Belmont Park Spring/Summer Meet Opens On Thursday

The 48-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet, which will feature 59 total stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purses, kicks off in Elmont, N.Y., on Thursday with an eight-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.

The spring/summer meet, which runs through Sunday, July 11, will offer 11 Grade 1 events and seven races with purses of $700,000 or higher, with four of those contests coming during the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival from Thursday, June 3, through Saturday, June 5. The festival will encompass 17 total stakes, including eight Grade 1s on Belmont Stakes Day, capped by the $1.5 million “Test of the Champion” for 3-year-olds in the 1 ½-mile final leg of the Triple Crown.

Tickets for the 2021 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival are not yet on sale to the public. Additional information and the timing of the general on-sale will be released in the coming weeks.

Thursday’s meet opener at Belmont includes five turf races and an array of talent on tap, including the seasonal debut of Charles Fipke’s Grade 1-placed Pleasant Orb in Race 7, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

The Kentucky homebred is by Orb and out of the Grade 1-winning Seeking the Gold mare Pleasant Home, who romped to victory in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Belmont.

Pleasant Orb, initially trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, joined Barclay Tagg’s barn last year and won in her second start for the veteran conditioner in a one-mile maiden special weight on March 22 at Gulfstream Park. Following an even third in the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Wildcat in May at Gulfstream, Pleasant Orb shipped to New York and completed the exacta behind Gamine in the Grade 1 Acorn, a one-turn mile on Belmont Stakes Day last June.

“She’s doing pretty well,” said Tagg. “She was laid up for a while and we have her fit again now. This is the first race we found that we thought would suit her. We’ll get a short race into her and see where we go from there.”

Pleasant Orb has trained into her 4-year-old debut at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, including a five-eighths effort in 1:04.20 on April 9.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will pilot Pleasant Orb from the inside post.

To collect the win, Pleasant Orb will have to topple a field of five rivals led by impressive maiden winner Aunt Kat, six-time winner Ruvies in Time and the improving Whispering Pines.

Carl Pollard’s Aunt Kat, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, earned a career-best 95 Beyer in her 9 3/4-length maiden score traveling 6 1/2-furlongs on March 13 at the Big A. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly is out of the multiple graded-stakes winning Forestry mare Carolyn’s Cat.

Junior Alvarado will guide Aunt Kat from post 2.

Ruvies in Time, trained and co-owned by Rich Schosberg with Clear Stars Stable, was a four-length winner of the six-furlong Videogenic on New York Claiming Championship Day on March 27 at the Big A. Bred in New York by Mashnee Stables and Steve Schuster, Ruvies in Time is by The Factor and out of the Tapit mare Hollywood Redhead.

Manny Franco retains the mount on Ruvies in Time from post 5.

Whispering Pines enters from a good third in the Conniver, a seven-furlong sprint for Maryland-breds on March 13 at Laurel Park. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly, previously trained by Brian Lynch, will be making her first start for conditioner Horacio DePaz.

“She’s a Maryland-bred and she was very competitive in that stakes race, so we thought we’d bring her up here to New York for the early part of the meet,” said DePaz. “She’s versatile so I think the distance will be OK.

“There’s some very nice fillies in there, so we’ll see how she handles everything,” he added. “Hopefully she can hit the board and continue to develop. She was very competitive in that stakes race in Maryland considering she still has all her conditions left.”

Whispering Pines, who boasts a record 6-1-0-2, will exit post 3 under Jose Ortiz.

Rounding out the field are Saratoga Affair [Irad Ortiz, Jr., post 4], and She’s a Black Belt [Trevor McCarthy, post 6].

The post Belmont Park Spring/Summer Meet Opens On Thursday appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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