Wood Memorial moved back for 2005
The $750,000 Wood Memorial (G1), New York’s final major prep
for the Kentucky Derby (G1), will take place on April 9, 2005,
four weeks before the first leg of the Triple Crown, according to
the Aqueduct Winter/Spring stakes schedule released on Friday. At
one time contested two weeks before the Derby, the nine-furlong
Wood Memorial was moved in 1994 to three weeks prior to the Derby.
“Every year, it seems that the horsemen want more and
more time between races for their horses, especially if they plan
on running in the Triple Crown races,” said Michael Lakow,
racing secretary and handicapper for the New York Racing
Association (NYRA). “So, putting the Wood Memorial back a
week gives them time to get their horses on the top of their
game, particularly if they expect to run in the Derby, come back
two weeks for the Preakness (G1) and three weeks after that in
the Belmont S. (G1).”
Taking place on the same day as the Wood will be the $350,000
Carter H. (G1) at seven furlongs as well as the $150,000 Bay
Shore S. (G3) for sophomores at the same distance. The entire
Winter/Spring meet will feature 34 stakes, 16 of which are
graded, worth $4.35 million in purses.
Other changes to the 2005 schedule include the $75,000 Jimmy
Winkfield S., formerly the Best Turn, replacing the $75,000 Fred
“Cappy” Capossela S. on January 17, Martin Luther King
Jr. Day. The “Cappy” will move to February 19.
Also, there will be a purse reduction from $200,000 to $150,000
for the March 19 Gotham S. (G3), the major local prep for the
Aqueduct’s Winter/Spring meet is set to run from January 1
through May 1.