Nine Things to Know About the 2020 Carter Handicap

Carter Handicap hopeful Mind Control, above winning the Bay Shore Stakes last year, has won three straight races. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Racing returns to Belmont Park this week, highlighted by a great day of stakes this Saturday. Chief among them is the Grade 1 Runhappy Carter Handicap, which is expected to attract some of the best sprinters in training.

Find nine fun facts about this year’s race below.

1. The Carter is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, meaning it’s a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint this November at Keeneland. The winner of the Carter gets an expenses-paid berth in that race.

2. The race is named for William Carter, a Brooklyn contractor and tugboat captain who put up most of the purse money for the first race.

3. This year is the 121st edition of the race, which was first contested in 1895.

4. No horse has completed the seven-furlong race faster than 1999 winner Artax, who crossed the finish line in 1:20.04.

5. Saturday’s race offers a purse of $250,000, with $137,500 of that reserved for the winner.

6. The first winning triple dead heat in a stakes race happened in the 1944 Carter. Brownie, Bossuet, and Wait A Bit crossed the finish line simultaneously.

7. No female trainer has ever won the Carter. Linda Rice could change that this year if either of her possible entrants, Nicodemus and Wicked Trick, wins.

8. The Carter is a handicap, meaning more accomplished horses are assigned more weight to carry during the race. The highest weight carried to victory in the Carter was 135 pounds by both Bold Ruler (1958) and Tom Fool (1953). For comparison, the winner has carried an average of 118 pounds the last 10 years.

9. Trainer Gregg Sacco could win his first Carter Handicap if Mind Control is victorious on Saturday. Mind Control is 2-for-2 this year but hasn’t raced since March 7.

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