Under 20’s Claiming Challenge to return to Belmont Park for spring/summer meet
by Brian Bohl
The popular Under 20’s Claiming Challenge, which gives modest-size stables the opportunity to compete for cash prizes, will return to Belmont Park for the spring/summer meet that runs from April 22 through July 11.
The program, launched in 2018, is open to all trainers stabled at NYRA facilities with 20 or fewer horses in their care nationwide. The top-eight trainers in the contest will share a prize pool of $80,000, with the winner receiving $16,000. Stall allotments for the Belmont spring/summer will be used to determine eligible trainers.
Trainers earn points based on their horses' performances in all winners' claiming races from Opening Day on Thursday, April 22 through the conclusion of the Belmont spring/summer meet on Sunday, July 11, encompassing both main track and turf contests.
To retain eligibility, there can be no more than 20 horses on a trainer's roster at any given time, although a trainer's stable may grow above 20 horses through claiming activity. But only roster horses can earn points. A trainer may replace a claimed horse who was on their roster with another claimed horse. After a horse is claimed, it will be added to the trainer's roster only at the trainer's request.
Horses in for a tag in an allowance optional claiming race will qualify for contest points. Points are not earned in maiden, allowance, starter allowance or stakes races.
A horse that ends up on the stewards’ list for poor performance [defeated 25 or more lengths] will not earn the trainer points for that race. Horses that are running for 50 percent or less of the claiming price from their most recent start will only be eligible to earn 50 percent of the typical points for that race.
In addition, horses can only earn contest points for two races within a given 30-day time period. A horse may enter in additional races during that timeframe but will not earn contest points for those additional races.
For more information, please contact the racing office at 718-659-4241.
Contest Point Structure:
Dirt Races - All claiming races for winners, including horses in for an optional tag:
1st Place - 6 points
2nd Place - 5 points
3rd Place - 4 points
4th Place - 3 points
5th Place - 2 points
Turf Races- All claiming races for winners, including horses in for an optional tag
1st Place - 5 points
2nd Place - 4 points
3rd Place - 3 points
4th Place - 2 points
5th Place - 1 point
The top-eight trainers in the contest will share in a prize pool of $80,000:
1st Place - $16,000
2nd Place - $14,000
3rd Place - $12,000
4th Place - $11,000
5th Place - $9,000
6th Place - $7,000
7th Place - $6,000
8th Place - $5,000
Important dates, at a glance:
April 18, 2021 - All contest applications due no later than 3:30 p.m.
April 22, 2021 - List of eligible contest trainers posted
April 22, 2021 - Contest begins; Opening Day of Belmont Park spring/summer meet
June 14, 2021 - No additional horses may be added to earn contest points (unless replacing a claimed or injured horse)
July 11, 2021 - Contest ends; Closing Day of Belmont Park spring/summer meet
August 13, 2021 - Awards paid out
Past winners of the Under 20s Claiming Challenge:
2019/20 Aqueduct winter - Eddie Barker, Mertkan Kantarmaci (tie)
2019 Belmont spring/summer - Mertkan Kantarmaci
2018/19 Aqueduct winter - Mertkan Kantarmaci
2018 Belmont spring/summer - Eddie Barker