Three graded stakes races on Belmont Park’s Derby Day card
By New York Hot List Staff
While the Triple Crown begins at Churchill Downs on Saturday, there are three graded stakes as part of a 12-race card at Belmont Park. The Sheepshead Bay (G2) and the Fort Marcy (G3) provide turf racing for the older females and males. The Westchester (G3) is a one-turn mile and is the featured race.
Post time for the special 12-race card at Belmont Park is 12:00pm ET.
The three-time graded stakes winner Holy Helena will defend her win in last year’s $200,000 Sheepshead Bay, which will be run as race 4 over the inner turf course at Belmont Park. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee has career earnings that currently stand at $1,175,578.
With a chance of rain this weekend, Jerkens is concerned because Holy Helena prefers to run on firm turf.
“She doesn’t seem to be as effective over the boggy going and we’re not getting the greatest forecast in the world but maybe we’ll get lucky,” Jerkens said. “I think she’ll do some more good things this year. I like how she’s done since she came back from Florida. We’re hoping for a nice trip and as long as the turf isn’t too soft you should see her usual self.”
As is often the case, Chad Brown sends more than one talented grass runner to the stakes races and the $150,000 Fort Marcy which will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf is no different.
Robert Bruce makes his 2019 debut since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) last November. He made his North American debut by winning last year’s edition of the Fort Marcy before going on to win the Grade 1 Arlington Million at Arlington Park.
Brown sends out a pair of runners in Olympico and Arrocha who will make their North American debuts. The French-bred Olympico raced in France where she had three victories and three second-place. Arrocha, who is a Brazilian-bred, won multiple Group 1 races in South America.
The $200,000 Westchester drew eight horses who would like to make it to the Met Mile (G1), which will be run as part of the Belmont Stakes Day undercard on June 8.
Prince Lucky is listed as the 4-5 morning line favorite based on his three consecutive wins in stakes races which include two graded stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Todd Pletcher runner earned triple digit Beyer Speed Figures in both of those Florida scores.
“He’s shipped up here in good form. Watching his races at Gulfstream this winter, he’s really established himself,” said Pletcher assistant Byron Hughes. “He’s shown good energy since he’s been up here and we look forward to him running a big race.
The Fort Marcy and the Westchester are part of the Cross-Country Pick 5 which this weekend includes races from Woodbine and Oaklawn Park.
Leg A: Belmont – Race 9 (4:20 pm ET)
Leg B: Woodbine – Grade 3, $125,000 Jacques Cartier (Race 8, 4:40 pm)
Leg C: Belmont – Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy (Race 10, 4:56 pm)
Leg D: Belmont – Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester (Race 11, 5:40 pm)
Leg E: Oaklawn – $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational (Race 11, 6:38 pm)