Aqueduct’s Winter / Spring meeting will feature 49 stakes races worth over $7.5 million the New York Racing Association announced on Saturday.
The winter meeting runs from Jan. 1 until March 26, with the spring meeting concluding on April 24. Included in the racing action is a trio of key stakes for three-year-olds looking to make it to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby (G1) on the first Saturday of May.
The $200,000 Jerome (G2) on Jan. 2 will be the first graded stake for Derby hopefuls followed by the $250,000 Withers (G3) on Jan. 30 and the $400,000 Gotham (G3) on March 5.
The last major prep for the Run for the Roses is the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) on April 9. Eleven Wood winners went on to win the Kentucky Derby including four Triple Crown winners.
Last year’s Wood winner was Frosted, who ran fourth in the Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
There is now a series of four stakes for three-year-old sprinters starting with the first running of the $125,000 Lost in the Fog on Jan. 1. The series resumes with the $100,000 Fred “Cappy” Capossela on Feb. 6 and the $125,000 Jimmy Winkfield on March 6, and is capped off with the $300,000 Bay Shore (G3) on April 9.
One of the highlights for handicappers will be the New York Claiming Championship Series, featuring ten starter allowance races with purses worth more than $700,000 on April 2.
The Wood Memorial on April 9 will be supported by four stakes, the $400,000 Carter Handicap (G1) at seven furlongs, the $300,000 Gazelle (G2) for sophomore fillies, as well as pair of Grade 3’s with the $300,000 Bay Shore for three-year-old sprinters at seven furlongs, and the $200,000 Excelsior for four-year-olds and up going 1 ¼ miles.
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AQUEDUCT 2016 WINTER/SPRING STAKES SCHEDULE: