Eyes on Ozone Park

As much as I look forward to going home to Saratoga for Thanksgiving, I head north with one eye on the rearview mirror, focused on Ozone Park, wistfully knowing that I will partake of Aqueduct’s holiday festivities from afar.

It’s the last big weekend of New York racing this year, and what a weekend it is. From Thursday to Saturday, we’ve got three Grade II’s and one Grade I, with some impressive names showing up.

Thursday kicks off the holiday celebration with the Fall Highweight; it’s not graded this year, but will hold Grade III status next year, as outlined in yesterday’s release of next year’s stakes races by the American Graded Stakes Committee. This six furlong race has attracted Fabulous Strike, second by a generous head to Black Seventeen in the Vosburgh at Belmont in September, and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Joining him in the starting gate are Songster in his second start off his long layoff, following an unproductive stud career; Stormin Normandy, eased in the Itaka on Sunday at Aqueduct; and Idiot Proof, second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Monmouth last year. Idiot Proof hasn’t hit the winner’s circle and was a dismal 13th in the BC Sprint this year.

The Fall Highweight was first run in 1914 and was won in September of that year by Comely, a two-year-old filly who gave sixteen pounds to her competitors. Nice, eh?

Friday brings the Top Flight, at a mile for fillies and mares; and on Saturday we get the Demoiselle, the Remsen, and the Cigar Mile. More on those races in the next few days.

Tomorrow I’ll post a list of that for which I give racing thanks this year…until then, safe travels and a happy holiday to all–

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