Stakes top NYRA’s Thanksgiving menu

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By Bob Ehalt

The Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally associated with turkey.

Though at Aqueduct, from Thanksgiving Day through Saturday, the menu will be loaded with stakes.

Plenty of stakes.

A total of 13 stakes will be contested at Aqueduct over the course of the four days, with all of the trimmings you can find among $1.6 million in purse money.

The stakes buffet starts, appropriately enough, on Thursday, when the New York Racing Association will celebrate Thanksgiving with a trio of stakes, the $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap, a Grade 3 sprint, the $150,000 Winter Memories, a turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and the $100,000 Central Park, a turf stakes for 2-year-olds.

If you’re not stuffed after that, on Friday, there will be no leftovers. Instead, four more stakes will be contested, a group that includes the $200,000 Comley, a mile-and-an-eighth dirt stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the $150,000 Gio Ponti, a turf stakes for 3-year-olds, the $150,000 Forever Together, a turf stakes for fillies and mares, and the $100,000 Key Cents, a sprint stakes for 2-year-old fillies bred in New York State.

Then on Saturday, the stakes get bigger, led by the $400,000 Long Island, a Grade 3 turf stakes for fillies and mares. The slate of three stakes on that afternoon also includes the $200,000 Discovery, a Grade 3 stakes for 3-year-olds, and the $125,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship, at six furlongs over the Big A’s grass course.

Closing out the weekend, on Sunday, there’s three more stakes.

Leading the way is the $125,000 Autumn Days, a turf sprint stakes for fillies and mares, the $100,000 Tepin, a turf stakes for 2-year-old fillies, and, finally, the $100,000 Notebook, a sprint stakes for 2-year-olds bred in New York State.

Oh, and if that’s not enough, the following Saturday, Dec. 1, there will be four more stakes, all of them graded.

The gem is the $750,000 Cigar Mile, a Grade 1 handicap that may feature Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light.

The program will also feature two important Grade 2 stakes at two turns for 2-year-olds, the $250,000 Remsen for males and the $250,000 Demoiselle for fillies.

Closing out the slate is the $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap, a Grade 3 test for fillies and mares at a mile.

Is that enough for you?

So later this week, as you gobble down all that turkey, don’t forget to leave some room for stakes.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!