Coglianese Photos

NY-Bred Stakes Program Adds 2014 Enhancements

Schedule consists of 69 New York-bred stakes races worth $8.6 million.

New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. has announced enhancements and purse increases for New York-bred stakes races to be run at the three New York Racing Association racetracks and at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in 2014.

According to a release from the breeders' organization, 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 Finger Lakes," and it includes the addition of five new races for 2-year-olds and the introduction of a Saratoga Showcase Day.

"The New York-bred stakes program is in a class by itself," NYTB executive director Jeffrey Cannizzo said in a statement. "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 consists 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 Finger Lakes. The purses for New York-bred stakes run by NYRA have increased by $485,000 compared with 2013.

The five new races for 2-year-olds to be hosted by NYRA increases 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 Finger Lakes. 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," NYRA senior vice president of racing operations Martin Panza stated. "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."

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, consisting of 10 races worth $1.3 million at NYRA tracks and four races worth $325,000 at Finger Lakes.

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 and six worth $300,000 are scheduled at Finger Lakes.

Some of the state-bred stakes 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.

Also this year, Saratoga will play host to one of the popular all New York-bred showcase cardsthe Saratoga Showcasescheduled for Aug. 24, the day after the Travers Stakes (gr. I). Featuring six stakes, the event is modeled on the original New York-Bred Showcase program at Belmont in October (now, Empire Showcase Day) and the Big Apple Showcase card run at Belmont on the Saturday before the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), which was added to the NYRA racing calendar in 2013. A chronological list of all New York-bred stakes races for the year, with tables breaking down the New York-bred stakes races by conditions of age and sex appear on the "Stakes Schedule" section of the NYTB website.