Officially known as ‘The Metropolitan Handicap’, this is a Grade 1 stakes race on dirt for horses three years old and up with a purse of $1.25 million. The ‘Met Mile’ has a long history and was first run at Morris Park in 1891 before moving to Belmont Park in 1904. It’s been run almost every year since with a stint at Aqueduct in the 1960′s. This race has traditionally been held in late May but this year has been moved back a week to bolster the Belmont Stakes undercard. The 2013 race was won by Sahara Sky with jockey Joel Rosario.
–The Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap: Sponsored by the Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery, this race is also held on Belmont’s turf course over a mile and a quarter distance for fillies and mares three years old and up. This race has a purse of $1,000,000 and has traditionally been run immediately before the Belmont Stakes. That will change this year with the move of The Metropolitan Mile to the Belmont Stakes card and the Woodford Reserve will immediately precede that race. The 2013 winner was Point of Entry with jockey John Velasquez.
–The Ogden Phipps Handicap: Another rescheduled race, the Ogden Phipps Handicap has until this year been contested in mid June. The race is a Grade 1 with a purse of $1,000,000 contested over a mile and a half on a dirt track. It is open to fillies and mares four years old and up. Tiz Miz Sue with Joseph Rocco, Jr. won the 2013 race.
–The ‘Just A Game’ Stakes: Named after the top filly of 1980, the Just A Game Stakes is a Grade 1 race held on the turf course over a distance of one mile with a purse of $750,000. The event is open to fillies and mares three years and older. The 2013 race was won by Stephanie’s Kitten with jockey John Velazquez.
–The TVG Acorn: A one mile race on a dirt track for fillies three years old and up, the TVG Acorn is a Grade 1 race with a $750,000 purse. Midnight Lucky with jockey Rosie Napravnik won the 2013 race.
–The Brooklyn Invitational: Known for years as the ‘Brooklyn Handicap’, this race was first run in 1887 at the Gravesend Race Track on Coney Island and called three other tracks home before moving to Belmont Park for good in 1977. It’s a Grade 2 race over a dirt track of a mile and a half for horses four years old and up with a purse of $500,000. Calidoscopio with jockey Aaron Gryder was the 2013 winner.
–The Woody Stephens Stakes: Named for the Hall of Fame trainer, The Woody Stephens Stakes is contested by 3 year olds at a distance of seven furlongs with a purse of $500,000. The 2013 winner was Forty Tales with jockey Joel Rosario.
The main event of the day is the Belmont Stakes itself—it is a Grade 1 race over a mile and a half distance on a dirt track for three year old fillies and mares with a purse of $1,500,000. The live coverage of the event on NBC begins at 5:00 PM though the actual post time varies. The defending Belmont Stakes champion is Palace Malice who won the race for trainer Todd Pletcher with jockey Mike Smith aboard.
The Belmont Stakes day racing card is scheduled to get underway at 11:35 AM Eastern with a total of nine stakes races on the card. The tentative post time for the Belmont Stakes is 6:52 PM Eastern.