The Wood Memorial purse is one of the key prep races for the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby.
The 1 1/8-mile race at Aqueduct Park could see its purse increase to $1 million for the April 7 running.
Although the winner of the Wood Memorial has not won the Kentucky Derby since 2000, the top 3-year-old horses could be lured to Aqueduct Park with bonus money.
New York Racing Association officials announced Saturday that the presence of any horse in the Wood Memorial field with a previous Grade 1 or Group 1 victory would automatically increase theWood Memorial purse from $750,000 to $1 million if the qualifying horse starts in the race.
If the qualifying horse starts then the winner of the Wood Memorial would receive $590,000, the runner-up would take home $190,000 and third place would be worth $90,000.
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The Wood Memorial is also an important race because it rewards 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth.
The top 20 horses on the Kentucky Derby qualifying points leaderboard earn starting spots in the Derby on May 5.
Current horses eligible boost the Wood Memorial purse to $1 million are Good Magic, Firenze Fire, Bolt d’Oro, Sporting Chance, and Mendelssohn.
The Wood was a Grade 1 stakes race for the 15 years prior to being downgraded to a Grade 2 race for the 2017 season.
The historic Wood Memorial, which began racing in 1925 has seen 11 winners go on to win the Kentucky Derby. Four of them also won the Triple Crown.
The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes will also see more revenue flowing its way after Arena Partners, a group representing the NHL’s Islanders won a bid to build an arena at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
New York racing officials are hoping it will come with renewed interest in horse racing.
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