The New York Racing Association published its Aqueduct fall meet on Thursday, announcing an 18-day meet featuring 29 stakes races worth $3.41 million in purse money.

Aqueduct-Fall 2020 Season
Aqueduct’s fall 2020 season offers only one Grade 1 race — the Cigar Mile — but it provides candid views of some of the most promising 2-year-olds in the country. (Image: ZUMA Press/Alamy Photography)

Even with a reduced schedule, a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aqueduct’s stakes calendar offers bettors 11 graded stakes among those 29 stakes. Headlining that is the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on closing weekend, Dec. 5. Maximum Security won that race last year by 3 ½ lengths.

The Cigar Mile honors the legendary horse who won the first two races of his 16-race winning streak at Aqueduct.

Aqueduct’s fall meet opens Nov. 6 and closes Dec. 6. Opening weekend puts Aqueduct up against the Breeders’ Cup – 716 miles south at Keeneland in Lexington, KY. While that has the attention of the racing and betting world, NYRA counters meekly with two ungraded stakes and two Grade 3 races for 2-year-olds, the Turnback the Alarm Handicap and the Nashua.

Pay Attention to the Kids at Aqueduct

The juvenile division is where Aqueduct’s fall meet shines. Eight stakes races for 2-year-olds give keen-eyed horseplayers a potential glimpse of 2021 Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks contenders. Chief among those are a pair of 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 races — the Remsen Stakes for juvenile males and the Demoiselle for fillies. Both are on the Dec. 5 Cigar Mile undercard, as is the Grade 3 Go For Wand Handicap, a mile jaunt for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

Aqueduct Fall Meet – Key Race Dates Race
Nov. 7
  • Turnback the Alarm Handicap (Grade 3)
Nov. 8
  • Nashua (Grade 3)
Nov. 21
  • Red Smith (Grade 3)
Nov. 27
  • Comely (Grade 3)
Nov. 28  

  • Long Island Stakes (Grade 3)
  • Discover (Grade 3)
Nov. 29
  • Fall Highweight Handicap (Grade 3)
Dec. 5  

  • Cigar Mile (Grade 1)
  • Remsen Stakes (Grade 2)
  • Demoiselle (Grade 2)
  • Go For Wand Handicap (Grade 3)

Other key stakes races include the Grade 3 Red Smith, a 1 3/8-mile turf route for 3-year-olds and up on Nov. 21. Thanksgiving weekend features three days of racing and 10 stakes worth $1 million. Headlining that weekend are the Grade 3 Comely for 3-year-old fillies on Nov. 27, and two Grade 3 events on Nov. 28, the 11-furlong turf marathon Long Island Stakes for 3-year-old and up fillies and mares and the nine-furlong Discovery for 3-year-olds.

The Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, wraps up Aqueduct’s Thanksgiving weekend graded stakes slate.

Aqueduct Ends With a Nod to the Home Stables

Two New York-bred juvenile stakes races close the meet on Dec. 6, the Great White Way for juvenile males and the Fifth Avenue for juvenile fillies.

Outside of Thanksgiving week, when there’s no racing on Thanksgiving Day, Aqueduct races Thursday through Sunday. Like its NYRA sister tracks, Aqueduct will operate spectator-free due to state COVID-19 health and safety regulations.

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