The 18-day fall meet concludes at Aqueduct Racetrack this weekend with seven stakes races including four graded stakes on Saturday, Dec. 5. Racing at the Queens, NY racetrack has continued without spectators in attendance per New York state guidelines and COVID-19 protocols. Earlier this year, Aqueduct suspended live racing due to the coronavirus outbreak.
There are 11 graded stakes during the Aqueduct fall meet, and four of them will be held Dec. 5 on the main track, for the track’s biggest day of racing to conclude the fall season. A sloppy or muddy track is likely Saturday with a 90% chance of rain and 20+ MPH winds through the morning, clearing near mid-afternoon.
- Race 4: $150,000 Remsen Stakes (Grade 2) – 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles
- Race 6: $100,000 Go For Wand Handicap (Grade 3) – 3-year-olds and up for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles
- Race 9: $150,000 Demoiselle Stakes (Grade 2) – 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles
- Race 10: $250,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (Grade 1) – 3-year-olds and up at 1 mile
The Remsen and Demoiselle will offer 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the top four finishers toward the 2021 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, respectively.
On Nov. 30, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced the probables for the Cigar Mile. Morning line odds were confirmed for all entered runners Dec. 2. However, the NYRA press office notes that favorite Firenze Fire is a game day decision.
“If the track is sloppy, I don’t think we’re going to run,” said trainer Kelly Breen.
- Performer (7/2)
- Mind Control (20/1)
- Snapper Sinclair (20/1)
- Firenze Fire (5/2)
- Mr. Buff (6/1)
- King Guillermo (9/2)
- Majestic Dunhill (20/1)
- True Timber (15/1)
- Bon Raison (20/1)
There will be a $67,328 Empire 6 mandatory payout beginning in Race 5 Saturday.
On Sunday, Dec. 6, three additional stakes races are scheduled on the main track:
- Race 6: $250,000 New York Stallion Series (Fifth Avenue Division) – 2-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs
- Race 7: $100,000 Garland of Roses – 3-year-olds and up for fillies and mares at 6 furlongs
- Race 8: $250,000 New York Stallion Series (Great White Way Division) – 2-year-olds at 7 furlongs
AQUEDUCT LEADING JOCKEYS
The race for the jockey title is up for grabs the final week, but Kendrick Carmouche is the leader down the stretch with 19 wins during the meet. He’s followed by Eric Cancel (14), Jose Lezcano (14), Joel Rosario (13), Dylan Davis (12) and Irad Ortiz Jr. (11). Rosario has the fewest starts with 47, and by far the highest win rate at 28%.
Christophe Clement (15 wins) and Todd Pletcher (13) will decide the training title in the final weekend, and both trainers are winning better than 30% of their horses’ starts.
CIGAR MILE CONTEST
The last handicapping challenge of 2020, the Cigar Mile Challenge, awards cash prizes and two seats to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), which has been rescheduled for August 27-29, 2021 at Bally’s in Las Vegas.
The contest is a $500 buy-in ($250 bankroll and $250 for the prize pool), which includes Aqueduct races (at least five races of the player’s choice).