OffTrackBetting.com - The 2017 fall meet betting season at Aqueduct Racetrack hits the ground running at OTB when live racing returns to the Big A on Friday November 3rd. The Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap on Saturday, December 2 will centerpiece the meet.
Opening Day will mark the official unveiling of the renovated 1 1/8-mile main track and the newly installed outer turf course, an extensive four-month project completed in September ahead the Aqueduct fall meet.
2017 Aqueduct Fall Meet Runs Nov 3 - Dec 31
The Aqueduct stakes action kicks off Friday with the 43rd running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Tempted for 2-year-old fillies at a mile on opening day, the first of 11 graded stakes in the Aqueduct fall meet.
Live racing continues through Breeders' Cup weekend with the Grade 3, $200,000 Long Island for fillies and mares on the grass on tap for Saturday, combined with full simulcast coverage of the Breeders' Cup in Southern California, highlighted by the $6 million Classic, with a locally scheduled post of 8:35 p.m. ET. Aqueduct's first post on Breeders' Cup Saturday is 12:15 p.m.
Sunday's program will be anchored by the Grade 2, $200,000 Nashua for 2-year-olds at a mile. Due to the cancellation of Sunday's Closing Day card at Belmont Park, the $100,000 Chelsey Flower for juvenile fillies on the grass and the $100,000 Pumpkin Pie for filly and mare sprinters will also be held on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The centerpiece of the 40-day meet, which runs from November 3 through December 31, is the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap on Saturday, December 2, supported by the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen for 2-year-olds, the first stop through Aqueduct on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby," as well as its sister race, the Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle and the Grade 3, $200,000 Go For Wand Handicap for fillies and mares. First post on Cigar Mile Day is 12 p.m.
As the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature, the Grade 3, $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap for sprinters 3-and-up will get the holiday week's racing action underway on Thursday, November 23. The Fall Highweight will be joined by the $150,000 Winter Memories for 3-year-old fillies on the grass.
The Winter Memories' matching race for sophomore males, the $150,000 Gio Ponti, will be held alongside the Grade 3, $250,000 Comely for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles as the "Black Friday" co-features on November 24. The graded stakes action will continue on Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend with a trio of stakes, anchored by the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery for sophomores at 1 1/8 miles.
Extensive Renovation Of Main Track, Installation Of Second Turf Course
Training has commenced in earnest at Aqueduct Racetrack as horsemen have settled into the New York Racing Association's Ozone Park facility following an extensive renovation of the main track and the installation of a second turf course over the summer.
In all, the project took approximately four months, beginning in May shortly after the conclusion of the Aqueduct spring meet with the removal of both the old clay-based main track, traditionally used during the fall and spring meets, and the limestone-based inner track, installed in 1975 to accommodate winter racing.
Completed in mid-September, the new main oval is comprised of more than 18,000 tons of additional limestone dust for the main track's base and new cushion material for a composition similar to that of the year-round training track at Belmont Park, which was renovated in the summer of 2016.
The main track also features an expanded drainage system and has been outfitted with a new safety rail, the first of its kind to be used for live racing at a NYRA racetrack.
The new outer turf course includes a new drainage sand base, 115 new sprinkler heads and 698,400 square feet of Kentucky Blue Grass sod. In order to meet the needs of two turf courses, a state-of-the-art irrigation system has been installed with computerized zone control for improved water efficiency along with an expanded infield pond for enhanced capacity.