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Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes

The Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational is an American Grade I stakes race on turf established in 1977 for Thoroughbred racehorses three years old and up. Currently held at Belmont Park, New York City at the end of September, it is named in honor of Joe Hirsch, the award-winning racing columnist and founding president of the National Turf Writers Association. Joe Hirsch, aged 80, died on January 9, 2009.[1]

Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Invitational Stakes
Grade 1 race
LocationBelmont Park
Elmont, New York, United States
Race typeThoroughbred - Flat racing
Race information
Distance1 12 miles
Qualification3-Years-Old & Up
Purse$500,000 (2017)

The race was first run as the "Aqueduct Turf Classic Invitational Stakes" at Aqueduct Racetrack from 1977 to 1983 (although many publications list the 1980 Turf Classic as being run at Belmont Park, a video of the race on YouTube clearly shows the race being run at Aqueduct that year as well). Shortened to being called just the "Turf Classic" in 1983, it is raced at a distance of ​1 12 miles and at one time drew the top Thoroughbreds from the U.S. and Europe when it was part of a million dollar bonus for any horse who won it plus the Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto and the Washington, D.C., International at Laurel Park Racecourse in Laurel, Maryland.

The inaugural 1977 race was won by Johnny D., ridden by 17-year-old Steve Cauthen. The race has also been won by champions such as April Run (1981 and 1982), All Along (1983), and John Henry (1984). The race record stands at 2:24 2/5, set in 1992 by the Sam-Son Farm colt, Sky Classic.


Time record:

Most wins:

Most wins by an owner:

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Winners of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational StakesEdit

2018 Channel Maker 4 Jose Ortiz William I. Mott Wachtel Stable & Gary Barber 2:30.73
2017 Beach Patrol 4 Joel Rosario Chad C. Brown James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners, Head of Plains 2:26.29
2016 Ectot (GB) 5 Jose Ortiz Todd A. Pletcher Al Shaqab Racing/Augustin-Normand 2:28.76
2015 Big Blue Kitten 7 Joe Bravo Chad C. Brown Sarah & Ken Ramsey 2:23.39
2014 Main Sequence 5 Rajiv Maragh Graham Motion Flaxman Holdings 2:26.32
2013 Little Mike 6 Mike E. Smith Dale L. Romans Priscilla Vaccarezza 2:25.00
2012 Point of Entry 4 John Velazquez Claude R. McGaughey III Phipps Stable 2:33.73
2011 Cape Blanco (IRE) 4 Jamie Spencer Aidan O'Brien Smith / Magnier / Tabor / Mrs F Hay 2:36.61
2010 Winchester 5 Cornelio Velasquez Christophe Clement Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone 2:36.09
2009 Interpatation 7 Robby Albarado Robert Barbara Elliot Mavorah 2:41.22
2008 Grand Couturier 5 Alan Garcia Robert Ribaudo Marc Keller 2:34.84
2007 English Channel 5 John Velazquez Todd A. Pletcher James T. Scatuorchio 2:25.73
2006 English Channel 4 John Velazquez Todd A. Pletcher James T. Scatuorchio 2:28.69
2005 Shakespeare 4 Jerry D. Bailey William I. Mott Dell Ridge Farm/W. Schettine 2:27.22
2004 Kitten's Joy 3 John Velazquez Dale L. Romans Ken & Sarah Ramsey 2:29.97
2003 Sulamani 4 Jerry D. Bailey Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin Racing 2:27.51
2002 Denon 4 Edgar Prado Robert J. Frankel E. Gann/Flaxman Stable 2:28.47
2001 Timboroa 5 Edgar Prado Robert J. Frankel Edmund A. Gann 2:29.43
2000 John’s Call 9 Jean-Luc Samyn Thomas H. Voss Trillium Stable 2:28.58
1999 Val's Prince 7 Jorge Chavez H. James Bond R. Martin & S. Weiner 2:28.63
1998 Buck's Boy 5 Shane Sellers P. Noel Hickey Quarter B Farm 2:33.25
1997 Val's Prince 5 Mike E. Smith James E. Picou R. Martin & S. Weiner 2:28.92
1996 Diplomatic Jet 4 Jorge Chavez James E. Picou Fred W. Hooper 2:27.51
1995 Turk Passer 5 John Velazquez Flint S. Schulhofer Leveen & Shanley & Weiss 2:36.63
1994 Tikkanen 3 Cash Asmussen Jonathan Pease Augustin Stable 2:25.88
1993 Apple Tree 4 Mike E. Smith Andre Fabre Mohammed Al Kabeer 2:28.31
1992 Sky Classic 5 Pat Day James E. Day Sam-Son Farm 2:24.50
1991 Solar Splendor 4 Herb McCauley Patrick J. Kelly Live Oak Plantation 2:27.89
1990 Cacoethes 4 Ray Cochrane Guy Harwood Lady Jane Harrison 2:25.00
1989 Yankee Affair 7 Jose Santos Henry L. Carroll Jujugen Stable 2:27.20
1988 Sunshine Forever 3 Angel Cordero, Jr. John M. Veitch Darby Dan Farm 2:33.80
1987 Theatrical 5 Pat Day William I. Mott Bertram R. Firestone 2:29.20
1986 Manila 3 Jose Santos Leroy Jolley Bradley M. Shannon 2:27.80
1985 Noble Fighter 3 Alain Lequeux Mitri Saliba Buckram Oak Farm 2:25.40
1984 John Henry 9 Chris McCarron Ron McAnally Dotsam Stable 2:25.20
1983 All Along 4 Walter Swinburn Patrick L. Biancone Daniel Wildenstein 2:34.00
1982 April Run 4 Cash Asmussen Francois Boutin Diana M. Firestone 2:29.80
1981 April Run 3 Philippe Paquet Francois Boutin Diana M. Firestone 2:31.20
1980 Anifa 4 Alfred Gibert Mitri Saliba Buckram Oak Farm 2:39.60
1979 Bowl Game 5 Jorge Velasquez John M. Gaver, Jr. Greentree Stable 2:28.20
1978 Waya 4 Angel Cordero, Jr. Angel Penna, Sr. Daniel Wildenstein 2:26.80
1977 Johnny D. 3 Steve Cauthen Michael Kay Dana S. Bray, Jr. 2:33.20

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Stakes Histories, The Original Racing Almanac 2009, page 360 on June 26, 2008.