The schedule of New York-bred stakes races to be run at the three New York Racing Association (NYRA) racetracks and at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (FLGR) has a new and improved look for 2014.
Published in advance to make it easier for owners and trainers to map out campaigns for their horses, the 2014 stakes schedule shifts the emphasis from overnight stakes races to a defined series of races for each age group distributed among the three NYRA tracks (Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack) and FLGR. Exciting new developments include the addition of five new races for 2-year-olds and the introduction of a Saratoga Showcase Day.
Jeffrey Cannizzo, Executive Director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. said, "The New York-bred stakes program is in a class by itself. No other region even comes near it and now, for the first time, we have a set schedule so that horsemen and owners can target races for the entire calendar year."
The 2014 New York racing schedule features a total of 69 New York-bred stakes races worth $8.6 million. Fifty-four stakes worth $7,475,000 will be run at the NYRA tracks and 15 stakes with purses of $1,125,000 will be hosted by FLGR. The purses for New York-bred stakes run by NYRA have increased by $485,000 over 2013.
Headlining the New York-bred stakes schedule for 2014 are five new races for 2-year-olds to be hosted by NYRA, bringing the total number of stakes races for New York-bred 2-year-olds in the state to 19 with total purses of $2,650,000. Fourteen races for New York-bred juveniles worth $2,150,000 will be run at NYRA tracks, and five races worth $500,000 will be run at FLGR. NYRA has boosted stakes purses for New York-bred 2-year-olds on its circuit by $1,050,000.
"This is the first step in what will likely be a multi-year process," said NYRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Martin Panza. "This year, we focused on the races for 2-year-olds, which seemed like a logical place to start. In coming years, we hope to roll out similarly structured programs for 3-year-olds and for older horses of both sexes."
Said Cannizzo, "Martin Panza and NYRA deserve credit for the enhancements to the New York-bred 2-year-old stakes program. More races and bigger purses will add to commercial appeal of New York-breds in the eyes of pinhookers and end-users alike. Every breeder with a yearling for sale stands to benefit."
Beyond the 2-year-olds, in 2014 New York-bred 3-year-olds will have 14 restricted stakes on the schedule worth $1,625,000 distributed as follows: 10 races worth $1.3 million on the NYRA tracks and four races worth $325,000 at FLGR. For horses of both sexes 3-years-old and up there will be 36 stakes races worth $4,325,000. Thirty of these, worth a total of $4,025,000, will be run at NYRA tracks. Six worth $300,000 are scheduled at FLGR.
Some of the marquee races for older horses have received significant purse enhancements. On Empire Showcase Day in the fall, the Empire Classic is now worth $300,000 and the new Empire Distaff Stakes for fillies and mares has a purse of $250,000. On the Big Apple Showcase Day, the one-mile Commentator Stakes and Critical Eye are each worth $200,000. Said Cannizzo, "It has now become even more lucrative to breed and own quality New York-breds. The money on offer here is a huge endorsement of our breeders and breeding program."
Finally, this year for the first time Saratoga Race Course will play host to one of the popular all New York-bred showcase cards. The new Saratoga Showcase card, scheduled this year for August 24, the day after the Travers Stakes, will feature six stakes races. The event is modeled on the original New York-Bred Showcase program run at Belmont in October (now, Empire Showcase Day) and the Big Apple Showcase card run at Belmont on the Saturday before the Belmont Stakes, which was added to the NYRA racing calendar in 2013.
A chronological list of all New York-bred stakes race for the year follows. This, and tables breaking down the New York-bred stakes races by conditions of age and sex, also appear on the "Stakes Schedule" page of the NYTB web site.
