NYRA Suspends Stakes, Cuts Purses for Others

Financial woes have led NYRA to suspend fall stakes and cut the purses of others.

The New York Racing Association has suspended nine stakes and reduced purses for 12 others during its fall meets at Belmont Park and Aqueduct.

More than 30 graded stakes will be offered beginning Sept. 11 with the Belmont meet. The Oct. 2 Breeders’ Cup World Championships prep program remains intact with five grade I events: the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Flower Bowl, Beldame, and Vosburgh.

The cuts come at a tenuous time for NYRA, which continues to await revenue from a yet-to-be-build video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct. About $2 million in purse money will be saved with the reductions.

“Our fall stakes programs rank among the tops in the industry, and we are looking forward to great racing at Belmont Park and Aqueduct,” NYRA president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said in a July 26 statement. “The changes that we made to the meets are a reflection of the current economic climate and the nationwide reductions in the horse population.”

Stakes that won’t be run this year are the Matron (gr. II), Futurity (gr. II), Jerome (gr. II), Lonesome Glory steeplechase, Joseph Gimma, and Bertram Bongard. The events are eligible to return in 2011 with the same graded status under the rules of the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Other grade I races scheduled for the Belmont meet are the Garden City Sept. 28, and the Champagne, Frizette, and Jamaica Oct. 9. Belmont will host New York Showcase Day Oct. 23 with seven New York-bred stakes worth $900,000.

Purses for the Beldame, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, Flower Bowl, Empire Classic, Vosburgh, Champagne, Frizette, Mohawk, Ticonderoga, and Garden City were reduced, NYRA announced.

The Oct. 23 Kelso (gr. II), usually run on the turf, will be run on the dirt.

The Aqueduct fall meet begins Nov. 5. The premier day of racing is Nov. 27, which will feature two grade I stakes, the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile and the Gazelle, and two grade II events, the Remsen and Demoiselle.

Three races—the  New York Stallion Series Cormorant and Perfect Arc Divisions, and the Stuyvesant—are on hiatus this year. Purses for the Cigar Mile and Gazelle were reduced.