Ten Things You Should Know: Ogden Phipps Handicap
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Ogden Phipps Handicap is a Grade 1 race run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is restricted to fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in October.
2) The race was run for the first time in 1961 and was originally named the Hempstead Handicap. The first edition was open to males, but the race disappeared from the New York racing calendar until 1970, when it became a race restricted to fillies and mares. The first six runnings were held at Aqueduct Race Course; the race has been at Belmont Park since 1975.
3) The race has been run on dirt for its entire history at four different distances from 6 furlongs to 1 ½ miles. It is currently run at 1 1/16 miles.
4) The name of the race changed in 2002 to honor the memory of Ogden Phipps. Phipps, who died in 2002, was a longtime, influential member of the racing community who served as the chairman of the Jockey Club and trustee emeritus of the New York Racing Association. He bred and campaigned such champions as Buckpasser, Easy Goer, and Personal Ensign.
5) Five fillies or mares have won the Ogden Phipps during an Eclipse Award-winning campaign for older females: Close Hatches (2014), Ashado (2005), Sky Beauty (1994), Personal Ensign (1998), Proud Delta (1976)
6) Ta Wee, one of the greatest female sprinters in history, won the 1970 and second edition of the race at 6 furlongs.
7) In 1986, a few days after winning his record fifth straight Belmont Stakes, trainer Woody Stephens beat the great Lady’s Secret in the Hempstead Handicap with a filly named Endear. Lady’s Secret would run away with the Eclipse Award for older female later that same year.
8) Only one 3-year-old filly has won the Ogden Phipps. Summer Guest won the fourth ever running of the race in 1972. She was raced under the colors of the legendary Rokeby Stable and was one of the last race horses bred by Hubert B. Phipps, who died the year of Summer Guest’s birth. Summer Guest also won the 1972 Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama Stakes, Black-Eyed Susan, and she finished third against males in that year’s Woodward.
9) Three horses have won the race twice. Heatherten completed the double in 1984 and 1985. Sightseek, trained by Bobby Frankel and owned by Juddmonte, won the 2003 and 2004 Ogden Phipps. Sightseek also won two editions of the Beldame Stakes during that same period. The last two-time winner, Take D’ Tour, counted the 2006 and 2007 runnings among her ten career wins.
10) Eddie Maple, inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, won a record five editions of the Ogden Phipps. The first came aboard Raisela in 1975 and the last in 1992 with Missy’s Mirage. He rode Endear to an upset win against Lady’s Secret in 1986.