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Monday, December 08, 2008


AQUEDUCT NOTES; Sunday, Dec.7, 2008


The United States Marine Corps's annual "Toys for Tots" program was a big winner at Aqueduct Racetrack over the weekend.

Trainer Gary Contessa pledged 10 percent of his earnings on Saturday to the cause, and that total was matched by the New York Racing Association. The minimum to Toys for Tots was $2,000.

Meanwhile, Big A fans and employees contributed four giant boxes of new toys. Cash contributions were still being calculated on Sunday.


USMC Major Chuck Kilbride and Gunnery Sergeant Alexander Mesa represented The Marines, and NYRA President and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Hayward made the presentation of the donations.

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The weekend also helped Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, as fans donated $1 to the center and received a NYRA free giveaway item.

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Wednesday begins the final week of live racing at Aqueduct before the Christmas break.

There will be no live racing at Aqueduct Racetrack from Monday, December 15-through Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25, but the Big A will offer simulcasting during the holiday season.

Simulcasting on such tracks as Tampa Bay Downs, Calder Race Course, Laurel Park, Fair Grounds and Hollywood Park will be offered at Aqueduct from Monday, December 15 through Tuesday, December 23. There will be no charge for admission or general parking, and admission and parking entrances will open at 11:30 a.m. Mutuels will open approximately at noon and will remain open until approximately 6:30 p.m.

Simulcating will be restricted to the second-floor clubhouse, and the Man o'War Room, Kelso Room and Big A Grill will be open. The dining room, grandstand and Equestris/Skyline will be closed.

Daily Racing Form's $6 simulcast edition will be available on the first floor at the top of the escalator, and DRF's $3 all-tracks program will also be on sale.

There will be no live racing or simulcasting at Aqueduct on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24 or Christmas Day, Thursday, December 25.

Live racing will resume at Aqueduct on Friday, December 26 with first-race post at 12:30 p.m.

Kane Hekili defeated Meisho Tokon by a head Sunday in the ninth running of the Group 1, $2.4 million Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin Racecourse. Defending champion Vermilion was third in a very close race; in fact, the margins between first and 10th in the15-horse field were: a head, a neck, a length and three-quarters, a head, a length, a nose, a length and three-quarters and a nose.

The top four finishers - Sunrise Bacchus was fourth - are all six-year-olds. Blue Concorde, the fifth-place finisher, is eight.

The winning time for the 1,800 meters (about nine furlongs) was 1:49.2.

Three-year-old Casino Drive, winner of Belmont Park's Grade 2 Peter Pan, was sixth.

New York-bred three-year-old Tin Cup Chalice, who swept the OTB's Big Apple Triple and earned a $250,000 bonus when he won Saratoga's Albany back in August, was 13th. The five-year-old Aqueduct-based Frost Giant was 12th.

The American Mast Track was scratched.

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Aqueduct's feature race for Saturday, December 13, will be the 103rd running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Queens County Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and three-sixteenths on the inner dirt track.

Expected are Brilliant Son, Dry Martini, Researcher, Sir Whimsey and Temporary Saint.

Sunday, December 14, will feature the 138th running of the $75,000 Ladies Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile and a quarter.

Likely here are Julie B, Laguna, Plateada, Nijinsky Bullet, Rap Tale and Sweet Goodbye. Weathered is questionable.


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