Daily Racing Form: Aqueduct 2019 Stakes Program Has Few Changes

Besides changes to the New York Claiming Championship Day and the addition of one stakes race, the program mirrors that of 2018.

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

Visit DRF.com for additional news, notes, wagering information, and more.

David Grening, Daily Racing Form

David Grening covers the New York Racing Association circuit of Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga plus such national events as the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. He is a contributing author to "Champions" and joined Daily Racing Form in 1998.


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