Race 1 is a $90,000 allowance race for three-year-olds and upward. Some noticeable names are Nigel’s Destiny, who is a Giant’s Causeway gelding who is out of Ticket to Seattle, who is a half to Tizway. There is also Battle Midway, who is a half to Cool Coal Man, a graded stakes runner on his day before going off to stud. There is also Thebigfundemental, a 1/2 to Hightail, the winner of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint.
Race 2 is the Listed Easy Goer Stakes. The race brings us Tale of Silence, a full sibling to Tale of Ekati (Tale of the Cat o/o Silence Beauty, by Sunday Silence). There is also West Coast, who was second in the Lexington Stakes and won last time out easily. West Coast is a 1/2 to Gold Hawk and Juan and Bina. Additionally, he is out of Caressing, the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and Eclipse Award winning 2YO Filly that year. In the same race is Perro Rojo, a Birdstone half to Hardest Core, winner of the Arlington Million a few years back.
Race 3 is the Brooklyn Handicap, who is missing some star quality horses, but brings us War Story, who dances every dance. The horse is a half to top racehorse Draw Two. There are others in the race like Governor Malibu and Sunny Ridge.
Race 4 starts the Grade One action with the Acorn Stakes. In this race, there are horses like Union Strike, a grade one winning juvenile by Union Rags who is also half to Handsome Mike. The race also features Florida Fabulous, a 1/2 to Discreet Dancer, a Graded Stakes winner and Travelin Man, another Graded Stakes winner. Other runners include Abel Tasman, the 2017 Kentucky Oaks winner and Sweet Loretta, a top daughter of champion sire Tapit.
Race 5 is the Grade One Ogden Phipps Stakes, which is highlighted as one of the most anticipated races of the day. This race features not only Verve’s Tale, a full sister to Tale of Verve, but the return of Songbird, the champion racehorse of 2015 and 2016, who’s only lost came to Beholder by a nostril in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The race also features graded stakes winners Carina Mia, Paid Up Subscriber, and Highway Star.
Relive the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and the battle between two great racehorses, Beholder and Songbird.
In Race 6, some of the top turf sprinters line up in the Grade Three Jaipur Invitational. The top runners here include Undrafted, a seven-year-old gelding trained by Wesley Ward who targeted this race over sending the globetrotting horse to Royal Ascot. There is also Pure Sensation and Green Mask.
Race 7 is the Grade One Woody Stevens, which features some of the very best young sprinters in the country. There is Recruiting Ready, who puts his winning streak on the line. he most recently won the Listed Chick Lang Stakes on the Preakness undercard. There is also former Triple Crown contender American Anthem, who won his last start in the Lazaro Barrera (Gr. III) after faltering in both the Rebel Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Ron Moquette sends out Petrov, who was a player on the Triple Crown trail for a while. His only win came in his maiden at six furlongs on the dirt. Petrov did place in three straight stakes races before faltering in the Arkansas Derby. With a return to one turn, he is dangerous. Finally, there is Wild Shot, who won the Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
American Anthem returned to sprinting and won the Grade Three Lazaro Barrera impressively.
Race 8 is the Grade One Just a Game, which is lacking the star quality of Lady Eli but instead hosts top turf mares like Dickinson, who won the Grade One Jenny Wiley last out over Lady Eli. There is also Celestine, who is in on a two-race winning streak, winning both the Grade Three Honey Fox Stakes and the listed Sand Springs Stakes. The Scat Daddy mare also won this race last year and looking to repeat. The last horse to win back to back Just a Game’s was Caress in 1995-1996. There is Roca Rojo (IRE), who is coming in off a win in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile.
Race 9 is the Grade One Metropolitan Handicap, more commonly known at the Met Mile. This year, there are an array of potential top horses and winners. There is Inside Straight, who is a full to Conquest Superstep, a stakes placed mare by Super Saver. There is also the Uncle Mo colt Rally Cry, who is a half to multiple graded stakes placed Alienation. Sharp Azteca is back in the states after a third place finish to Second Summer in the Godolphin Mile. Mohaymen, a 1/2 to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, and a $2.2 million yearling. The son of Tapit is coming in off 4th in the Westchester Stakes behind Connect. This is his second race off the layoff, a common betting angle. The Met Mile also has Economic Model, a 1/2 to Well Monied, a grade three winner and grade one placed daughter of Maria’s Mon. Mor Spirit is the morning line favorite for the race. The four-year-old is proving he is getting better with age, winning two of his three starts this year.
Sharp Azteca finished third in the Godolphin Mile last out.
Race 10 is the Grade One Manhattan, contested at ten furlongs (1-1/4 miles) on the turf. The favorite is Northern Afleet gelding World Approval, a 1/2 to multiple graded stakes winner Za Approval (Ghostzapper), Revved Up (multiple graded stakes winner on the turf), and Miesque’s Approval, winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Mile and 2006 Champion Grass Horse. The race also features Ascend, a 1/2 to Moro Tap, a multiple graded stakes places son of Tapit. There is also graded stakes winners Beach Patrol, Time Test, Sadler’s Joy, and Divisidero.
Race 11 is the feature race of the day, the Belmont Stakes. The third leg of the Triple Crown boasts neither a Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes winner, as Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing both are skipping and aiming for Saratoga this summer. Instead, this race features J Boys Echo, a 1/2 to Unbridled Outlaw. J Boys Echo finished 15th in the Kentucky Derby, a spot in which he earned with a win in the Gotham Stakes. There is also the Curlin colt Irish War Cry. Irish War Cry was 10th in the Kentucky Derby after winning the Holy Bull and the Wood Memorial. He has the pedigree and a favorable running style for the race. Curlin also has already sired a Belmont Stakes winner in Palace Malice (2013 Belmont Stakes). Meantime, second in the Peter Pan Stakes, is a half to Sweet Reason, a three-time Grade One winning sprinter for stallion Street Sense. There is also the fan favorite, Patch, a one-eyed son of Union Rags. Patch is also a 1/2 to Tie Windy, a graded stakes winner by Tiznow.
Irish War Cry won the Wood Memorial in impressive style before finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby.
The Belmont Stakes does not end the day, however. In Race 12, there is Mutazen, a full sibling to multiple graded stakes placed runner Wynning Ride. There is also Revved Up, a Candy Ride colt out of Storm Flag Flying, a Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies 2002) winner and champion daughter of My Flag. My Flag was also a Breeders’ Cup winner (1995 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies), and a daughter of the undefeated Personal Ensign, a Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner in 1988 (over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors). There is also Manitoulin, an Awesome Again 1/2 to stakes winner Much Rejoicing. Manitoulin is out of the 1999 Champion Grass Mare, Soaring Softly. There is also Hockey School, who is a 1/2 to multiple graded stakes winning turf mare Coffee Clique.
Race 13, the final race of the day, features Pulling G’s, a Curlin colt who is half to Seductively, a multiple graded stakes winner by Thunder Gulch, and Prophetically, a stakes placed daughter of Pulpit. There is also Doctor Mounty, a 1/2 to Dabster, a $1 million two-year-old by Curlin, and Free Money, a stakes placed daughter of Street Sense.