12/04/2013 5:28PM

Aqueduct: Gotham, Withers get purse boosts

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Aqueduct’s road to the Triple Crown is paved with even more gold as two of the four Kentucky Derby prep races restricted to 3-year-olds received purse increases for 2014, according to the stakes schedule approved Wednesday by the New York Racing Association Board of Directors.

The Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, run on March 1, received a $100,000 increase to $500,000, while the Grade 3 Withers Stakes, run on Feb. 1, got bumped $50,000 to $250,000. Both races, run over the inner track at 1 1/16 miles, lead to the $1 million Wood Memorial, run April 5 over the main track at 1 1/8 miles. The first race in the series, the Grade 2 Jerome, run at a mile and 70 yards on Jan. 4, retained its $200,000 purse.

While the Jerome did not receive a purse increase, it has been added by Churchill Downs to the list of races offering qualifying points for the May 3 Kentucky Derby. The Jerome is a 17 point race (10-4-2-1), as is the Withers. The Gotham offers 85 points (50-20-10-5) while the Wood offers 170 points (100-40-20-10).

The Wood tops the Aqueduct schedule, which offers 31 stakes (13 graded) worth a total of $6 million. Last year, Aqueduct scheduled 29 stakes worth $5.175 million. A pair of New York Stallion Stakes, each worth $100,000, will be run closing weekend at Aqueduct after having been run opening weekend at Belmont last spring. Racing at Aqueduct runs through April 27.

The Wood tops an April 5 card that features five stakes, including the Grade 1 Carter, which received a $100,000 purse increase to $500,000. The undercard also includes the Grade 2 Gazelle, for 3-year-old fillies, and the Grade 3 Bay Shore, for 3-year-old sprinters, both of which had their purses bumped $50,000 to $300,000. The Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian for fillies and mares at one mile is also on that card.
The Gazelle is one of three races that offer qualifying points toward the May 2 Kentucky Oaks. The Busanda (Jan. 4) and the Busher (Feb. 1) each offer 17 points and the Gazelle is a 170-point race. Princess of Sylmar won the Busanda – which did not offer points last year – and the Busher, and was second in the Gazelle before winning the Kentucky Oaks.

Ten stakes that were worth $75,000 last winter will be worth $100,000 this year. That includes the Ladies Handicap and the Affectionately Stakes, which swapped positions on the calendar. The Affectionately, run at 1 1/16 miles, will be run New Year’s Day, while the Ladies, run at 1 1/8 miles, is scheduled for Jan. 25.

The board approved the stakes schedule only for Aqueduct, but it also approved 252 racing dates for the entire year at the three NYRA tracks. Belmont’s 57-day spring meet will run from May 1 through July 14 and, for the first time since 2007, there will be racing the day after the Belmont Stakes.

Saratoga’s 40-day meet will run from July 18 through Sept. 1, while Belmont’s 37-day fall meet begins Sept. 6 and runs through Oct. 26 before racing switches back to Aqueduct on Oct. 31.

Shawn NH More than 1 year ago
Great news raise the purses and stick it to the fans. Should be free to get into any track yet NYRA raises it to $5.
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
These purses are a total joke. They should just direct deposit the money in the Owners bank account. The 2yo are horrible! Maidens are going to be able to race for 500k in there second race! It's total lunacy. Save the purse money for the older established horses. These soon to be 3yo don't deserve it. As far as I'm concerned they should offer derby points in MSW and N1X.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Although sometimes there may be a surprise, how many legitimate Derby hopefuls run over that inner track?
lancelawson33 More than 1 year ago
If they want to raise revenue why not just make people pay to read all of the articles on NYRA.com?? They can call in NYRA+
Mikethemessenger465 More than 1 year ago
Incorrect information. The Busanda did offer Oaks points in 2013, the Busher did not. Both do this coming year.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
And they are raising admission as well? lol Clueless NYRA.
Guy John More than 1 year ago
How does the Jerome get awarded Derby points and The Illinois Derby ($750k purse) is still awarded 0? So the Jerome and BC Juvenile are worth the same...so stupid! The BC Juvenile winner should get no points but an automatic birth to Derby. Most winners don't make it there anyhow so who cares, but the special ones that do could stagger their spring schedule and we could finally get a TC winner to save the sport.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Ask Churchill Downs who owns Arlington Park, why Hawthorne. Illinois derby does not get Derby points. Pretty Simple Answer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exactly my point. CDI is a bully, and the thing is, the horsemen are letting them get away with it.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Im glad they had that fall off in there fall meeting handle Like 28 percent. Churchill is a great place, but what they are doing is wrong.
nick More than 1 year ago
Almost, Anonymous. I think really it is the Illinois racing board that let's CDI get away from it. The instant CDI last year took away the Illinois Derby's status the IRB should have responded in kind. They should have restructured the Illinois racing dates to give Hawthorne racing during the Ky. Derby so they could have the revenue. Illinois racing right now is on the verge of a massive shutdown due to lack of a funding law. The law has only one or two days at the end of Januuary to get passed and if it doesn't, racing schedules will be cut WAY back. Hawthorne will only get 15 days, Arlington will only get 49. See how Hawthorne gets screwed? After CDI didn't give the Illinois Derby any points, if I was the IRB I would've given Haw 49 dates and Arl. 15 dates as payback.