Queens County kicks off holiday racing schedule at Aqueduct
By Matt Shifman
The $125,000 Queens County to be run at Aqueduct on Saturday drew a field of 10 older horses. Graded stakes winner Name Changer and a duo of Todd Pletcher trainees headline the mile and an eighth feature race.
Name Changer, a 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo, has hit the board in all five of his starts in 2018 including a win in the Monmouth Cup (G3) at Monmouth Park in July and a third-place finish in the PA Derby Champion Stakes on the Pennsylvania Derby undercard in his most recent start.
Trainer Alan Goldberg considered running the Colts Neck Stable horse in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile but decided to give Name Changer a bit more rest.
“He’s doing OK, we’ve been doing the best we can. We’ve had a few days where the weather and the track have been a little rough down here in Colts Neck [New Jersey, his training base],” Goldberg said. “But other than that, he’s doing great. He’s been breezing good.”
Consistency has been a hallmark for Name Changer who has two wins from three starts at the nine-furlong distance of the Queens County as part of an outstanding career record of 16: 7-1-4 with earnings of $429,050.
“I think a mile and an eighth where he’s fourth and fifth and can relax is a good trip for him,” Goldberg added. “He used to be a bad-breaking horse. Now, he’s been breaking well and sitting a little closer.”
Pletcher will send out a pair of stakes winners in Red Oak Stable’s Bal Harbour and Three Diamond Farm’s Bonus Points. Bal Harbour has won his last two starts including the recent Gio Ponti at Aqueduct which came off the turf due to rain. Bonus Points scored a victory in the Maryland Million Classic last year.
The Queens County is carded as race 8 on a nine-race card with post time scheduled for 3:47pm ET.
The normal winter racing schedule in December, January, and February has four days of racing a week on Thursday through Sunday, but there are some changes for the holidays.
Saturday, Dec. 22 – Queens County, 3YO and up, 1 1/8 miles
Sunday, Dec. 23 – Gravesend – 3YO and up, 6 furlongs
Friday, Dec. 28
Saturday, Dec. 29 – Alex M. Robb – 3YO and up (NY-bred), 1 1/8 miles
Sunday, Dec. 30 – Bay Ridge – 3YO and up fillies and mares (NY-bred), 1 1/8 miles
Monday, Dec. 31 – Damon Runyan – 2YO (NY-bred), 1 mile
Tuesday, Jan. 1 – Jerome – 3YO, 1 mile, Kentucky Derby prep series
Friday, Jan. 4
The New York Hot List team wants to wish you Happy Holidays filled with good health and good luck.