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Thoroughbreds Back to Belmont for Fall Stakes

Marquee Cards Highlight Championship Meet

With TVG Super Saturday on Sept. 27 serving as the centerpiece of an enhanced stakes schedule worth $11 million, Belmont Park’s fall championship meet will open tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 5, and run for 38 days through Oct. 26, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced.

After calling races at NYRA tracks for 24 years, announcer Tom Durkin called it a career following the 10th race at Saratoga on Sunday, Aug. 31. New York City racing fans can salute Durkin during an appearance at Belmont Park on “Super Saturday,” Sept. 27, which will feature six graded stakes races.

In addition to six graded stakes, TVG Super Saturday will feature a Tom Durkin bobblehead giveaway and autograph signing by the legendary and now-retired track announcer, a food truck festival and a Family Fun Day filled with activities for fans young and old.

On track, TVG Super Saturday will feature six graded stakes, including five Grade 1 races, headed by the 96th edition of the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on the main track. Also on the day are the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the $600,000 Flower Bowl for turf fillies and mares, the $400,000 Beldame Stakes for fillies and mares, the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes for sprinters and the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap.

The Vosburgh, the Flower Bowl, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational are all Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” events, with the winners earning a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.

Juveniles will take center stage at Belmont on Saturday, Oct. 4, with the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes serving as “Win and You’re In” springboards to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies.

Belmont Park will also play host to Oktoberfest on Oct. 4, featuring a beer and chili festival.

The always-popular New York Showcase Day returns on Saturday, Oct. 18, with a celebration of all things New York, including a pumpkin patch, food, arts and crafts vendors in the grandstand and eight stakes races restricted to New Yorkbreds, with purses totaling $1.75 million.

Opening weekend features four stakes beginning tomorrow with the first edition of the $100,000 Left Bank Stakes at a mile on the dirt and continuing with the $100,000 Yankee Affair at 1 1/2 miles on the Widener Turf Course on Saturday.

Sunday, Sept. 7, will feature a pair of stakes in the $100,000 Sky Beauty for fillies and mares and the $100,000 Real Courage at seven furlongs on the Widener turf.

Graded stakes action begins on Saturday, Sept. 13 with a pair of turf races for fillies and mares-the Grade 2, $500,000 Sands Point Stakes at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-old fillies and the Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel Stakes at a mile for older fillies and mares.

With live racing generally conducted Wednesdays through Sundays, first post is at 1:05 p.m. in September, and 12:50 p.m. beginning Wednesday, Oct. 1.

For information on the Belmont Park fall meet, visit www.nyra.com.

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