Saturday, December 06, 2008


NYRA 2009 STAKES SKED FEATURES PURSE BUMP TO 13 GRADE 1 RACES


The New York Racing Association, host to the greatest number of Grade 1 Thoroughbred races in North America, will raise the purses on 13 of them offered at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course in 2009. The hikes are part of the 2009 NYRA Stakes Schedule, which was approved by NYRA’s Board of Directors at its monthly meeting on Wednesday. It now awaits approval from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

The total value of the 2009 NYRA Stakes schedule for 177 stakes races is $34,765,000, of which $28,780,000 is for 113 graded stakes races (40 Grade 1 races, 41 Grade 2 races and 32 Grade 3 races). This includes $350,000 for three steeplechase races: the Grade 2, $100,000-added A.P. Smithwick and the Grade 1, $100,000 New York Turf Writers’ Cup at Saratoga, and the Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory during Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet.


Of the 115 Grade 1 races held in North America, 40 are held at NYRA tracks, with Saratoga hosting 15 of them. Of these, the Spa’s Go for Wand, Test, NetJets King’s Bishop, Ballerina, Forego, Spinaway and Three Chimneys Hopeful have had their purses increased.

At Belmont Park, the Acorn, Mother Goose and Prioress will be worth more during the Spring/Summer Meet, while purse increases were granted to the Garden City during Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet and to the Gazelle, which was moved from Belmont to HolidayFest during Thanksgiving Week at Aqueduct’s Fall Meet. Also, Jamaica Handicap for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf was upgraded to Grade 1 status, had its purse increased to $300,000 and will be run on Saturday, October 10.

The biggest races on the 2009 schedule again rank among the most historic and significant in the sport of Thoroughbred racing. The 141st running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes, the 1½-mile “Test of the Champion” and the oldest and final leg of the Tripe Crown for three-year-olds, will be held on Saturday, June 6. The biggest race of Belmont Park’s Fall Championship Meet, the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational at a mile and a quarter, will be run on Saturday, October 3.

Saratoga’s biggest race, the 140th running of the $1 million Shadwell Travers, the “Mid-Summer Derby” for three-year-olds at a mile and a quarter, will be run on Saturday, August 29.

The Grade 1 season in New York will kick off at Aqueduct on Saturday, April 4, with the $750,000 Wood Memorial for three-year-olds at nine furlongs and the $300,000 Carter Handicap for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.

The Grade 1, $300,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile remains the big race of Aqueduct’s Fall Meet on Saturday, November 28, but will now be joined by the aforementioned $300,000 Gazelle for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs. The card will also feature a pair of important Grade 2, $200,000 juvenile races at nine furlongs: the Remsen for two-year-olds and the Demoiselle for two-year-old fillies.

The Gazelle is one of several stakes that have been re-positioned to new spots on the calendar, starting with two turf stakes, the Grade 3, $100,000-added Fort Marcy for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf, and its filly counterpart, the Grade 3 Beaugay, which will move from the end of the Aqueduct meet to Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 2, at the beginning of the Belmont Park Spring/Summer season.

Saratoga schedule shifts include the Grade 2, $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap, which will be run Sunday, August 2, one week earlier than last year. The Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy, the local prep for the Travers, will be held on Saturday, August 1, sharing the bill with the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the turf.

The $750,000 Whitney for three-year-olds and up at nine furlongs moves to the second Saturday of the meet, August 8, joining the $300,000 Test Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs to create a Grade 1 doubleheader. In 2009, both the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs and the Grade 2, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap will be run on Sunday, August 9.

The Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf will be featured on Friday, August 14, the new date for Hall of Fame inductions.

Additionally, the Grade 2, $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap for three-year-olds and up at nine furlongs has been moved up one day to August 28, the Friday before the Shadwell Travers. Both the Grade 1, $300,000 Ballerina for fillies and mares at seven furlongs and the Grade 2, $200,000 Ballston Spa for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth will join the Shadwell Travers day undercard, on Saturday, August 29.

The Grade 3, $150,000 Bold Ruler for three-year-olds and up at seven furlongs was moved from the Belmont Spring meet to the Saturday, October 31 as part of Aqueduct’s Fall Meet, where it will serve as a prep for the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile.

The Grade, 3 $100,000-added, six-furlong Fall Highweight Handicap, which will be run on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, was upgraded for 2009.

Here are the meet-by-meet dates with additional changes and races of note:



AQUEDUCT WINTER/SPRING MEET

82 days, January 1-April 26

Dark Mondays and Tuesday, except:

Open: Mondays, January 19 and February 16

Dark: Wednesdays, January 21 and February 18; Sundays, April 5 and April 12.

Post times: 12:30 a.m. daily (January 1 – March 8)

1 p.m. daily (March 11 – April 26)

The Aqueduct Handicap has been re-named the Evening Attire, in honor of the 2002 Aqueduct Handicap winner who retired in 2008 at the age of 10, will be run on Saturday, January 17 on the inner dirt track. The $65,000-added race is for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a sixteenth.

