01/26/2007 12:00AM

NYRA reschedules four stakes


Concerned over conflicts with some of its races and the recently announced expansion of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, the New York Racing Association has decided to reschedule four of its fall stakes events.

The Grade 2, $150,000 First Flight Handicap, for fillies and mares at seven furlongs, was moved from Oct. 27 - Breeders' Cup Day - to July 8. The race also changes venues, moving from Aqueduct to Belmont Park. Where it was, the First Flight would have been overshadowed by the newly announced $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at six furlongs on Oct. 26, the first day of the two-day Breeders' Cup program.

Basically, the First Flight is now on the NYRA calendar where the recently eliminated Genuine Risk Stakes would have been. The First Flight - as would have been the case with the Genuine Risk - figures to be impacted by the Grade 1, $500,000 Princess Rooney, a filly and mare sprint race run at Calder in early July.

"It is a concern, but we had already canceled graded stakes in that category," said NYRA senior vice president and chief operating officer Bill Nader, noting that NYRA had also previously canceled the six-furlong Floral Park, a Grade 3 race run at Belmont's fall meet. "To cancel another one was just too much of a blow to owners and breeders of black-type fillies and mares,''

NYRA moved the Discovery Handicap, a nine-furlong race for 3-year-olds, from Oct. 27 to Nov. 24, the same day as the Grade 1, $300,000 Cigar Mile. NYRA officials are concerned the Discovery would lose horses to the newly announced $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

Also, NYRA rescheduled a pair of $75,000 turf stakes for 2-year-olds. The Pilgrim, for males, will now be run on Sept. 29. The Miss Grillo, for fillies, will be run on Sept. 30. Both 1 1/16-mile races had been carded for Oct. 21. These moves were in response to the newly announced $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, a one-mile race open to juveniles of both sexes.