12/15/2014 1:47PM

Aqueduct raises purses, adds stakes to spring meet

Barbara D. Livingston
Aqueduct purses will increase for maiden special weight and allowance races for its spring meet.

The New York Racing Association will try to entice horsemen who winter in south Florida to return to New York in early April by raising purses for overnight races and adding a handful of new turf stakes to the Aqueduct spring schedule.

The 19-day meet, which runs April 1-26, will have maiden special weight purses increase by $10,000 to $70,000, while first-, second-, and third-level allowance races will go up by $5,000 apiece and be worth $72,000, $74,000, and $78,000.

“These races comprise the backbone of our racing schedule and will rise in accordance with the new focus on this special meet,” said Martin Panza, the senior vice president of racing operations for NYRA.

On recommendations made by the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, claiming purses are restricted to twice the claiming price for which horses are offered, so those purses cannot increase.

NYRA will offer 14 stakes during the meet, topped by the $1 million Wood Memorial, the final local stepping-stone to the Kentucky Derby. The Wood Memorial will be run April 4 on a card that includes the Grade 1 Carter at seven furlongs, which had its purse cut from $500,000 to $400,000. The Grade 3 Bay Shore and Grade 2 Gazelle – each worth $300,000 – are on the April 4 card, as is the inaugural Danger’s Hour, a $100,000, one-mile turf stakes.

The Danger’s Hour, for 4-year-olds and up, is one of four new turf stakes NYRA has scheduled during the spring meet. The others are the Plenty of Grace, for fillies and mares, and the Woodhaven and Memories of Silver, for 3-year-olds and 3-year-old fillies, respectively.

NYRA cut one sprint stakes for 3-year-old fillies from the winter meet but added the $100,000 Belle Harbor for that division on closing day, April 26.

In one additional change, the Grade 3 Excelsior had its purse raised $50,000 to $200,000 and was extended to 1 1/4 miles from 1 1/8 miles. It will be run April 25.

