12/14/2016 12:20PM

Inner-track stakes schedule trimmed

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The New York Racing Association cut $375,000 in purse money – including eliminating one longstanding race – from the 2017 Aqueduct winter stakes schedule, which it released Wednesday. NYRA will offer 25 stakes worth $3.2 million from Jan. 1 through March 26, the end of the inner-track season.

The $100,000 Fred “Cappy” Capossela Stakes, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds that was first run in 1885 and known as the Swift Stakes, was discontinued. The race didn’t have enough entries to fill in 2016 and had a five-horse field in 2015. The Capossela was named in honor of the longtime track announcer who was the voice of NYRA for 28 years (1943-71) and was best known for the way he said, “It is now post time,” as horses approached the gate.

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In addition to dropping the Capossela, NYRA cut the purses of eight other stakes, including the Grade 3 Gotham, which was reduced to $300,000 from $400,000.

“We reevaluated the winter program and felt at this time it was prudent to cut some money out of it,” said Martin Panza, senior director of racing operations for NYRA.

The Gotham, on March 4, is the third race in New York’s winter stakes series for 3-year-olds that offers qualifying points to the May 6 Kentucky Derby. The Grade 3, $150,000 Jerome on Jan. 2 and the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers on Feb. 4 are the others. The purse for the Jerome was cut by $50,000.

The Busher Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies on Feb. 25, had its purse raised by $25,000 to $150,000.

Though there is no Capossela, 3-year-old sprinters can run in the $100,000 Lost in the Fog on Jan. 1 and the $100,000 Jimmy Winkfield on Feb. 10. Those are two of six stakes that had their purses cut by $25,000. The others are the Grade 3, $125,000 Toboggan and the Rego Park, Franklin Square, and Cicada, which are all now worth $100,000.

NYRA may have to cut purses from future stakes as well as overnight races as it evaluates the impact of recent legislation that enabled casino owner Genting to designate up to 1,000 of its 5,540 video lottery terminals at Resorts World as belonging to Nassau County OTB. On Oct. 15, Genting designated 460 of its highest-revenue-producing machines as belonging to Nassau OTB, which will almost certainly reduce the amount of money that purses at Aqueduct get from VLT revenue.

Starting Jan. 5, racing will be conducted four days a week – Thursdays through Sundays. For a four-week period beginning March 10, racing will be conducted three days a week – Fridays through Sundays.

NYRA officials have previously said that March is typically its most difficult month in terms of maintaining field size.

Aqueduct’s main track is scheduled to open March 31, with the 17-day spring meet running through April 23.

2017 Aqueduct winter stakes schedule

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE PURSE
Sun., Jan. 1 Lost In The Fog 3YO 6F $100,000
Mon., Jan. 2 Jerome (G3) 3YO 1M 70YDS $150,000
Sat., Jan. 7 Ladies Handicap 4YO & UP F&M 1M 70YDS $100,000
Sun., Jan. 8 Ruthless 3YO Fillies 6F $100,000
Sat., Jan. 14 Jazil 4YO & UP 1M 70YDS $125,000
Sun., Jan. 15 Busanda 3YO Fillies 1M 70YDS $125,000
Mon., Jan. 16 Toboggan (G3) 4YO & UP 6F $125,000
Sat., Jan. 21 Rego Park  3YO (N.Y.-breds) 6F $100,000
Sun., Jan. 22 Interborough 4YO & UP F&M 6F $100,000
Sat., Jan. 28 Gander 3YO (N.Y.-breds) 1M 70YDS $100,000
Sun., Jan. 29 Maddie May 3YO Fillies (N.Y.-breds) 1M 70YDS $100,000
Sat., Feb. 4 Withers (G3) 3YO 1 1/16M $250,000
Sun., Feb. 5 Biogio's Rose 4YO & UP F&M (N.Y.-breds) 1 1/16M  $100,000
Sat., Feb. 11 Hollie Hughes 4YO & UP (N.Y.-breds) 6F $100,000
Sat., Feb. 11 Haynesfield 4YO & UP (N.Y.-breds) 1 /16M $100,000
Sat., Feb. 18 Broadway 4YO & UP F&M (N.Y.-breds) 6F $100,000
Sun., Feb. 19 Franklin Square 3YO Fillies (N.Y.-breds) 6F $100,000
Mon., Feb. 20 Jimmy Winkfield 3YO 6F $100,000
Sat., Feb. 25 Busher 3YO Fillies 6F $100,000
Sat., Mar. 4 Gotham (G3) 3YO 1 1/16M $300,000
Sat., Mar. 4 Heavenly Prize Invitational 4YO & UP F&M 1 1/16M $150,000
Sat., Mar. 11 Tom Fool Handicap (G3) 4YO & UP 6F $200,000
Sun., Mar. 12 Stymie 4YO & UP 1 1/8M $125,000
Sat., Mar. 18 Correction 4YO & UP F&M 6F $125,000
Sat., Mar. 25 Cicada 3YO Fillies 6F $100,000