2024 G2 Belmont Gold Cup announced as next international qualifier for the G1 Lexus Melbourne Cup | Belmont Stakes
May 17, 2024

2024 G2 Belmont Gold Cup announced as next international qualifier for the G1 Lexus Melbourne Cup

by Pat McKenna, Jo King

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) today announced the Grade 2, $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup, slated for Thursday, June 6 at historic Saratoga Race Course, will be a ‘Golden Ticket’ event offering the winner an automatic berth into the Group 1, AUD$8.4 million Lexus Melbourne Cup.

The new lucrative partnership will provide the winner of the Belmont Gold Cup, a two-mile test for older horses, a place in the starting gate for the Lexus Melbourne Cup on November 5, 2024, at Flemington Racecourse in Victoria, Australia.

First run in 1861, the 3200-meter race is the richest two-mile handicap in the world and one of the richest turf races. The event starts at 3:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of November, as part of a public holiday in Victoria, and is known locally as, ‘the race that stops a nation™’.

The Belmont Gold Cup headlines Opening Day of the four-day 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which will be held at Saratoga Race Course from Thursday, June 6 through Sunday, June 9. Highlighted by the 156th edition of the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday, June 8, the four-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will include 24 stakes races with purses totaling $10.25 million, the highest purse levels and number of stakes offered since the launch of the multi-day Festival in 2014.

The Belmont Gold Cup will be televised live on FS2 on America’s Day at the Races, which will present daily coverage and analysis of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports.

To celebrate the occasion, Flemington Racecourse announcer Matt Hill will travel to Saratoga to call the Belmont Gold Cup and he will be bringing the 2024 Lexus Melbourne Cup trophy along with him. The 18-carat trophy has its own travel documentation - a bit like a passport - to ensure it is exempt from export laws and taxes, and will be available for photo opportunities with fans throughout the live racing program on Thursday, June 6. The Cup is created from 34 gold pieces, hand-crafted for over 200 hours, and is valued at AUD$600,000. The Melbourne Cup is awarded to the owner of the winning horse, and smaller replicas are given to the trainer and jockey.

Godolphin's British homebred Siskany, trained by Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Charlie Appleby, won last year's Belmont Gold Cup and is slated to return to New York as he attempts to defend his title. The 6-year-old Dubawi gelding is a multiple group/graded stakes-winner with more than $1.2 million in purse earnings. The 2022 Belmont Gold Cup winner, Loft, has recently returned to action in Group 1 company in Australia.

NYRA Senior Vice-President of Racing and Operations, Andrew Offerman, said NYRA is pleased to partner with Victoria Racing Club to offer connections an added incentive to compete in a marquee race at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at historic Saratoga Race Course.

“The Belmont Gold Cup has proven to be a strong race, attracting top marathon horses from North America and across Europe,” Offerman said. “The addition of a ‘Golden Ticket’ to compete in one of the world’s preeminent turf races only serves to heighten the profile of what is sure to be an exciting Festival in Saratoga.”

VRC Executive General Manager Racing, Leigh Jordon, said, “The introduction of the Belmont Gold Cup as a golden ticket opens up another pathway for international staying horses to compete in the Lexus Melbourne Cup. The race is an already established international contest and we look forward to potentially welcoming this year’s winner to Melbourne in the spring.”

VRC Executive General Manager Brand, Marketing and Communications, Jo King, said, “It is an amazing opportunity and privilege to partner with another global racing organization such as the New York Racing Association and engage with international racing fans.

“We are looking forward to reconnecting with many Australian expats in New York and sharing the magic of the Melbourne Cup Carnival including the racing, fashion, food and entertainment to a new audience.”

The final field for the 2024 Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup will be drawn on Friday, May 31, 2024.

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