New York Racing Association’s Turf Triple Series Starts Saturday with Strong Fields at Belmont Park

Posted on: July 5, 2019, 09:22h. 

Last updated on: July 5, 2019, 09:22h.

Saturday marks the debut of a new racing series by the New York Racing Association that’s designed to showcase the world’s best 3-year-old colts and fillies who run on the grass.

Digital Age, front left, enters Saturday’s Belmont Derby as the morning line favorite. He last raced in May at Churchill Downs, where he rallied to win the Grade II American Turf Stakes. (Image: Churchill Downs)

The Turf Triple Series starts at Belmont Park with the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational for colts and the Grade I Belmont Oaks for fillies. Over the course of the next two months, three $1 million stakes races – called the Turf Trinity – will be run for colts, and three $750,000 stakes races – called the Turf Tiara – will be held for fillies.

The races will take place at Belmont and Saratoga Race Course.

When the NYRA announced the event in February, Martin Panza, the association’s senior vice president for racing operations, said the goal was to provide a racing series for turf horses similar to the Triple Crown. It also will provide an opportunity for international horses to compete against their American counterparts.

As American racing moves more towards the turf, both series of races should enhance the value of turf stallions, mares and quality turf runners. If this helps farms, breeders, sales companies and owners, while at the same time providing an exciting new racing event for race fans to follow, then our efforts will be well rewarded,” Panza said in February.

Saturday’s races will air NBC beginning at 4 pm ET. Post time for the Belmont Oaks is 4:30 pm, with Belmont Derby slated for 5:44 pm.

Derby Preview

Going a mile-and-a-quarter, the Belmont Derby has attracted three horses among its 14 entries that ran in the Kentucky Derby: Plus Que Parfait, Master Fencer, and Spinoff. However, the favorite is a horse that ran in one of the undercard races at Churchill Downs back in May.

Irish-bred Digital Age has won all three of his races. Under Irad Ortiz Jr., Digital Age came from behind, rallying from fifth place at the top of the stretch to win the Grade II American Turf Stakes in Louisville.

Digital Age, one of four Chad Brown-trained entries, is the morning line favorite at 9-2 and will come from the 13th gate. Seismic Wave, trained by Bill Mott and coming off a second-place result in last month’s Grade III Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont is the 5-1 second choice and starts from the third gate.

Demarchelier, another Brown entry, has won all three of his races, including edging Seismic Wave by a neck in the Pennine Ridge. The British-bred colt will run from the 12th gate and has 6-1 morning line odds.

Oaks Preview

Ortiz and Brown also are teaming up for the favorite in the mile-and-a-quarter Oaks with another Irish-bred horse.

Newspaperofrecord has finished second in both of her races this year, including a loss to Cambier Parc in the June 6 Grade III Wonder Again Stakes at Belmont. Newspaperofrecord, who won all three of her races last year, went off as the substantial favorite, with less than 1-5 odds in that race. On Saturday, she’ll start at 5-2 and start from the second gate.

Starting from the fourth gate, Concrete Rose is the second choice at 3-1. The George Arnold-trained filly is coming off a win in May’s Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs, where she beat Newspaperofrecord by three-and-three-quarter lengths.

Cambier Parc, also trained by Brown, is the third choice at 4-1 and will start from the outside gate in the nine-horse race.