(from NYRA release)
Aqueduct's Bed o' Roses and Next Move Handicaps are going on hiatus this spring, the New York Racing Association announced Dec. 4, along with other changes in the track's 2010 stakes schedule.
The $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 3 will once again anchor the $2.25-million Aqueduct graded stakes line-up, which includes 10 races for the 81-day meet that begins Jan. 1.
Under a revised schedule approved by the NYRA Board of Directors, the Bed o' Roses will be replaced by the $150,000 Distaff (gr. II) on April 17. The Distaff will be run at seven furlongs in 2010, the same distance as the Bed o' Roses, which was recently lowered to grade III status by the American Graded Stakes Committee.
NYRA also shelved the 1 1/8-mile Next Move for fillies and mares after the committee dropped it to ungraded status. In its stead, NYRA will reinstate the historic Ladies Handicap, which was first run in 1868. After a year’s absence, the $100,000 Ladies will be run at 1 1/8 miles March 27.
In other changes, the purse for the April 10 Comely for 3-year-old fillies was reduced to $100,000 from $150,000 after it was downgraded to grade III.
The purse for the Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 3 was reduced to $250,000 from $300,000. The American Graded Stakes Committee has established a minimum purse of $250,000 for grade I races in 2010.
The remainder of the 2010 NYRA stakes schedule will be announced at a later date. The stakes schedule for the winter/spring meet, which also includes 19 listed and New York-bred stakes worth more than $1.3 million, now awaits final approval from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
“In the current economic climate and with other racing jurisdictions reducing racing days and adjusting their stakes schedule, we feel that it is prudent to make the decision on the Aqueduct stakes program only at this time,” said Charles Hayward, NYRA president and CEO. “We plan to monitor and review handle trends over the next three months, which will allow us to keep the proper balance between the stakes program and the overnight purses going forward.”
A trio of stakes rings in the New Year, with the $65,000 Interborough for fillies and mares going six furlongs on Jan. 1, the $65,000 Count Fleet for 3-year-olds at 1 mile, 70 yards on Jan. 2, and the $65,000 Ruthless for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs on Jan. 3.
The graded stakes season kicks off March 6 with the $100,000 Toboggan (gr. III) at six furlongs and the $250,000 Gotham (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
The Big A’s Triple Crown test, the 86th running of the Wood Memorial, highlights a main track card on April 3 that includes the Carter at seven furlongs, the $200,000 Excelsior Breeders’ Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles, and the $200,000 Bay Shore (gr. III) for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs.
The Excelsior is now part of the Breeders’ Cup supplemental stakes program, offering a base purse of $150,000, with horses that have been nominated to the Breeders’ Cup eligible for the extra $50,000 in added purse money.