2014 New York-bred Stakes Schedule
Aqueduct 1/5 Judy Soda Stakes 1 Mile F&M 4&UP $75,000 Aqueduct 1/16 Gold and Roses Stakes 6 Furlongs 4&UP $75,000
Finger Lakes 7/12 New York Oaks 1 1/16 Miles F3YO $75,000 Belmont 7/13 Rockville Centre Stakes 6 Furlongs 2YO $125,000 Saratoga 7/31 Evan Shipman Stakes 1 1/8 Miles 3&UP $100,000 Saratoga 8/4 NYSS, Cab Calloway Division 1 Mile (T) 3YO $100,000 Saratoga 8/4 NYSS, Statue of Liberty Division 1 Mile (T) F3YO $100,000 Finger Lakes 8/9 Niagara Stakes 6 Furlongs F3YO $50,000 Saratoga 8/14 Saratoga Dew Stakes 1 1/8 Miles F&M 3&UP $100,000 Saratoga 8/15 John Morrissey Stakes 6 1/2 Furlongs 3&UP $100,000 Finger Lakes 8/16 Ontario County Stakes 6 Furlongs 3YO $50,000 Saratoga 8/21 Union Avenue Stakes 6 1/2 Furlongs F&M 3&UP $100,000 Saratoga 8/24 Albany Stakes 1 1/8 Miles 3YO $250,000 Saratoga 8/24 Fleet Indian Stakes 1 1/8 Miles F3YO $200,000 Saratoga 8/24 West Point S. Presented by Trustco 1 1/16 Miles (T) 3&UP $150,000 Saratoga 8/24 Yaddo Stakes 1 1/16 Miles (T) F&M 3&UP $150,000 Saratoga 8/24 Funny Cide Stakes 6 1/2 Furlongs 2YO $200,000 Saratoga 8/24 Seeking the Ante Stakes 6 1/2 Furlongs F2YO $200,000 Finger Lakes 9/6 Aspirant Stakes 6 Furlongs 2YO $100,000 Finger Lakes 9/6 Lady Finger Stakes 6 Furlongs F2YO $100,000 Belmont 9/14 Ashley T. Cole Stakes 1 1/8 Mile (T) 3&UP $125,000 Belmont 9/14 John Hettinger Stakes 1 1/8 Mile (T) F&M 3&UP $125,000 Belmont 9/21 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes 7 Furlongs 2YO $150,000 Belmont 9/21 Joseph A. Gimma Stakes 7 Furlongs F2YO $150,000 Finger Lakes 10/4 New York Breeders' Futurity 6 Furlongs 2YO $200,000 Finger Lakes 10/4 Leon Reed Memorial Stakes 6 Furlongs 3&UP $50,000 Finger Lakes 10/4 Arctic Queen Stakes 6 Furlongs F&M 3&UP $50,000 Belmont 10/18 Empire Classic Stakes 1 1/8 Miles 3&UP $300,000 Belmont 10/18 Empire Distaff Stakes 1 1/16 Miles F&M 3&UP $250,000 Belmont 10/18 Mohawk Stakes 1 1/16 Miles (T) 3&UP $200,000 Belmont 10/18 Ticonderoga Stakes 1 1/16 Miles (T) F&M 3&UP $200,000 Belmont 10/18 Sleepy Hollow Stakes 1 Mile 2YO $250,000 Belmont 10/18 Maid of the Mist Stakes 1 Mile F2YO $250,000 Belmont 10/18 Hudson Stakes 6 1/2 Furlongs 3&UP $150,000 Belmont 10/18 Iroquois Stakes 6 1/2 Furlongs F&M 3&UP $150,000 Finger Lakes 11/1 Tin Cup Chalice Stakes 6 Furlongs 2YO $50,000 Finger Lakes 11/1 Shesastonecoldfox Stakes 6 Furlongs F2YO $50,000 Aqueduct 11/16 Notebook Stakes 6 Furlongs 2YO $100,000 Aqueduct 11/16 Key Cents Stakes 6 Furlongs F2YO $100,000 Aqueduct 11/22 NYSS, Staten Island Division 7 Furlongs F&M 3&UP $125,000 Aqueduct 11/22 NYSS, Thunder Rumble Division 7 Furlongs 3&UP $125,000 Aqueduct 12/14 Damon Runyon Stakes 1 Mile 70yds 2YO $100,000 Aqueduct 12/14 East View Stakes 1 Mile 70yds F2YO $100,000 Aqueduct 12/28 NYSS, Great White Way Division 6 Furlongs 2YO $150,000 Aqueduct 12/28 NYSS, Fifth Avenue Division 6 Furlongs F2YO $150,000 Aqueduct 12/31 Bay Ridge Stakes 1 1/16 Miles F&M 3&UP $100,000 Aqueduct 12/31 Alex M. Robb Stakes 1 1/16 Miles 3&UP $100,000