OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association will offer 52 stakes worth $7.37 million at Aqueduct in the first third of 2019, according to the schedule it released Friday.
Aside from a few changes to the New York Claiming Championship Day on March 30 and the addition of the $100,000 Bernardini Stakes, the stakes program virtually mirrors that of 2018. The Bernardini, at 1 5/16 miles, will be run March 2.
New York’s series of 3-year-old races that offer qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby remains intact. That series begins with the $150,000 Jerome, a one-turn mile, on New Year’s Day, and continues with the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 2 and the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham Stakes, a one-turn mile, on March 9. The series concludes with the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial at 1 1/8 miles on April 6.
The Jerome and Withers offer 17 Derby points (10-4-2-1) to its top four finishers, while the Gotham offers 85 (50-20-10-5) and the Wood offers 180 (100-40-20-10).
The April 6 card will be the highlight of the Aqueduct schedule, with five graded stakes: the Grade 1 Carter Handicap, the Wood, Grade 2 Gazelle, Grade 3 Bay Shore, and Grade 3 Excelsior.
The March 9 card, topped by the Gotham, also includes the $250,000 Busher Invitational, Grade 2, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap, and the $150,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational.
The Busher, a one-turn mile; the Busanda, a two-turn 1 1/8-mile race on Feb. 3; and the Gazelle, a two-turn 1 1/8-mile race, offer qualifying points to the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
On March 30, there will be 10 starter races billed as stakes for claimers. The $90,000 Mr. Sinatra and the $80,000 Karakorum Elektra have been eliminated, replaced by the Dads Caps and Belle Gallantey, each worth $45,000 and for horses that started for a tag of $8,000 in 2018-19.
There will be 60 days of racing at Aqueduct from Jan. 1 through April 20. Racing will be on a four-day-a-week basis in January and February and three days a week in March. The spring April meet will be only 12 days, beginning April 5.
Racing moves to Belmont on April 26.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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