The Belmont at the Big A Fall Meet will offer 40 added-money events worth nearly $8.8 million, officials from the New York Racing Association announced Saturday.
Due to ongoing capital improvements at Belmont Park, the fall meeting will be staged for the second straight season at Aqueduct from Thursday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 29, and will feature three Grade I events and a half-dozen 'Win and You're In' qualifiers in a variety of Breeders' Cup divisions.
The GIII Fasig-Tipton Jockey Club Oaks over 11 furlongs on turf, the final leg of the Fasig-Tipton Fillies Turf Triple, kicks off the stakes action Saturday, Sept. 16, and the program scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30 will feature four graded events, highlighted by the $500,000 GI Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at a mile and four panels on the grass. That card also includes the GII Woodward S., the GII Gallant Bloom S. and the GII Vosburgh S., offering the winner a spot in the field for the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint. An additional pair of qualifiers are set for Sunday, Oct. 1, both for the juvenile set at 8 1/2 furlongs on turf, the GII Miss Grillo S. for fillies and the GII Pilgrim S. for the boys.
The 'Win and You're In' action continues Saturday, Oct. 7, with the running of the $500,000 GI Champagne S., a Breeders' Cup Juvenile prep, and the filly counterpart, the $400,000 GI Frizette S. The card also includes the GIII Belmont Turf Sprint, the GIII Fasig-Tipton Waya S. and the GIII Jockey Club Derby, shortened from a mile and a half to a mile and three-eighths. The Sunday, Oct. 8, program features the last of the Breeders' Cup qualifiers, the GIII Futurity S., a feeder into the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, as well as the GII Beldame S. and the GIII Matron S.
The one-mile GII Kelso S. has been renamed the Forty Niner S. and will offer the top three finishers all-expenses paid berths into the GI Cigar Mile H. during the Aqueduct fall meeting. The Oct. 28 card also includes the GII Mother Goose S., previously held during the spring/summer meet at Belmont, the Listed Awad S. and the Listed Pumpkin Pie S.
The Belmont at the Big A meeting concludes with Empire Showcase Day, the richest events of which are the Empire Classic and Empire Distaff, each worth $250,000.