Wet weather, turf racing and Thanksgiving traditions at Aqueduct

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By Matt Shifman


The soggy weather has continued in a relentless manner in the New York area with a significant amount of snow on the scene this past week. All the precipitation has caused racing to frequently come off the turf and the cancellation of the final three races on Thursday at Aqueduct. Turf races are listed in the current Big A condition book which shows the cards through December 2.


The feature race on Saturday, Nov. 17, is the $200,000 Red Smith (G3) which is slated to be run on the grass at the distance of a 1 3/8 miles. The race has drawn a field of 16 which includes 10 horses in the main body, three on the also eligible list, and three more entered for the main track only. With no wet weather in the forecast, I assume that this stakes race will be run, although the grass will certainly be soggy.


The Red Smith includes three runners for trainer Michael Maker, two for Todd Pletcher, and one from Chad Brown. The 5-2 morning line favorite is Zulu Alpha, the winner of three of his past four starts. Now part of the Maker trio, his impressive victory in last month’s Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland came when he was racing for trainer John Ortiz.


The field includes the New York Hot List horse Postulation. You can see full analysis of the Red Smith in the NYHL picks.


There is no break in the racing schedule at Aqueduct during Thanksgiving weekend. Some races remain in their traditional holiday spots on the calendar while others have been bundled to make a Super Saturday of sorts on December 1.


Here’s the rundown of the graded stakes races beginning on Thanksgiving.


Thursday, Nov. 22, Thanksgiving – $200,000 Fall Highweight (G3)

Friday, Nov. 23 – $200,000 Comely (G3)

Saturday, Nov. 24 – $200,000 Discovery (G3)

Saturday, Nov. 24 – $400,000 Long Island (G3) TURF

Saturday, Dec. 1 – $250,000 Go For Wand (G3)

Saturday, Dec. 1 – $250,000 Demoiselle (G2) – Kentucky Oaks qualifying race

Saturday, Dec. 1 – $250,000 Remsen (G2) – Kentucky Derby qualifying race

Saturday, Dec. 1 – $750,000 Cigar Mile (G1)