by Karen M. Johnson
Jockey Ramon Dominguez and trainer Gary Contessa won their respective titles and set records when Aqueduct concluded its 2007-08 inner-track meet March 30. Racing switches to the main track April 2.
Dominguez, 31, booted home 113 winners, 33 more than runner-up Alan Garcia. The number of Dominguez’s wins represent an inner-track record, which previously was held by Eibar Coa (105 wins) in 2005-06.
Contessa, 50, tightened the girth on 82 winners, and surpassed his own record for wins which he set at the 2006-07 meet (72 wins). Contessa trains for Steve Sigler’s Winning Move Stable, which led owners at the 2007-08 meet with 51 wins.
Trainer Bruce Levine finished second with 52 winners. Repole Stable, one of Levine’s clients, ranked second among owners with 16 visits to the winner’s circle.
The return of racing to the main track marks the return of seven-furlong races. Mile races, which were run around two turns on the inner surface, will now be contested around one turn on the main track.
The first grass stakes of the year in New York, the $100,000 Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT), is scheduled for April 26.
The centerpiece of Aqueduct’s 20-day main track meet is the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) April 5. The Wood Memorial, New York’s final prep for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will be joined on the card by the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I), the $200,000 Excelsior Handicap (gr. III), and the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III).
War Pass, looking to atone for his last-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 15, is scheduled to run in the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial.