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NYRA Releases 2013 AQU/BEL Stakes Schedule

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Reorganization Board has approved and released the stakes schedules for Aqueduct Racetrack’s 2013 winter/spring meet and Belmont Park’s 2013 spring/summer meet, with the anticipated calendar for the remainder of the year released pending board approval.


The Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial on Saturday, April 6 is the centerpiece of 13 graded stakes worth $3.85 million for the 77-day meet which begins on January 1. The Wood is also the culmination of a revamped 3-year-old stakes program which kicks off on January 5 with the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome, relocated from the position it has held at the end of the meet in recent years, and supported also by the Grade 3, $200,000 Withers on February 2 and the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham on March 2.


Sophomore fillies are also granted expanded options in 2013, with the 1 1/16-mile Busher Stakes, held last year in late February and worth $75,000, moved to February 2 with the purse boosted to $100,000. On Wood Memorial Day, the Grade 2, $200,000 Gazelle at 1 1/8 miles replaces the Grade 3, one-mile Comely on the undercard, serving as a suitable prep for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 3.


The Wood Day undercard also features the return of the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian Handicap at one mile for fillies and mares, along with the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap at seven furlongs for older sprinters, and the seven-furlong, Grade 3, $250,000 Bay Shore for 3-year-olds.


Aqueduct’s slate of graded stakes also includes the Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan on Saturday, February 2; the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap and the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap on Gotham Day, March 2; the Grade 3, $150,000 Excelsior on March 9; and the Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap.


In total, the Big A will offer 16 listed and New York-bred stakes, beginning New Year’s Day with the $75,000 Interborough and the $75,000 Ladies.


The Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 8 is the cornerstone of the 2013 Belmont spring/summer meet, which will run 56 days from April 26 to July 14 with a total of 26 graded stakes worth $8.1 million.


The Belmont Stakes Day undercard is bolstered by four additional graded stakes: the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on the turf; the Grade 1, $500,000 Just a Game for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf; the Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens at seven furlongs for 3-year-olds; and the Grade 2, $400,000 Truth North Handicap for older sprinters.


New to the schedule at Belmont is the addition of a spring New York Showcase Day on June 1. Five existing races for New York-breds (The Kingston, Mount Vernon, Affirmed Success, Mike Lee and Bouwerie) have been moved to this special card, and will be joined by two new races, the $100,000 Dancing Renee at seven furlongs for fillies and mares, and the $150,000 Commentator at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds and up.


Another notable change to the Belmont spring/summer calendar is a date change for the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride, which was moved to June 29, now four weeks ahead of the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress at Saratoga Race Course. The New York Stallion Stakes Cupecoy’s Joy and Spectacular Bid divisions were also moved, shifting from early June to June 30 to allow competitors on NYRA’s spring Showcase Day the opportunity to run back.


“We believe the changes made to the Aqueduct winter/spring meet truly enhance NYRA’s stakes program,” said NYRA Vice President and Director of Racing P. J. Campo. “With the Jerome added to the calendar in January, a graded stake for 3-year-olds now exists during every month of the winter meeting, and sophomore fillies now have a rich, Grade 2 prep for the Oaks in the relocated Gazelle. The restoration of the Ruffian offers a great opportunity for filly and mare routers on the East Coast.”


“At the Belmont spring/summer meet, New York-breds will have another day to shine,” Campo continued. “Other schedule changes allow for better spacing. We’re very pleased with the amendments and hope that horsemen and fans share our excitement.”


The Aqueduct winter/spring and Belmont spring/summer stakes schedules were approved by the NYRA Reorganization Board. Stakes schedules for the remainder of the year will be addressed by the board at a later date and appear in the attached schedule pending board approval. NYRA’s 2013 race dates are subject to approval by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. All schedules are subject to change.




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