by NYRA Press Release
December 13, 2017
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has canceled Wednesday's live racing program at Aqueduct Racetrack due to sustained high winds forecast to continue through the afternoon in the New York City metropolitan area.
Live racing is scheduled to resume on Thursday, December 14 at Aqueduct, with a first post of 12:50 p.m.
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Juddmonte Farms' Tacitus punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby, overtaking Tax in the stretch with an impressive move from the outside and closing strong for a 1 ¼-length win in the 95th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack. Tacitus, who garnered 50 qualifying points to the 'Run for the Roses' on May 5 at Churchill Downs when he won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby last month, earned an additional 100 points by besting the 11-horse Wood Memorial field, rocketing to the top of the leaderboard as the first horse to crack the 150-point threshold this year. Out of the gate, 51-1 longshot Joevia swung to the far left from the outermost post, nearly running into Overdeliver, before surging to the front with an opening quarter-mile in 23.62 seconds on the fast main track. Not That Brady, at 40-1, also gave chase and dueled Joevia for the early speed, eventually taking the lead with a 46.91 half-mile as the rest of the field stood 7 ½-lengths back. Nearing the final turn, Tax and Tacitus overtook the pacesetters from the outside. Tax, under jockey Junior Alvarado, held the temporary advantage before Jose Ortiz asked Tacitus for his best, overtaking his rival in the final furlong, completing 1 1/8 miles in a final time of 1:51.23. "I was pleased with his effort," said Ortiz, who won his first Wood Memorial. "I don't know about the other horses behind me, it was kind of crazy around the first turn. After that, he got a little bumped and he's a big horse. He managed to take that and go on and win the race. "A mile and a quarter will suit him. The mile and an eighth didn't bother him, so I think going a little bit longer can be good too." Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott registered his first Wood win and will now be seeking his first career Derby victory and second in a Classic, joining 2010 Belmont Stakes-winner Drosselmeyer. "I thought it was a very good effort," Mott said. "It was very rough on the first turn, but fortunately he came out of it in good order. When he got down the backside, I thought he had a nice, clear run by himself. He kind of got his feet back under him and regrouped a little bit. When it was time to run he started to wear them down. "It's not a surprise, but you always hope they show up. He's a young horse and you never know what's going to happen in any race. Some horses would have been discouraged with what happened on the first turn. They could have backed out of it or decide they didn't want any part of it after getting roughed up like that." Off as the 5-2 favorite, Tacitus returned $7.20 on a $2 win wager. The Kentucky homebred improved his career bankroll to $665,500. "He'll probably stay here for another week and then go to Churchill Downs," Mott said. "I think the race sets him up well. I think the timing is fine. I think we've got a month to go back to the Derby. He's had two races and a lot of handicappers think the third race off the bench is the best, so I hope that group of handicappers is absolutely right. I think this effort puts him at or near the top of the list [of Derby contenders]." Tax, owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, closed 2 ¾ lengths in front of Haikal for second, earning 40 qualifying points. The Danny Gargan trainee has 72 points after winning the Grade 2 Withers [10 points] on February 2 and third [two points] in the Grade 2 Remsen on December 1. All three of Tax's Derby prep races have come at Aqueduct. "He ran huge. The horses laying up close all day have been running really well," Gargan said. "I told Junior [Alvarado], let's just break out of there and get a good position. I didn't want to take back. Let's make them run into the first turn and make your move turning for home. If we get run down, it's okay. I don't mind running second today, I just wanted to make sure we got enough Derby points to get in. We might have moved a little early today, but we get to go to Louisville, Kentucky now." Shadwell Stable's Haikal upped his point total to 70, following a 50-point boon for his Grade 3 Gotham win on March 9 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Haikal, 3-1-1 in five career starts, beat out Math Wizard by a half-length for third. "We ran very well. Obviously, his first time around two turns he finished strong. He might do better with a little faster pace, but that could happen if we go to the Derby," McLaughlin said. "You never know, two turns and the distance, it was a good answer - he answered the questions. He ran very well. He can do the distance. I don't know yet (about going to the Kentucky Derby). We'll talk to the owner." Not That Brady, Final Jeopardy, Hoffa's Union, Grumps Little Tots, Outshine and Overdeliver completed the order of finish. Joevia, who had finished seventh, was disqualified and placed last for interference stemming from the start.
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today its latest Cross Country Pick 5 offering featuring an all graded stakes sequence from Aqueduct Racetrack and Keeneland on Saturday, April 6. The multi-race wager will include: The Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial and the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap from the Big A; along with the Grade 1, $300,000 Madison; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland; and the Grade 2, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass from Keeneland. The Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets will be part of a live national broadcast on NBCSN from 5:30-7:30 p.m., scheduled to also include the Grade 2 Blue Grass and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita Park. Prior to the NBCSN broadcast, FOX Sports Saturday At The Races will air the major stakes, including the Grade 1 Carter, leading up to the Wood Memorial with national coverage on FS2 beginning at 4 p.m. and regional coverage in the tri-state area on MSG+ starting at 3 p.m. Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 wager kicks off with the Grade 1 Madison (Race 8, 5:10 p.m.) for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up going seven furlongs at Keeneland. The nine-horse field will feature the return of multiple graded stakes winner Shamrock Rose for trainer Mark Casse, who will look to improve cutting back in distance off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Azeri on March 16 at Oaklawn Park. Leg 2, the Grade 1 Carter for 4-year-olds and up going seven furlongs, features 4-year-old colt World of Trouble, for trainer Jason Servis, who will look to earn his first graded stakes win when taking on last year's Wood Memorial winner Vino Rosso. The third leg, a contentious eight-horse Ashland field (Race 9, 5:45 p.m.) at Keeneland, will put 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points on the line in a race headlined by two-time Grade 1-winning filly Jaywalk. The action will shift back to Aqueduct for the penultimate leg, the featured Grade 2 Wood Memorial (Race 10, 6:00 p.m.) with 100 Derby points on the line, where Shadwell Stable's Haikal will look to win his second consecutive graded stakes at the Big A following a victory in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 9. Closing out Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 2, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass for 3-year-olds at 6:23 p.m. from Keeneland. A talented 14-horse field includes Vekoma for R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables; Win Win Win for Live Oak Plantation; and Dream Maker for owner John Oxley all vying to win a spot in this year's Kentucky Derby field with 100 qualifying points up for grabs. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Aqueduct-Keeneland Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, April 6: Leg 1 - Keeneland, Race 8: Grade 1, $300,000 Madison (5:10 p.m.)Leg 2 - Aqueduct, Race 9: Grade 1, $400,000 Carter (5:22 p.m.)Leg 3 - Keeneland, Race 9: Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland (5:45 p.m.)Leg 4 - Aqueduct, Race 10 Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial (6:00 p.m.)Leg 5 - Keeneland, Race 10: Grade 2, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (6:23 p.m.)