Edited from NYRA track notesThe first stakes offering of the inner dirt track season will be Saturday afternoon with the 97th running of the grade 3, $100,000-added Queens County Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and three-sixteenths. This race has an interesting history, and counts among its winners two-time victor Roamer (1915, 1918); Grey Lag (1922); Zev (1923), back-to-back winner Halcyon (1931-'32); Triple Crown winner War Admiral (1938); back-to-back winner Three Rings (1949-'50); Bold Ruler (1957); Best Turn (1970); Cox's Ridge (1977; Personal Flag (1987) and last year's winner, Evening Attire. Expected here are Cat's At Home (115 pounds), Country Be Gold (112 pounds), Docent (115 pounds), Jarf (115 pounds), Nothing Flat (115 pounds), Pleasant Breeze (115 pounds), Snake Mountain (117 pounds) and Tempest Fugit (113 pounds). Berkshire Stud's Snake Mountain has won two straight for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, including the grade 3, nine-furlong Stuyvesant Handicap on the main track here on November 5, defeating Windsor Castle by a half length and Docent by a length and three-quarters. On Sunday, the feature race will be the 65th running of the $75,000 East View Stakes for two-year-old, New York-bred fillies at a mile and a sixteenth. Named for the estate of the late James Butler, founder of the defunct Empire City racetrack which was located on the current site of Yonkers Raceway, the East View was run for colts and geldings and its roster of victors includes Sport Page (1948), Tom Fool (1951) and Native Dancer (1952). Likely to face the starter for Sunday's renewal are Beautiful America, Cloud Counting, Combanchera, Coo Cold Bird, Marc's Rainbow and Market Guru, while Biogio's Beauty and Manny's Gold Maker are questionable. Owned by Chester and Mary Broman, Beautiful America is a daughter of Dixie Brass and has won four of five career starts, including her last three starts: the Joseph A. Gimma, the Maid of the Mist and a division of the New York Stallion Series. Combanchera, a Seattle Slew filly owned by Anstu Stable, suffered the only loss of her three-race career in the Maid of the Mist on Belmont's New York Showcase Day, where she was beaten a half-length by Beautiful America. Alfredo Juarez Jr. is among the riders who will be trying New York during Aqueduct's inner dirt track season. A native of Mexico City, Juarez is the son of a jockey who was a regular rider on the New Mexico circuit. Juarez Jr. has plied his trade at Emerald Downs and in Chicago.The younger Juarez is also the answer to trivia question. He is one of four jockeys to have ridden 2002 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell winner War Emblem, and helped that horse overcome his problems as a two-year-old. The other three? Larry Sterling Jr., Jamie Theriot and Victor Espinoza. For the remainder of the National Football League's regular season, fans may enter Aqueduct's popular Pick the Pros and Ponies contest for free each Sunday by selecting the winners of the 3rd and 5th races and four designated 1 p.m. (Eastern) NFL games for a weekly prize of $1,000. All entries must be received by 1 p.m. In the event there is no winner, the weekly prize is carried over to the following Sunday. The United States Marine Corps' annual Toys For Tots drive will be held at Aqueduct on Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15.
Any fan that brings in a new, unwrapped toy on either day will be given free admission. Also on Saturday, December 14, fans will be able to participate in Aqueduct's Stocking Stuffer Giveaway.