It is still two weeks until the Breeders’ Cup Championships but there is plenty of great thoroughbred and harness racing to wager and to view in person this weekend.
On Saturday October 22nd, Belmont Park hosts their annual “Empire Showcase Day”, a series of 8 state-bred stakes with $1.7 million in purse monies up for grabs. Nearby Laurel Park hosts their annual Maryland Million Day, where 9 state-bred stakes are on tap and $1 million in purses on the line. Keeneland continues their prestigious fall meet and the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (Gr. 2) for 3 year old fillies highlights Saturday action.
The International Gold Cup card at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia, takes place Saturday too with 10 pari-mutuel races — 6 steeplechase and 4 flat ones. The setting is spectacular and the crowd will number 30,000-plus. Featured stakes are the $90,000 International Gold Cup Timber Stakes and the $75,000 Zeke Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2). Ticket info is at vagoldcup.com. Great Meadow is located north of Warrenton and is easily accessible.
Between races this Friday and Saturday, 50 Virginia-bred thoroughbred horses will compete in races around the country. Three will battle in the Maryland Million card at Laurel including Magician’s Vanity (bred by Larry Johnson), Titan Alexander (bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III) and Complete St. (bred by Mede Cahaba Stable & Stud LLC). Check out the website vabred.org for a recap on all the action.
For harness fans, The Meadowlands kicks off their 40th anniversary season with 4 Breeders’ Crown elimination races Friday night and 14 on Saturday! The $6 Million Crown Championships will be contested the following weekend. And on Friday, the fastest standardbred ever — Always B Miki, based on a sizzling 146.0 mile at the Red Mile a couple weeks back — will compete at The Big M in a $25,000 Open Pace in preparation for next week’s “Crown”.
Virginia residents can wager all the action on line at TVG.com, XPressBet.com and TwinSpires.com. Take advantage of the great bonus offers from all three companies this time of year, especially if you are a new customer. With Breeders’ Cup races just around the corner, there are offers galore!
And, the first Off Track Betting Center will open in Richmond in time for the Breeders’ Cup! Check out details at virginiahorseracing.com.