American Turf Magazine
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Nov 08, 2013



               If you live on the East Coast and you didn’t know that winter is upon us when the temperature has been dropping over the last few weeks, racing fans know that it is here when Aqueduct opens up for their fall meeting. Starting on November 1st and running through late April of 2014 Aqueduct will be the open for live racing.

               Aqueduct will have live racing on Wednesdays through Sundays but that schedule could change and possibly we will see just a four day meeting as we move further into the winter months. On Thanksgiving day, Aqueduct will host live racing as is the tradition and the post time will be 11:25 a.m. Along with many stakes races throughout this meeting there will also be guaranteed pick 4 on Saturdays starting on November 9th. The annual Aqueduct Handicapping tournament, presented by NYRA Rewards will be held on the weekend of November 16th and 17th. On Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, the "Spirit of Giving" weekend returns with the Toys for Tots program and a stocking stuffer promotion. Aqueduct Racetrack generally will be open Wednesday through Sunday with a first-race post time of 12:20 p.m. The track will be closed on Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, and will conduct live racing on New Year's Eve, Tuesday, December 31st.

               Taking a look at the stakes schedule for Aqueduct the action gets underway on the first weekend with two Grade III’s and a Grade II. The Grade III Discovery will be run on Saturday November 2nd over the main track at 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $200,000. On Sunday the two year olds take the stage when they run the Grade II Nashua for two year olds over the main track at one mile with a purse of $250,000 and the Grade III Tempted for two year old fillies over the main track at one mile with a purse of $250,000. These races will serve as prep races for the Remsen and Demoiselle on November 30th. The next two Saturdays see two Grade III races that will be run over the turf. On Saturday November 9th, they will host the Grade III Long Island, a race run over the turf for fillies and mares three years old and upward at a distance of 1 and ½ miles. On November 16th, the Grade III Red Smith, for three years old and upward will be run over 1 and 3/8th miles over the turf. On Thanksgiving Day, November 28th, Aqueduct will host the Grade III Fall Highweight Handicap run over six furlongs for three years old and upward with a purse of $300,000. On the following day, Friday November 29th, the Go For Wand, a Grade II for three years old and upward fillies and mares will be run at a mile on the dirt with a purse of $300,000. On Saturday November 30th, Aqueduct will host four stakes races, two Grade II’s, a Grade III and a Grade I. The Remsen and Demoiselle, which I mentioned earlier are for two year olds and two year olds fillies respectively. Both races will be run over 1 and 1/8th miles both carrying purses of $400,000. The Grade III Comely for three year old fillies will be run over one mile on the main track and will carry a purse of $400,000. The Grade I race will be the Cigar Mile Handicap for three years old and upward run over one mile with a purse of $500,000. The Cigar Mile has been won by some top quality horses with Stay Thirsty scoring over Groupie Doll last year and dating all the way back to 1994 when Cigar won the race when it was called the NYRA Mile.

               The horizon has changed a lot from last year when Ramon Dominguez was dominating the jockeys standings, he was hurt in January in 2013 and retired in June of this year. Javier Castellano has taken over as the dominate jockey but he will be leaving for Florida in the next month. The Ortiz brothers will do very well this winter as well as apprentice, Emmanuel Esquivel who will be riding for leading trainer David Jacobson primarily should be another major player in the jockeys race.

               On the trainers side of things, David Jacobson runs a lot of horses but also wins a lot of races, he drops horses into winning spots so it is tough from a betting standpoint.  A lot of his horses are favorites because of the drop in class and you have to guess whether they are just too good to lose or he is trying to lose them via a claim. In most cases it would be best to pass but he runs in so many races it is something you will have to deal with all winter. Good luck at the windows!


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