"We felt it would benefit the horsemen that are returning from Florida to have the Gotham moved back," said New York Racing Association Secreatary/Handicapper Mike Lakow. "That would allow more horses to come back from the 3-year-old races in Florida and give them a chance to run in the Wood."
Aqueduct is gearing up for its 2004 Winter/Spring meeting, which opens Jan. 1. The 49-day Winter Meet will run through March 7, followed by the 38-day Spring Meet from March 10-May 2. Aqueduct will offer 34 stakes races, with 16 being graded. The April 10 Wood Memorial and Carter Handicap, both are grade I events. In all, the stakes program at Aqueduct will be worth $4.4 million.The only significant change in the 2004 Aqueduct Winter/Spring schedule is the placing of the $200,000 Gotham (gr. III), which will be run on March 20. The one-turn, one-mile race on the main track for 3-year-olds is a major prep for the Wood Memorial -- in 2004 it will now be contested three weeks before the Wood.