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A New York State of Racing

The Best of New York Stakes in 2012

From Feb. 4th to Nov. 24th there were a total of 102 graded stakes races run at the NYRA tracks of Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. I have gone through the results of these races and have selected my six favorite New York stakes of 2012.
NYRA is a political football, and it has always been. There appears to be no way to get around that. Whether it was the fight for the renewal of the NYRA franchise, or the recent takeover and restructuring of NYRA by Governor Cuomo, the day-to-day operation of Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga, it is clouded and hampered by New York politics. There are times during the year when NYRA bashing becomes sport, a sport that plays out in the social media, in the blogs, and in the traditional press.
Through all of this, NYRA puts out the best racing in the country and this blog entry is meant to remind us of that and to highlight the best of the best.
At the end of the blog you will find a spreadsheet listing the winners of all 102 of the stakes. Please feel free to comment about your favorites.
March 3 – Gotham Stakes (G3) – Hansen reasserted his presence on the 2012 Derby Trail with his victory in a field of 13 horses.

May 28 – Met Mile (G1) – The immensely popular Shackleford defeated a very strong field in the Met Mile. Track announcer Tom Durkin said that Shackleford ran, “furlong after powerful furlong,” and was still able to hold off the late charge of Caleb’s Posse.
June 9 – Belmont Stakes (G1) – With the scratch of I'll Have Another and the disappointment that there would not be a try for the Triple Crown, Union Rags saved the day with what Durkin called “A thrilling rendition of the Test of Champions." With a second place finish, Paynter began what was to be an emotional roller coaster for his owners, the Zayats, and his devoted followers.
July 28 – Diana (G1) – Winter Memories won her final career start with her trademark explosive stretch run to win a race that included Zagora, the probable female turf champion of 2012. In the video you will hear Tom Durkin exclaim, “Look at Winter Memories kick away.”
August 11 – Fourstardave Handicap (G2) – We got to see probable Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, win on the Saratoga turf. The stretch call was, “Wise Dan dashes to the lead. The versatile Wise Dan scores an impressive victory over the yielding going today.”

August 29 – Travers Stakes (G1) – The Travers did not have one of its strongest fields, but the dead heat finish of Alpha and Golden Ticket more than made up for it.  




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Older Comments about The Best of New York Stakes in 2012...

One that you didn't mention that stood out for me was the recent Cigar Mile between Stay Thirsty and Groupie Doll. The stretch run was definitely a highlight ... although the result of the photo was a bit of a lowlight.
Mary, I think Spurious Precision would have given SB a run for his money.
Well done Matt! My personal NY favorite was the DEAD HEAT in the Travers.
I have been going to the Travers since 1985 and this has to be one of the weakest fields in that time, it was a very exciting race though. My favorite New York race was the Met Mile. The mile division was very good this year and Shackleford won one of the strongest Met Miles in many years. Willy Beamin winning the Kings Bishop on such short rest was pretty impressive also.
Yeah Caixa is a neat horse who had a great year. Point of Entry's 3 G1's stand out too...
Spurious Precision, Saratoga Special winner, R.I.P.
Yes, Andy/Matt, I like horses that can win/run well in NY, besides my Cali favs. I like to see horses succeed after they move up, when they can. Adding Tapitsfly's Just A Game, the Winter Memories race you mentioned, Contested's Test, Willie Beamin's King's Bishop, surface change for Dominus in the Bernard Baruch(he wasn't exactly ready for the Shadwell after that though--overly ambitious), you also mentioned the Travers, but Alpha in general. I just liked something about him. He anthropomorphically showed that he liked to win.
Flat Out's repeat in the JCGC.
Mary Z. -- Caixa and Saginaw are two tough battlers and former claimers and you have to love them.
Personal favorite '12 NY races in chronological order: Inner track owner Calibrachoa in the Toboggan and his last race, the Tom Fool, Royal Delta's Beldame (watched at least twenty times), Caixa Eletronica in the Fall Highweight--good claim. Check that out. Won over $1 mil this year at age 7.

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 Meet Matt Shifman 

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. 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.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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