Tracks around the country are gearing up for a potentially historic day's racing on Saturday, in honor of I'll Have Another's Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero's home track, Hollywood Park, will offer a shot glass giveaway Saturday -- one pair per paid admission while supplies last -- as well as free posters featuring I'll Have Another, also as supplies last.
Additionally, Hollywood will stage a Belmont Dream Contest. Fans on track can enter a free drawing to win a $1,000 win wager on the Belmont participant of their choice.
Hollywood has an early post time of 11 a.m. (PDT) Saturday. Track gates will open at 8 a.m. The first simulcast from Belmont Park is scheduled for 8:35 a.m.
I'll Have Another broke his maiden in his debut over Cushion Track last July 3. The son of Flower Alley is owned by J. Paul Reddam, the sponsor of the CashCall Futurity, a Grade 1 fixture on Hollywood's autumn calendar, and conditioned by Doug O'Neill, a winner of 10 local training titles.
Calder has a stakes-filled day of live racing featuring a quartet of important prep races for its Summit of Speed program, but the Miami track is also getting in the Belmont spirit. The track will offer its guests a full afternoon of dining, entertainment, and simulcast wagering options on Saturday.
Dining options will be available throughout Calder on Belmont Stakes Day, with the Turf Club presenting its guests a New York-style menu for just $34 and the Clubhouse dining area on the fourth floor offering a buffet for $25. Advance reservations for both dining rooms are highly recommended.
Guests seeking a more casual Belmont Stakes experience can partake in a trackside barbecue featuring a number of Empire City favorites, along with a trio of premium drink specials, the Belmont Miami Breeze, Long Island Iced Tea, and Triple Crown Royal Manhattan.
Calder will also offer the "I'll Have Another" beer special which allows guests that purchase a draft beer at regular price to receive a second draft beer for just one dollar.
Guests will also have the opportunity to enter a free drawing with a chance to win a $100 betting voucher. Entries must be deposited at the TSC Elite Players Club on the second floor by 3 p.m. (EDT) with the drawing to take place following the 10TH live race at Calder, at approximately 5 p.m.
And for those fans coming out to Calder strictly to handicap and bet on the races, full-card simulcast wagering will be available on the entire Belmont Park program, along with full-card simulcasting from other racing venues across North America.
Post time for the first live race at Calder is 12:55 p.m. The first simulcast race from Belmont Park will go off at 11:35 a.m. with the Belmont Stakes scheduled for approximately 6:40 p.m.
General parking and admission to Calder are free. Reservations for the Turf Club are highly encouraged. Reserved box seating packages are also available. For more information, or to make reservations, call (305) 625-7227.
Fair Grounds and its 10 OTB Casino locations throughout Southeast Louisiana will open early Saturday for wagering on the entire Belmont Stakes Day card from Belmont Park. All Fair Grounds facilities will be open by 10 a.m. (CDT).
Advance Wagering will be available on the entire Belmont Day card Friday during regular OTB hours.
Fair Grounds will offer Belmont Day simulcasting on the first and second floors of the Grandstand, as well as the OTB locations: Boutte, Chalmette, Covington, Elmwood, Gretna, Houma, Kenner, LaPlace, Metairie and Thibodaux. For details on locations and hours visit www.fairgroundsracecourse.com/otb/video-poker.
At the Metairie OTB Casino, a new summer series of "Handicapping Happy Hours" kicks off on Friday, the eve of the Belmont Stakes, from 6-7 p.m.
Fair Grounds handicappers Jim Mulvihill and Brian Kohn will host the free seminar previewing the next day's blockbuster Belmont card, while also giving out tips on Friday night's races of interest from around the country. There will be happy hour drink specials and prize giveaways for those in attendance. Future Handicapping Happy Hour dates include June 15, the eve of the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs, and July 6, the eve of the Summit of Speed at Calder.
Turfway Park is throwing a party on Saturday for fans who hope to see history.
The party will run from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (EDT) in the Turfway Park paddock, where flat screens will show all the excitement of the Belmont Stakes.
One part of the party is already in motion: an "I'll Have Another" drink recipe contest. Contestants submit a recipe for a specialty cocktail that will become the official drink of Turfway's live race meet in September.
Before the party the field will be narrowed to 10 semi-finalists, and fans at the party will choose the winner. Details are available at www.turfway.com.
Deadline for entry is noon on Thursday.
Horseplayers will have a contest of their own as well, with cash prizes on the line. The Belmont Handicapping Contest requires players to pick the top three finishers in each of the five graded stakes races on the Belmont Stakes card. The contest is free and open to FasTrack Rewards members only; membership in the loyalty program is also free, and fans may join that day.
With their first $2 wager using their new card, fans who become FasTrack Rewards members on Belmont Stakes day will receive a free $2 voucher valid for their next visit.
Popular local classic rockers Doghouse will play the paddock stage from 3 to 7 p.m. When they're not dancing or cheering home their winners, fans can play games for prizes from 4 to 6 p.m.
Former Bengals players Ira Hillary, Barney Bussey, Mike Martin, Joe Kelly, Eric Ball, and Kevin Walker are scheduled to be on hand from 4 to 7 p.m. for an informal meet-and-greet with race fans.
The day also features grill and beverage specials, including Turfway's own concoction, the Belmont Blast, and the official drink of the Belmont Stakes, the Belmont Breeze.
Admission is free to the party and to the grandstand. Fans who prefer reservations can enjoy the day from the Homestretch restaurant for $5 per seat at tables without a TV or $10 per seat at tables with a TV. Diners may choose the Belmont day buffet, available from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at $19.95, or order from the menu. The Homestretch is a smoke-free restaurant. Reservations also are available in Players' Row, where each seat features a TV and workstation. Players' Row seats are $5 each in smoking and non-smoking sections.
Parking is also free; valet parking is available.
Turfway will offer Belmont Park's two guaranteed wagers on the day, a $1 million all-stakes Pick 6 beginning with Belmont's 6TH race and a $1 million graded-stakes Pick 4 beginning with the 8TH race.
On Friday, bettors also can play the Brooklyn/Belmont Double, a wager combining the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap on Friday and the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Advance wagers on Belmont's entire Saturday card also can be placed on Friday.
Turfway's gates will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday.