Fall Racing’s Last Hurrah at the Big A, Churchill, Del Mar

By Noel Michaels

The table is set for a high-quality fall season finale beginning with the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Some top tracks will be serving up extra helpings of great racing, including Aqueduct, Churchill Downs and Del Mar.

These three tracks will keep running through early December, which makes it easier for horseplayers to narrow their focus to these three simulcast signals. Of course, there are other tracks you may have a personal preference for as Tampa Bay Downs at the Fair Grounds are opening their winter meets, and Gulfstream Park begins its championship season on Dec. 4, with the Claiming Crown.

Turf racing at Aqueduct (Coglianese Photography/NYRA)

The upcoming headline races include the Cigar Mile (G1) on Dec. 4 at the Big A and the Clark (G1) at Churchill on Nov. 26.

Churchill and Del Mar close for the season on Sunday (Nov. 28). Del Mar hosts the season’s final two Grade 1s — the Hollywood Derby on Saturday (Nov. 27) and the Matriarch on Sunday.

Aqueduct remains open all winter, but the fall meet (along with turf racing in all likelihood) will end on Dec. 5 with NYRA’s final graded stakes of 2021 to be run on Dec. 4.

Here’s a list of late fall’s top stakes races:

Thursday, Nov. 25

Churchill: Falls City Handicap (G2), 1 1/8 miles, 3 and up

Del Mar: Red Carpet Stakes (G3), 1 3/8 miles, turf, 3 and up fillies and mares

Friday, Nov. 26

Aqueduct: Comely Stakes (G3), 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-old fillies

Churchill: Clark (G1), 1 1/8 miles, 3 and up

Del Mar: Hollywood Turf Cup (G2), 1 ½ miles, turf, 3 and up

Saturday, Nov. 27

Churchill: Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-olds

Churchill: Golden Rod (G2), 1 1/16 miles, 2-year-old fillies

Aqueduct: Discovery Stakes, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds

Aqueduct: Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship, 6 furlongs, turf, 3 and up

Aqueduct: Long Island Stakes (G3), 1 3/8 miles, turf, 3 and up fillies and mares

Del Mar: Hollywood Derby (G1), 1 1/8 miles, turf, 3-year-olds

Del Mar: Seabiscuit Handicap (G2), 1 1/16 miles, turf, 3 and up

Del Mar: Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3), 1 mile, turf, 2-year-olds

Sunday, Nov. 28

Aqueduct: Fall Highweight Handicap (G3), 6 furlongs, 3 and up

Del Mar: Matriarch Stakes (G1), 1 mile, turf, 3 d up fillies and mares

Del Mar: Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3), 1 mile, turf, 2-year-olds

Saturday, Dec. 4

Aqueduct: Cigar Mile (G1), 1 mile, 3 and up

Aqueduct: Remsen Stakes (G2), 1 1/8 miles, 2-year-olds

Aqueduct: Demoiselle Stakes (G2), 1 1/8 miles, 2-year-old fillies

Aqueduct: Go For Wand Handicap (G3), 1 mile, 3 and up fillies and mares

The Aqueduct, Del Mar, and Churchill Downs fall meets are in the midst of strong seasons and all offer horseplayers great options over the next few weeks. Whether you’re concentrating on Aqueduct, Churchill, Del Mar, or all three, there should be some intriguing races for your wagering pleasure. Best of luck and have a happy Thanksgiving!