11/02/2011 1:41PM

Aqueduct begins long winter run with Turnback the Alarm


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It will be slots of fun at Aqueduct on Friday as the New York racing scene shifts nine miles or so down the Belt Parkway and takes a quantum leap into a new era.

One week after the first of what will eventually be three floors of video lottery terminals and electronic table games opened for business at Resorts World New York – formerly the Aqueduct grandstand – the 37-day fall meet gets under way with a special first-race post of 1:15 p.m. Beginning Saturday, first post will be 12:20 p.m., except for an 11:25 a.m. start Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24; and 12 p.m. starts Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26.

Racing will be conducted on the main track through Sunday, Nov. 27, after which the inner-dirt track will be in use for nearly four months through the last weekend in March. There will be turf racing, weather permitting, until early December. The New York Racing Association has already announced that purses for the 2012 winter-spring meeting will increase by $8.6 million – a 36 percent increase over 2011.

There will be no live racing from Monday, Dec. 19 through Tuesday, Dec. 27, with simulcasting available daily on the second floor of the clubhouse and at the Belmont Café, except for Saturday, Dec. 24 and Sunday, Dec. 25. Live racing will resume Wednesday, Dec. 28.

A total of 11 graded stakes are scheduled in November, the last six to be run over a Thanksgiving weekend billed as “Holidayfest,” highlighted by the Cigar Mile and the Gazelle, the last Grade 1 stakes of the season on Saturday, Nov. 26. The Remsen and Demoiselle for 2-year-olds also will be run that day.

The stakes schedule includes a pair of Grade 3, $100,000 handicaps held over from closing weekend at Belmont Park: the seven-furlong Bold Ruler, which was wiped out by a freak snowstorm and rescheduled for Sunday; and the 1 1/8-mile Turnback the Alarm, which originally failed to fill but was brought back as the opening-day feature.

Five older fillies and mares entered the Turnback the Alarm, which is carded as the fourth of eight races. From the rail out, they are Tiz Miz Sue, the starting highweight at 119 pounds with Rosie Napravnik; Banker’s Buy (Miguel Mena, 114); Arena Elvira (Junior Alvarado, 118); Go Unbridled (Jose Espinoza, 114); and Check Point (Joe Bravo, 115).

Tiz Miz Sue has notched all four of her dirt victories at Delaware Park, where her only loss on the main track was a runner-up finish to Havre de Grace in the Obeah three starts back. The 4-year-old filly has been freshened by trainer Steve Hobby since running third in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign two months ago.

Also making her first start in two months is Arena Elvira, who has won five of her last seven outings for Bill Mott, including a pair of overnight stakes at Saratoga at 1 1/8 miles.

The rescheduling of the Turnback the Alarm enabled Check Point, who won an off-the-turf starter handicap at Belmont by 13 lengths, to come back 15 days later for Alan Goldberg.

Banker’s Buy and Go Unbridled were New York-bred stakes winners at Belmont this season for respective trainers Nick Zito and Allen Jerkens.