Bet on The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes
The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) is held in the fall at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York and is regarded as a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Held at a mile and a half on the turf, the race has a longstanding history of attracting some of the top grass horses in the world and producing horses that go on to be major players in the Breeders’ Cup. Some of the greatest turf champions in the history of horse racing have added the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) to their esteemed resumes.
Founded in 1977, the race was originally named simply the Turf Classic and was contested at Aqueduct. It received Grade 1 status after only two years and. In 2004, the prestigious race got a name change and was named after Joe Hirsch, a prominent horse racing columnist and the founder and president of the National Turf Writers’ Association who passed away in 1990. The purse has varied over the years and at one point was up to $750,000. Currently, the race offers a purse of $600,000.
There have been several trainers, including Hall of Fame conditioners Todd Pletcher, Robert Frankel and William Mott, who have each saddled two winners of the race. One jockey, however, has won the race four times – John Velazquez. The perennially leading rider piloted Kitten’s Joy (2004), English Channel (2006, 2007) and Point of Entry (2012) to victory. Three horses have won multiple editions of the race – April Run (1981, 1982), Val’s Prince (1997, 1999) and English Channel (2006, 2007).
While many great champions have won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1), there have been none as popular as the winner of the 1984 edition, John Henry. The plain bay gelding amassed a remarkable career and in 1984 earned both the title of Champion Grass Horse and Horse of the Year. It was his second Horse of the Year title and fourth Champion Grass Horse award. His win in the Joe Hirsch, known then as the Turf Classic (G1), was the penultimate start of his Hall of Fame career.
The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) been a stepping stone for many horses to success on horse racing’s biggest day, the Breeders’ Cup. Six horses have parlayed a victory in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) into a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), starting with Manila in 1986. The other horses to succeed in the Turf Classic-Breeders’ Cup double were Theatrical (1987), Tikkanen (1994), Buck’s Boy (1998), English Channel (2007) and Main Sequence (2014).
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Betting Odds
It doesn't get much more exciting in horse racing than when a race comes down to a three-way battle for the win in the final strides, exactly what happened in the 2014 Joe Hirsch, when second-favorite Main Sequence (2-1) powered through for the win by a neck, with the top four horses only three lengths apart. If you picked the finish in the correct order or not, Bovada's racebook always makes you a winner, with weekly cash back of up to 5% on all exotic tickets.
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2016 Joe Hirsch Turf Contenders
Despite the most compact of fields, the 2016 renewal of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic offers a glimpse at the best distance-oriented grass runner in America in Flintshire, as the superstar tunes up for a run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Flintshire will face three rivals as a deserving 1/5 morning line favorite. The Chad Brown trainee has been dominant in North American racing after a very successful career overseas. An elite runner on any continent, Flintshire has amassed nearly $9 million in career earnings while winning 8 of 22 starts to go with 10 second place finishes and a third. Flintshire has proven dominant in four North American starts, winning three graded stakes and finishing second once – the blemish coming in the form of a half-length defeat in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf. The six year-old has never been better and outclasses his three rivals including stablemate Money Multiplier (4/1) and Twilight Eclipse (10/1) – both of whom he defeated last out in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.
Post Position & Odds
1) Ectot 8/1
2) Twilight Eclipse 10/1
3) Money Multiplier 4/1
4) Flintshire 1/5