OTB Race Previews
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With 42 stakes races on offer worth $4.57 million in purses, the 56-day winter meet at Aqueduct Racetrack begins Thursday, December 10 and runs through Sunday, March 28.
Live racing will generally be conducted Thursday through Sunday until the end of February with a holiday break set for December 24 - 27 and the addition of special Monday cards on January 18 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and February 15 for Presidents' Day.
Live racing in March will be offered Friday through Sunday through the conclusion of the winter meet on March 28.
The December winter meet calendar will feature a trio of $100,000 stakes races at nine furlongs on the main track, including the Alex M. Robb on December 12 for New York-breds 3-years-old and up; the Bay Ridge on December 13 for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up; and the Queens County on December 19 for 3-years-old and up.
January racing will open on New Year's Day with the one-mile $150,000 Jerome, the first of three Kentucky Derby prep races at the Big A winter meet. The Jerome will offer 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the top-four finishers. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday card, marking the birthday of the late civil rights leader, is slated for Monday, January 18 and features the $100,000 Interborough for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up. There will be no live racing on Thursday, January 14 to accommodate the special holiday card.
The nine-furlong $100,000 Busanda for sophomore fillies on January 24 will provide 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top four finishers. The winter meet graded stakes calendar will open with the Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses on January 30.
New York's road to the Kentucky Derby continues at the Big A winter meet with the nine-furlong Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on February 6, offering 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers. The Monday, February 15 President's Day Card will be highlighted by the $100,000 Hollie Hughes, a six-furlong sprint for New York-breds 4-years-old and up. There will be no live racing on Thursday, February 11 to accommodate the Presidents' Day card.
A total of 12 racing cards are set for March, featuring eight stakes, including two graded events. The centerpiece of the March racing calendar is the one-mile Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham on March 6, which provides 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top four finishers. The Gotham day card includes the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap for 4-year-olds and up going six furlongs; the $250,000 Busher Invitational for 3-year-old fillies offering 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers; and the $125,000 Stymie for 4-year-olds and up.
On its final weekend, the 56-day winter meet will showcase a 10-stakes card on New York Claiming Championship Day, Saturday, March 27 and the $100,000 East View on Sunday, March 28.
Throughout the 2020-21 Aqueduct winter meet, the trainer of any horse who finishes fourth through last in a race will receive a $300 credit towards an insurance escrow account in the trainer's name with the horseman's bookkeeper. The horse must be an official starter and finish the race. This money can only be used to make New York Jockey Injury Compensation Fund [NYJICF] payments. These funds cannot be withdrawn by trainers. Monies not used by the end of 2021 will refund to the purse account.
The 11-day 2021 Big A spring meet will run Thursday, April 1 through Sunday, April 18 with live racing returning to a Thursday to Sunday schedule. The 2020 spring meet will include 13 stakes worth $2.7 million in purses highlighted by the 96th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on Saturday, April 3.
Opening Weekend of the spring meet will offer six graded races in total beginning on Friday April 2 with the Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff at seven furlongs for older fillies and mares.
Wood Memorial day on Saturday, April 3 features the first Grade 1 of 2021 on the NYRA circuit in the $300,000 Carter Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for older horses. The stakes-laden day is headlined by the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino, which offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers.
Bolstering the lucrative Wood Memorial day card are a trio of Grade 3 races, including the $250,000 Gazelle at nine furlongs for sophomore fillies offering 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers; the $200,000 Bay Shore, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores; and the $150,000 Excelsior at nine furlongs for older horses.
Closing weekend of the Big A spring meet offers the $200,000 NYSSS Times Square at 6 ½-furlongs for sophomore state-breds and the $100,000 Woodhaven for sophomore turf routers on April 18. The 11-day spring meet will conclude on Sunday, April 19 with the $200,000 NYSSS Park Avenue at 6 ½-furlongs for sophomore filly New York-breds and the $100,000 Memories of Silver for sophomore filly turf routers.
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