The upcoming 48-day spring/summer meeting at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, will offer the richest overnight purse structure in the history of the New York Racing Association, the organization said Thursday.
Open-company maiden allowance races will feature purse money of $90,000, while first-, second- and third-level allowance races will be worth $92,000, $94,000 and $96,000, respectively. New York maiden special weight races will carry prize money of $75,000, while horses bred in the Empire State will benefit from an $85,000 purse for non-winners of two/ $45,000 claiming and an $80,000 purse for the non-winners of one category. NYRA has also written races for $250,000 claiming, which offer purses of $100,000. Bottom-level, open $10,000 claimers will run for $28,000.
“NYRA is pleased to be able to offer the highest overnight purse levels in the history of Belmont Park,” said Martin Panza, NYRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. “These increases come at an important time in support of horsemen and will drive the industry forward as we emerge from the challenges wrought by COVID-19.”
Referencing the state-bred program, Panza added: “There has never been a better time to race or breed right here in New York state. The New York-bred program continues to thrive, and the purses and incentives that will begin this spring will continue through the summer at Saratoga making an investment in New York-breds all the more enticing.”
Joe Appelbaum, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA), also welcomed the news.
“It's gratifying to see these significant purse increases to the overnight and NY-bred races,” said Appelbaum. “These races are the foundation of the NYRA racing program and the continued investment in them has proven to be successful.”
Unlike the 2020 spring/summer meeting, which was conducted behind closed doors due to COVID-19 protocols, the 2021 meet is likely to be open to a limited number of spectators following a Feb. 10 announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo.