The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has reinstated a bonus program for potential starters in the Apr. 6 GII Wood Memorial S. at Aqueduct in a move that could increase the race’s total purse to $1 million. As an incentive for the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial, a purse bonus of $250,000 will be applied if any horse in the field that is declared an official starter registers a Grade I or Group 1 victory prior to running in the race. Should a Grade or Group 1 winner become an official starter and trigger the increase, the Wood Memorial winner would earn $535,000, with the runner-up garnering $185,000 and third-place collecting $100,000.
As part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep series, the Wood Memorial offers 100 qualifying points to the winner, 40 points to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth as horses move toward potential starts in the GI Kentucky Derby May 4.
NYRA has also enacted a pair of shipping incentive programs that will return in 2019 at the Aqueduct and Belmont spring meets. Under the “ship and win” program, horses that made their previous start at Oaklawn Park are eligible for a 30% bonus for their first two starts in New York, as well as a $1,500 shipping stipend for a start during either the Aqueduct spring or Belmont spring/summer meets, excluding stakes races.
Additionally, horses who made their previous start at either Gulfstream Park or Tampa Bay Downs may be eligible for a shipping subsidy for a start during the Aqueduct spring meet, excluding stakes races. Owners who ship horses from Florida and make their first start from Mar. 8 through Mar. 31 will receive $2,000, while horses shipped in from the Sunshine State and make their first start from Apr. 5 through Apr. 20 will be credited $1,500. First-time starters are ineligible for either program.