10/15/2002 11:00PM

Wood Memorial tops Big A stakes offerings


ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association released its stakes schedule for Aqueduct's 2003 winter and spring meets.

The schedule includes 34 stakes worth $4,325,000 and covers racing from Jan. 1 through May 4, the final day of Aqueduct's spring meet.

Highlighting the schedule, which includes 16 graded stakes races, are the $750,000 Wood Memorial and the $350,000 Carter Handicap, both of which will be run on April 12. The Grade 1 Wood Memorial, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, is an important prep for the Kentucky Derby. The Grade 1 Carter is a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up.

Sharing the card with the Wood Memorial and Carter is the $150,000 Bay Shore, a Grade 3 stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.

There are no major changes to the schedule. In one minor switch, the $100,000-added Beaugay, a Grade 3 grass race for fillies and mares, was moved from closing day of the spring meet to the previous day and shares the card with the $150,000 Withers, a Grade 3 race for 3-year-olds. The $75,000-added Stymie, run as a Grade 3 this year, lost its grade for 2003 and had its purse lowered by $25,000.