Posted: Jan. 15, 2018
The New York Racing Association will offer incentives for shippers from Florida and Arkansas that race at Aqueduct Racetrack or Belmont Park, and also a purse increase for the grade II Wood Memorial Stakes should at least one grade I stakes winner compete.
The shipping incentives are designed to increase field size at NYRA tracks and are similar to those offered in Southern California.
According to a release, horse that made their previous start at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas could participate in a “Ship & Win” program that includes a 30% purse bonus as well as a $1,500 shipping stipend if it starts during either the Aqueduct spring or Belmont spring/summer meets. Stakes are excluded from the incentive program.
In addition, horses that made their previous start at either Gulfstream Park or Tampa Bay Downs in Florida in 2018 may be eligible for a $1,500 shipping subsidy for a start during the Aqueduct spring meet, stakes excluded.
First-time starters don’t qualify for either program, and NYRA said it reserves the right to determine eligibility of qualified starters.
Aqueduct’s winter meet is underway, while its spring meet begins April 6 and continues through April 22. Belmont opens April 27 for a spring/summer meet that concludes July 15.
This year’s purse for the Wood Memorial, which lost its grade I status effective in 2017, is $750,000, but it could increase to $1 million if any horse in the field has won a grade I or group I event prior to the April 7 Kentucky Derby prep. If a qualifying horse is declared an official starter, all horses in the race would run for the higher purse.
If the purse does increase to $1 million, the winner would get $590,000, followed by $190,000 for second and $90,000 for third.
NYRA President Christopher Kay said the goal of the “bonus program” for the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial is “to bring the most talented 3-year-olds in the country” to Aqueduct.
(Gulfstream Park photo by Tom LaMarra)