"Every year, it seems that the horsemen want more and more time between races for their horses, especially if they plan on running in the Triple Crown races," said Mike Lakow, racing secretary for the New York Racing Associatiion. "So, putting the Wood Memorial back a week gives them time to get their horses on top of their game, particularly if they expect to run in the Derby, come back in two weeks for the Preakness and three weeks after that run in the Belmont Stakes."On the same card as the Wood, two other stakes will be run, both at seven furlongs: the grade I Carter Handicap will be for 3-year-olds and up, the grade III Bay Shore for 3-year-olds.
The prep lineup for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is continuing to change. The Florida Derby (gr. I) had previously been announced as moving to five weeks before the Derby. Now, the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct is being moved from three weeks to four weeks out.This leaves the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) to be run three weeks prior to the Derby.The Wood will be contested on April 9. The 1 1/8-mile race will have a purse in 2005 of $750,000.