The Jerome Stakes At Aqueduct
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The Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct

The Jerome Stakes is one of the major Stakes races for thoroughbred horses during the Aqueduct winter meet in Jamaica, New York. It is currently a Grade 2 race for 3-year-old’s at one mile and 70 yards over the inner dirt track with a purse of $200,000. The Jerome Stakes was first run in 1866 and is the second oldest Stakes race in the U.S. The race was named in honor of Leonard W. Jerome who was a founder of the old Jerome Track along with August Belmont Sr. who was honored with the Belmont Stakes in 1867.

The Jerome Stakes has been held at other tracks as well. After 1889, the race was run at Morris Park until 1905. It was then switched to Belmont Park up until 2011 except for a few exceptions: The race was not run from 1910-1913 and in 2010; it was run at Aqueduct in 1960 and in 1962-1967. It has seen its share of distance changes as well: Run at two miles 1871-1877; at 1 ¾ miles 1878-1889; at 1 5/16 miles in 1890, 1891, and 1903; at 1 ½ miles in 1892; at 1 ¼ miles 1893-94 and 1896-1909; at 1 1/8 miles in 1895; at one mile 1914-2012; and in 2013 one mile and 70 yards.

The Jerome Stakes was traditionally raced in September or October and it was postponed in 2001 due to the terrorist attacks on September 11. It is currently run in January as the first Graded Stakes of the year in New York. The Stakes record of 1:33.20 at one mile was held by Noble Nashua in 1980 and the current Stakes record at one mile 70 yards is by Vyjack in 1:40.67. The Jerome Stakes is now part of the Kentucky Derby qualifying system with 10 points to the winner, four to the runner-up, two to the third-place finisher and one to the fourth-place finisher.

The winner of the first Kentucky Derby, Aristides, won the Jerome Stakes in 1875. Others who won the Jerome Stakes and the Kentucky Derby: Carry Back (1961), