The Lineup: Thinking Belmont Stakes Heading Into Memorial Day Weekend of Racing

By Richard Rosenblatt

Belmont Park will be bustin’ out in June with a blockbuster racing card on Belmont Stakes day featuring eight Grade 1’s, including three with automatic Breeders’ Cup berths, and the 153rd running of the final leg of the Triple Crown.

The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 5 will be televised by NBC Sports beginning at 3 p.m. (ET) on NBCSN before shifting to NBC from 5-7 p.m. There will also be live coverage by “America’s Day at the Races” on Fox Sports as well as live coverage by TVG.

Post time for the 1 ½-mile Belmont is listed as 6:49 p.m.

According to NYRA, about 11,000 fans are expected to attend the Belmont Stakes. Social distancing is mandatory, and spectators must be vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19.

Essential Quality Blue Grass 2021

Essential Quality – Photo Courtesy of Keeneland / Coady Photography

Prior to the Belmont, which is shaping up as a 10-horse field with Essential Quality the likely favorite over Preakness (G1) winner Rombauer, there’s quite a collection of stellar races for your betting pleasure.

Among them: the $1 million Metropolitan Handicap with 2020 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) Knicks Go a probable; the $750,000 Manhattan on turf with two-time Grade 1 winner Domestic Spending a probable; the $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-olds fillies; the $500,000 Ogden Phipps; the $400,000 Woody Stephens for 3-year-olds; and two other turf races, the $500,000 Just a Game and the $400,000 Jaipur. The Met Mile, Jaipur and Ogden Phipps are BC “Win and You’re In” races.

But enough about the Belmont.

We’ve got a holiday weekend of races to consider with live racing from Belmont, Churchill Downs and around the country on FS2 from 12:30-6 p.m. Sunday’s FS2 coverage is 4-4:30 p.m.; and Monday FS1 runs from 12:30-8:30 p.m.

Here’s the lineup of stakes on Saturday


$200,000 Pennine Ridge (G2)

Post time: 5:12 p.m. (race 9)

Hard Love is the 9-5 favorite in a nine-horse field of 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.


$125,000 Matt Winn (G3)

Post time: 4:55 p.m. (race 9)

O Besos, fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), is the 2-1 favorite in a field of eight 3-year-olds going 1/16 miles. Helium, eighth in the Derby, is 5-2 along with Fulsome.

$125,000 Regret (G3)

Post time: 4:22 p.m. (race 8)

Spanish Loveaffair, trained by Mark Casse, is the 5-2 favorite in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Weather report for Saturday (May 29):

At Belmont Park: Looks like a rainy day with temperatures in the mid-50s and a 70% chance of rain early afternoon dropping to 40% later in the day. Winds could be in the 20-mph range.

At Churchill Downs: A 30-40% chance of rain with temperatures in the mid-50s.

(All times are ET)

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