Racing traditionalists will remember that, not too long ago, the excitement of the Saratoga meet gave way to the excitement of what was known as the Belmont Fall Championship meet. Stakes races like the Woodward (now held at Saratoga) and the Jockey Club Gold Cup headlined a two-month meeting at Belmont Park that often decided end-of-year Eclipse Awards.
Part of that fall meeting, and often as anticipated as the Grade 1 races, was New York Showcase Day.
A day of stakes races for New York-bred horses, held towards the end of the meet in late October, it embodied autumn, with beautiful Belmont Park festooned in the crimson and yellow of turning leaves, vendors selling apples from New York’s newly-ripe crop, and shadows appearing in the afternoon as fall sunlight faded.
Before the New York Racing Association (NYRA), which runs Belmont Park along with Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course, stacked its fall stakes races onto two big days, when each weekend featured a prestigious stakes race or two, the day of the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup was the highlight of the meeting and perennially topped handle figures. But, coming in second in terms of money wagered, also perennially, was New York Showcase Day.
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