btr10000 rd More than 1 year ago
Purse splits are 60% for first, 20% for second, 10% for third, 5% for fourth, 3% for fifth. With the money that has already inflated purses and more to come, its time to change the splits. You have to emphasize the need to perform, the need for horses to be run and placed where they belong. Start by changing the win position to a 70% portion. Reduce second finish position to 16% and third to 6%, fourth 3% , Fifth 1%. Paying out beyond betable positions is not good, other then a small set fee to cover jockey and meds. So paying for the fifth finisher is questionable. If slot money goes away you can always change the purse splits then. You have to maintain proper motivation. This is/was a performance based industry. RD
Mikethemessenger465 More than 1 year ago
It is also a money based industry. You start taking money away from the majority of horses and you'll find fewer owners willing to invest in the game.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Well another bunch of poor horses will break down.No one is coning back to that dump.
william More than 1 year ago
on Dec 15, 2004, the handle at AQU was $7.1 million on Dec 15, 2014, the handle at AQU was $4.3 million and somebody can say that horse racing isn't dying? Clowns like the TOYS R US kid couldn't care less about racing. They play 3 card monte with the numbers, telling us how they've brought NYRA back to profitability as give themselves 6 figure bonuses. They only care about the slots....They aren't racing people. They are strictly business people. Being successful as a slots monopoly is a lot easier than running a profitable race track.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Dec. 15 was a Sunday in 2014 and a MONDAY that normally IS NOT a race day in 2015. They were only racing on Monday in order to meet minimum requirements so NYRA can have the Christmas break. Many simulcast locations outside the northeast are closed completely on Mondays and Tuesdays, which is why NYRA rarely races on non-holiday Mondays outside of Saratoga (when many such locations that otherwise close on Mondays do open). That's why the handle dropped, as many people had other things to do.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Walt. There are more places to bet today than 10 years ago. OTB closed yes but more casinos , Vegas , simulcast outlets and most of all online wagering is huge . People bet right from their cell phones now. I see it at the track all the time . There is no shortage of places to bet
Bob More than 1 year ago
Actually the handle at the track is less than everywhere else you can bet it from . Wasn't like this 10-20 years ago . It's the main reason for attendance decline .way to many places you can bet. I didn't even mention TVG or HRTV . It is actually killing the sport not helping it.
william More than 1 year ago
walt...check the handle on any date in 2014 to any corresponding date in 2004 and you'll see a 50% decline in handle....equibase has historical charts where you can get the info for yourself.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Looking forward to wood memorial this year! I'm going to watch this race live in the freezing cold screaming my horses name!
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
NYRA can get away with having turf stakes in April because they are only there through April 26 in 2015 and the turf then has six months and the rest of the spring plus the entire summer and first half of the fall to recover. This year was an aberration because of an unusually bad winter with a lot of storms.
nybredfilly96 More than 1 year ago
Agreed..not going to help field size or the caliber of the entrants
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Some excellent moves here: One thing I would look at for 2016 would be to bring back the Lawrence Realization for three year olds at 1 1/2 Miles on turf and make that a $1 Million race on the final Saturday of the Aqueduct spring season. It's a race while run into the ground by the time it was last run in 2005, it is a race that does have a lot of tradition that could be returned to its former glory. Such a race can be an alternative to the Kentucky Derby for US-based three year olds and it could attract a number of Euros looking for a big-money early season spot as well as a 1 1/2 Mile prep for the big races in Europe, including the Epsom Derby. A filly counterpart at the same 1 1/2 Mile distance (perhaps the Sands Point, moved from Belmont) could also be run on that final Saturday as a KY Oaks alternative as well as a Euro prep for the Epsom Oaks. The new Woodhaven stakes could be run as a $300,000 race on the Wood Memorial program three weeks earlier at 1 1/8 Miles as the prep for it while the new Memories of Silver could be run at the same distance on the Wood Memorial card as well as a prep for the female counterpart. This to me can make for a second big day at the end of the Aqueduct season on the Saturday before the Kentucky Derby with the first big-money grass races of the year for three year olds that can prove to be an alternative to the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby respectively.
Brandon Layer More than 1 year ago
That $1 million race would only draw colts not good enough to get into the Kentucky Derby. It wouldn't be a field you would want for $1 million. Euros wouldn't send Epsom Derby hopefuls to the United States to prep for the Epsom Derby. That's like US horses prepping for the Kentucky Derby by running in the $2 million UAE Derby. It doesn't happen. Your idea of a 1 1/2 mile race on turf for 3 year olds is a good one. Just not at that time. I'd have it right between the Secretariat at Arlington and the Breeders Cup. There are currently zero 1 1/2 mile Grade 1's for 3 year olds on turf in America. I think there should be one. 1 1/2 miles on turf is a very important distance in horse racing all over the world.
Crystal David More than 1 year ago
While the Lawrence Realization is a historical race, does it count when the race is changed from dirt to turf.....? To me that makes it a different race in spite of the name. In the same way, I still cannot get used to the Arlington Classic not being on the dirt.....
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
I know the history of when the Lawrence Realization was the last big three year old dirt race, but it was moved to the turf in 1970 for a reason. As for running it in late April, the idea is that it would be an alternative to the Derby and I do think we would see Euros looking for a 1 1/2 Mile prep for the Epsom Derby in it, and some of those Euros might actually come over for both that and the Woodhaven (which I would have as its prep race on the Wood Memorial card three weeks earlier). Main purpose is to have would be THE HEADLINER of the Saturday before the Derby in a revived Lawrence Reazlization. In addition, the Belmont Park Derby I would also lengthen to 1 1/2 Miles. NYRA had the right idea on that one.
Richard Land More than 1 year ago
The great tinkerer returns! What makes you think we need a 3YO filly race at 12 furlongs early in May, when many horsemen say the Belmont Stakes, run in early June, is too far for 3YO colts to travel that early in the year?
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Actually, it would be late April and it would be aimed as much at the Euros as our horses.
Richard Land More than 1 year ago
Doubt the Euros would be inclined to run on a tight turned 7/8 mile AQ turf course...
Kenny King More than 1 year ago
so at GP maidens run for 40k including a 4k FL bred bonus, so basically 36k purse Nyra offers 60k and most big time trainers ship to FL and GP regularly runs mdn races with 14 horses....turf is another story.........someone explain this to me......I guess people really dont do the economically prudent thing sometimes....if Pletcher leaves his B team in NY why does NYRA have purses this big, just slash the purses and save the $$ for Belmont and Saratoga where you can draw good horses away from MTH and CD
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
A lot of it is the cost of living in New York. The extremely overpriced rents in Manhattan have found their way to the rest of NYC, which has slowly seen neighborhoods that for years you would never walk through in the DAYTIME slowly become gentrified and become much safer, but with that much higher rents (though not as high as Manhattan) that has made Florida a viable year-round alternative, especially now that Gulfstream is running year-round (including the period at what used to be Calder that is now Gulfstream Park West). There also is no state income tax in Florida as well, so that too I think plays into it.
Mark D More than 1 year ago
I like the Excelsior being changed to 1 1/4 miles.....Something American Racing needs more of.