Aqueduct’s Triple Crown test, the 85th running of the Wood Memorial, will highlight a main track card that not only features the Carter Handicap, but the Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior at nine furlongs and the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore for three-year-olds at seven furlongs on Saturday, April 4.



BELMONT PARK SPRING/SUMMER MEET

64 days, April 29-July 26

Dark Mondays and Tuesdays except:

Open: Monday, May 25

Dark: Wednesday, May 27 and Sunday, June 7

Post times: 1 p.m. daily; Except:

3 p.m. Sunset Fridays, June 12-July 24;

1 p.m. Friday, July 3

TBA Belmont Stakes Day, June 6

The 141st running of the Belmont Stakes heads a card that will include the Grade 1, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter on the turf, the Grade 1, $400,000 Just A Game for fillies and mares at a mile on the turf, the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn for three-year-old fillies at a mile, the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs and the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens for three-year-olds at seven furlongs.

The first Grade 1 race of the Spring/Summer Meet will have a new sponsor. The Grade 1, $600,000 Shadwell Metropolitan Handicap will be held on Monday, May 25. The “Met Mile” is New York’s traditional Memorial Day feature race.

The $400,000 Suburban Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter on Saturday, July 4, previously sponsored by Shadwell, has been changed to Grade 2 status. It will be part of a stellar Independence Day card that will include the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs and Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer for three-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth.

The Cupecoy’s Joy Division and the Spectacular Bid Division of the New York Stallion Series, both carrying $75,000 purses, will be switched from one mile on the main track to seven furlongs on the turf on Sunday, May 31.



SARATOGA RACE COURSE MEET

36 days, July 29-September 7

Dark Tuesdays

Post times: 1 p.m. daily except:

2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 31 and Friday, September, 4

Noon on Shadwell Travers Day, Saturday, August 29

There will be at least one Grade 1 race every Saturday at Saratoga, and the biggest day -- with five graded stakes offerings -- will be Shadwell Travers Day, Saturday, August 29. That day will also feature the $300,000 NetJets King’s Bishop for three-year-olds at seven furlongs and the $300,000 Ballerina for fillies and mares at seven furlongs, both Grade 1 races. The card will also include the Grade 2, $200,000 Ballston Spa for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth, as well as the Grade 3, $100,000-added Victory Ride for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

The Grade 1, $300,000 Forego at seven furlongs will now be a weight-for-age event on Saturday, September 5, and shares the card with the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward for three-year-olds and up at nine furlongs.

The Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at a mile and a half on the turf returns to its traditional spot in the middle of the Saratoga season and will be run on Saturday, August 15.

Receiving an upgrade to Grade 3 status is the $100,000 With Anticipation for two-year-olds at a mile on the turf on Friday, September 4.

A new race, the $80,000-added Riskaverse for three-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf, will be run on Thursday, September 3.



BELMONT PARK FALL CHAMPIONSHIP MEET

33 days, September 11 – October 25

Dark Mondays and Tuesdays except:

Open: Monday, October 12

Dark: Wednesday, October 14

Post time: 1 p.m. daily

The Belmont Fall Championship Meet’s biggest day will be Saturday, October. 3, which will feature five Grade 1 stakes: the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational for three-year-olds and up at a mile and a half on the grass, the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational for fillies and mares at a mile and a quarter on the turf, the $600,000 Beldame for fillies and mares at nine furlongs and the $400,000 Vosburgh for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs.

After a one year absence, the Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green for three-year-olds and up at 11 furlongs on the turf will be moved from Belmont’s spring schedule to the fall on Opening Day, Friday, September 11, to serve as a prep race for the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.

Also in September is a new race, the $100,000 John Hettinger for New York-bred fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the turf on Sunday, September 20. It is named in honor of the late NYRA Trustee, horse owner and advocate.

Steeplechase fans will have their day with Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory at two and a half miles on Sunday, September 20.

New York Showcase Day will be held on Saturday, October 24.



AQUEDUCT FALL MEET

39 days, October 28-December 31

Dark Mondays and Tuesdays; Christmas break, December 14-25

Post times: 12:30 p.m. Daily except:

Noon on Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28

11:25 a.m. on Thursday, November 26 (Thanksgiving Day)

The Grade 1, $300,000 Gazelle moves from Belmont Park to bolster HolidayFest and make Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Day even bigger. The two Grade 1 races are supported by the Remsen and Demoiselle – two Grade 2 events for juveniles and juvenile fillies, respectively.

The $65,000-added Gravesend, which will be run at six furlongs on Saturday, December 26, is no longer a Grade 3 race.


Comments (0)

BallHype: hype it up!

Read more articles in the Aqueduct category.Read more articles in the Belmont Park category.Read more articles in the Saratoga category.