One of the most anticipated days of the year on the NYRA circuit unfolds Monday with the annual Big Apple Showcase card featuring six stakes and 10 races total for New York-breds.

The high-dollar event attracted plenty of interest and everything gets underway at 1 p.m. The first stakes – the Bouwerie for 3-year-old fillies – goes as the third race at 2:02. The team at The Saratoga Special and This Is Horse Racing previewed all the action for the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. and present The Showcase Special to set the stage.

We’ll be back with more editions for the other two Showcase Day cards this year – the Saratoga Showcase during the much-anticipated Spa meeting and Empire Showcase card this fall at Belmont Park.

Here’s wishing everyone in the New York Thoroughbred industry a safe Memorial Day and prosperous rest of the year.

Names of the Day

Masked Marauder, first race. Windylea Farm’s 3-year-old is by Palace Malice out of Court Dress.

Mosienko, second race. He’s entered for the main track only but gets the nod as a son of Hat Trick is named for Bill Mosienko, who scored the fastest hat track in National Hockey League history (21 seconds) while playing for the Chicago Black Hawks in 1952. Mosienko the horse has won three races.

Therapist, eighth race. An oldie but a goodie, the Kingston Stakes runner is by Freud.

By the Numbers

3: Runners sired by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds’ Central Banker on the Big Apple Showcase card, tied for most of any current New York-based stallion along with Sequel Stallions’ Freud.

5: Entrants bred by Barry Schwartz’s Stonewall Farm on Monday’s card, one more than those bred or co-bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Chester and Mary Broman and Sequel Thoroughbreds.

9: Horses entered Monday by trainer Christophe Clement, most of any conditioner on the card. John Kimmel is second with six.

54: Individual trainers with entrants Monday.

100: New York-breds entered for the 10-race Big Apple Showcase Day, including 11 also-eligible runners.

$900,000: Purses for the six stakes on the Big Apple Showcase Day card.

$1,388,536: Career earnings for Mr. Buff, the most of any runner Monday.

Worth Repeating

“He’s kind of a one-banjo monkey. He goes to the front, that’s his game. Catch me if you can and if you go with him it will cost you the race, too. He’s a very nice horse.”
Trainer Jim Bond last summer in his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour on Kingston Stakes morning-line favorite Rinaldi

“It’s a great day of racing and there’s big purse money to be had. I’m hoping all three of my horses show up and have a good day.”
Trainer John Kimmel, who sends out Mr. Buff in the Commentator, Secret Love in the Bouwerie and Dr. Blute in the Mike Lee

“It’s a little ambitious, but why not? It’s a good day to be ambitious.”
Trainer Christophe Clement on Merrylegs’ Farm homebred Timeless Journey in the Critical Eye

“The New York-bred program is full of tremendous opportunities for breeders and owners. We’re grateful in continuing to partner with NYRA in highlighting our top athletes on our New York Showcase days with lucrative purses and competitive fields. Especially at the Belmont Spring meet, as the New York Breeders’ Showcase Day on Memorial Day will have fans in attendance to help celebrate and watch the best our Empire State has to offer.”
New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. President Thomas J. Gallo

“Just runners. Everything in that family wins within the first two starts of their life. She was very impressive the other day. She drew a bad post and was really wide first start here. She went off like 35, 40-1 and I’m looking at this and saying ‘What am I missing?’ She ran fourth, ran so wide the other day, poor thing. I ran her back and she’s 8-5.”

Bond last summer during his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour on Mount Vernon contender Giacosa

The Showcase Special

Belmont Park. Race 1. 1:00 p.m. Field of eight starts the day in 6 ½-furlong maiden, including second-time starters Big Bobby for Bill Mott, Orb in the Tower for Todd Pletcher, Devil Boy for Jeremiah Englehart and Arms an Armor for Steve Asmussen. Blitz to Win, from Team Tiz the Law, faced a few of these last time and looks to improve.

Belmont. Race 2. 1:31. Time Limit, placed in four stakes during her 2-year-old season in 2019, returns from more than 17 months on the sidelines in 6-furlong turf allowance. Snicket, who is relegated to AE list, and Blame It On Mary are in form and could factor.

Belmont. Race 3. 2:02. The $125,000 Bouwerie for 3-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs. Laobanonaprayer, last year’s champion New York-bred 2-year-old filly, tries to bounce back from sixth in division of New York Stallion Stakes. She won on Empire Showcase Day last fall in the Maid Of The Mist. Secret Love, Betsy Blue and Pay Grade also in the field.

Belmont. Race 4. 2:33. In the words of John Kimmel in the NYTB Annual Awards Program, “the one and only Mr. Buff.” That’s right, the ageless Chester and Mary Broman homebred gelding makes his 46th starts seeking his 18th win in the $200,000 Commentator. He finished eighth in this race in 2018, third in 2019 and second last year. Bankit, the veteran 5-year-old by Central Banker, could crack seven figures in earnings with a win. He’s as consistent as any in the division with a 5-10-4 mark from 29 starts and a win over the favorite in the Alex M. Robb last winter at Aqueduct.

Belmont. Race 5. 3:02. La Victoria, daughter of Tapit out of New York-bred Horse of the Year who sold for $800,000 as a weanling in 2018, makes second start for Todd Pletcher and owners Whisper Hill Farm and Three Chimneys Farm in 6 ½-furlong maiden.

Belmont. Race 6. 3:34. The $125,000 Mount Vernon. Lawrence Goichman’s homebred Myhartblongstodady went on a tear last summer and fall, winning three straight, and a return to that form makes her tough here against nine others led by 2020 runner-up Classic Lady, Robin Sparkles, Giacosa and Light in the Sky.

Belmont. Race 7. 4:06. Excellent Timing, winner of the Damon Runyon on the main track in March, led and stopped in Grade 2 American Turf on Kentucky Derby Day last time. Now he’s back with state-breds and on dirt for the $125,000 Mike Lee. River Dog, part of Jeremiah Englehart’s Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour last summer, looked good winning his maiden May 2 and Devious Mo comes off win in Times Square division of New York Stallion Stakes.

Belmont. Race 8. 4:40. Back to the grass for the $125,000 Kingston. Cross Border exits a seventh – beaten only 2 lengths – in the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day while Rinaldi prepped for this with a second in open Dangers Hour Stakes at Aqueduct. Typically deep division represented by major players City Man, Dot Matrix, Graded On a Curve, Therapist and Sanctuary City.

Belmont. Race 9. 5:12. The $200,000 Critical Eye Handicap. Mrs. Orb shed her second-it is to start the year with a victory in the La Verdad, then went through the sales ring only to be an RNA for $295,000 at the Keeneland January sale. Now she’s back with a steady string of works first at Nelson Jones Farms and Training Center in Ocala and at Belmont Park for Mike Miceli. She carries 122 pounds, receiving two from familiar foe Espresso Shot and two more than stablemate Love and Love. Espresso Shot won the Biogio’s Rose in March at Aqueduct and comes in fresh for Jorge Abreu.

Belmont. Race 10. 5:44. Full field for 6-furlong maiden claimer for fillies and mares to close the card.