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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

First Look at the New York Derby Trail

The New NYRA, which is led by its new Reorganization Board, held their first public board meeting today at the New York State offices in Manhattan. One of its first orders of business was to approve the new NYRA mission statement: “Meeting the highest standards in thoroughbred racing and equine safety.”
 
The new Board Chair David Skorton elaborated on the goals of the new NYRA, “Today’s meeting signifies a renewed focus of making New York’s Thoroughbred horse racing a model for the rest of the nation, including an emphasis on equine health and safety. My colleagues on the Reorganization Board are committed to learning from each other and the public and to working with NYRA management to better serve the horse racing industry and its fans. As we did with today’s meeting, the Board will continue to work in an open, accountable and effective manner, as NYRA is an integral and important part of New York’s culture and part of what makes our state a national leader in so many areas.”
 
Also on the agenda at today’s meeting was the announcement of the entire 2013 stakes schedule, which includes the New York trail to the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown. With the movement of a race and the adjustment of dates, NYRA will now offer a Derby prep race at Aqueduct in every month starting in January.

 
The Jerome Handicap (G2), which was run in April in 2012, has been moved to January. The Withers (G3) is scheduled for February and the Gotham (G2) will be run in March. The $1,000,000 Wood Memorial (G1) is the April feature of the New York Derby Trail.
 
The Belmont Stakes, which is the final jewel of the Triple Crown will be on Saturday, June 8th. The card on Belmont Day will include four other graded stakes races.  The Brooklyn Handicap, which was run on the Belmont card, instead will be run on Friday in 2013.
 
For 2013, I will change my traditional Derby Top 10 to a list of New York-based horses that are contenders for the Kentucky Derby. In this first list the horses are listed in order, based on Road to the Derby points.
 
Last race – 1st Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) – 1 mile 1/16th – BSF 82
Record – 5: 5-0-0 - $1,687,000
Road to the Derby points– 20 – Rank 1
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – Rosie Napravnik
 
Last race – 1st Remsen (G2) – 1 mile 1/8th – BSF 99
Record – 5: 3-0-1 - $343,906
Road to the Derby points – 10 – Rank 4
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – Ramon Dominguez
 
Last race – 2nd  Delta Jackpot (G2) – 1 mile 1/16th  
Record – 6: 3-2-1 - $616,000
Road to the Derby points – 4 – Rank 10
Trainer – Kelly Breen
Rider – Paco Lopez
 
Last race – 3rd Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) – 1 mile 1/16th  
Record – 4: 1-0-2 - $288,000
Road to the Derby points – 4 – Rank 12
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – Joel Rosario
 
Last race – 2nd Remsen (G2) – 1 mile 1/8th – BSF 99
Record – 3: 1-0-1 - $92,240
Road to the Derby points – 4 – Rank 16
Trainer – Chad Brown
Rider – Jose Lezcano
 
Last race – 4th Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) – 1 mile 1/16th  
Record – 4: 1-1-1 - $268,000
Road to the Derby points – 3 – Rank 18
Trainer – Kiaran McLaughlin
Rider – Ramon Dominguez
 
Last race – 3rd Remsen (G2) – 1 mile 1/8th – BSF 96
Record – 3: 1-1-1 - $84,800
Road to the Derby points – 2 – Rank 23
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – JJ Castellano
 
Last race – 4th Champagne (G1) – 1 mile
Record – 2: 1-0-0 - $68,000
Road to the Derby points – 1 – Rank 30
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – John Velazquez
 
Last race – 1st Nashua (G1) – 1 mile
Record – 2: 2-0-0 - $168,000
Road to the Derby points – 0
Trainer – Todd Pletcher
Rider – JJ Castellano
 
 
 
  

 

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Older Comments about First Look at the New York Derby Trail...

john.gibson--I think all of the Pletcher horses on the list are targeting the Derby. Violence will try the artificial surface at BHP this weekend. The more chances to survive to the Derby the better. Yes, his best horses are in FL.
I see that Team Pletcher trains 60% of your list. How many colts do you think that they have pointed to the Derby? Is their "first string" in Florida?
Bobby Flay is one of the few people who see the VLT money for what is. He complained about the tracks being in poor condition and that the slots money covers up the deficiencies in racing and its wagering product. He said that this has to be reversed. I predict that Bobby Flay will be the best thing to happen to NY racing in a long time. We need more people like him to improve racing so that the slots money can be used wisely and not a crutch for a poor product.
One of the best comments coming out of this open meeting of the NYRA is that of Bobby Flay who is promising to be a strong advocate for the racing fans. He said that racing has to improve dramatically to attract fans back to the game. He spoke about losing market share to other sports and that he is determined to bring back the luster to horse racing. More power to him and others on this new board. A huge improvement from the Hayward and McClain board.
Remember the Wood Memorial is run on the AQU main track, not the inner. The inner winter track has a reputation for speed bias, but that isn't really true.
You know what gets lost in all of this striving for that first Saturday in May? The logically based trainer who see these preps for what they are:LEARNING experiences. Their colt does not have to win them, just gain in experience and confidence on the way to the big dance. I don't know how many times those without a clue as to understanding what these preps actually mean to a young colt's education, jumping OFF the band wagon as soon as they do not show 1 1 1 1 in their past peformances. Unbridled, and many others prepped perfectly but did not have all those wins yet triumphed when it counted. A good performance can be within a non winning one many times .......and OVERLOOKED.
might be a good idea to have earlier preps, but just not on that BIASED track...That is the buggaboo.
I thought it was strange to see the Withers in February ... even more weird to see the Jerome in January.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

 

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