Following the conclusion of the 2019 meet at Saratoga, live racing has returned to Belmont Park for the 37-day fall meet offering 45 stakes worth $11.525 million in purses and a whopping eight Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers held over two weekends.
On Saturday, September 7, the inaugural running of the $1 million Jockey Club Derby, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race offering a berth in the Longines Turf, which will complete the Turf Trinity. The card will also include the inaugural $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks to conclude the Turf Tiara. Additionally, the card will feature the first running of the $300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/2 miles over the Belmont Park main track, nicknamed “Big Sandy.”
NBC will present live coverage and analysis of the Jockey Club Oaks and Jockey Club Derby as part of a nationwide broadcast from 4:30 – 6:00 PM EST.
Take a look at the three stakes races at Belmont Park today:
Race 8: $300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational, 4YO+, 1 ½ miles
Todd Pletcher’s Marconi (2/1) will make his return to Belmont Park where he has two wins from three starts, and is looking to improve off his last effort.
“He’s seemed to have found his groove in these types of races,” said Pletcher. “He’s training well and has run well at Belmont, so we’ll give him a shot to rebound coming out of the Birdstone.”
TOP PICK: #7 Marconi (2/1)
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Race 9: $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational, 3YO Fillies, 1 3/8 miles
Three European sophomore fillies have shipped in here, where we have no Concrete Rose in the field. While we like a few of these Euro shippers, Dyna Passer (12/1) could offer some major value in the race. Trained by Tom Albertrani, Dyna Passer skipped the Saratoga Oaks and instead ran Dyna Passer in an optional claimer at the Jockey Club Oaks distance on July 28 at Saratoga, where she ran third.
“She’s doing well heading into the race and is coming off a little easier spot last time. This will be more challenging, but I think she’s up to it,” Albertrani said. “The purpose of skipping the one in Saratoga and coming here, hopefully we have a fresher horse. I’m pretty confident. She ran pretty well against Concrete Rose in the first leg of the Tiara, so hopefully we get a good, solid trip, and a good run from her.
“With the fillies coming from Europe, they look pretty competitive,” Albertrani said. “I’m not sure of what they’ve been running up against, but I have a lot of confidence in my filly with just the fact she ran well going up against Concrete Rose. She was beaten five lengths that day [5 ¾] and I felt she could have been even closer. That day, we were taken further back than we wanted to be and there was no pace. I’m just hoping for a little bit of a better run this weekend.”
TOP PICK: #1 Edisa (5/2)
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Race 10: $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational, 3YO, 1 ½ miles
Trainer Mike Maker will be well represented in Saturday’s closing leg of the Turf Trinity, the $1 million Jockey Club Derby Invitational, when he saddles Henley’s Joy (5/1) for Bloom Racing Stable and Kadar (15/1) for Phoenix Thoroughbreds.
Henley’s Joy captured the first leg of the Turf Trinity, the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) on July 6, but finished a disappointing fifth in the second leg, the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 4.
“They each came back out of that race in good order,” said Maker. “Henley’s Joy kind of had a rough trip in there having to travel wide and Kadar’s chances were compromised at the start. Each of them has been training well since then.”
Henley’s Joy and the Chad Brown-trained Digital Age (5/2) are the only two horses that will have entered all three legs of the series.
The Jockey Club Derby Invitational field from the rail out: A Thread of Blue (4/1), Current (15/1), Henley’s Joy, Pedro Cara (12/1), San Huberto (10/1), Tone Broke (10/1), Kadar, Digital Age, and Spanish Mission (3/1).
TOP PICK: #8 Digital Age (5/2)
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