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Mike Lee Handicap

The Mike Lee Handicap is the first leg of the "Big Apple Triple," a grouping of three races in New York state for New York breds. A horse who wins all three of the Big Apple Triple wins the purse total of $400,000 plus a $250,000 bonus. The second leg is the New York Derby held at Finger Lakes race track, and the third leg is the Albany Stakes at the Saratoga Race Course. The series began in 1999.

The Mike Lee is held at Belmont Park in the spring and is open to three-year-olds of either gender running at 7 furlongs. It offers a purse of $100,000. Although it is not restricted to registered New York breds, due to the racing conditions, it's still not an open race.

This race was run as the New York City OTB Big Apple Handicap prior to 1988, but now it's named for Mike Lee, the former sports editor for the Long Island Press for over 40 years.

In 2008, Tin Cup Chalice won the first Big Apple Triple by taking the Albany Stakes, the New York Derby, and the Mike Lee Handicap. In the Albany Stakes, Tin Cup Chalice went up against Big Truck, a Kentucky Derby horse and Icabad Crane, the third place runner in the Preakness Stakes.

Past winners

(Since it became the Mike Lee)

  • 2005 - Naughty New Yorker (Jean Luc Samyn)
  • 2004 - Multiplication (Edgar Prado)
  • 2003 - Bossanova (Edgar Prado)
  • 2002 - No Parole (Joseph Aquilino)
  • 2001 - Solar Deputy (Edgar Prado)
  • 2000 - Image Maker (Filiberto Leon)
  • 1999 - Hearts At Risk (Robbie G. Davis)

At this point becoming the first leg of the Big Apple Triple.

  • 1996 - Carbine Special (Robbie Davis)
  • 1995 - Endsaseeket (Richard Migliore)
  • 1994 - Scarlet Rage (Robbie Davis)
  • 1990 - The Professor (Jorge Chavez)
  • 1989 - J.R.'s Gift (Jerry Bailey)

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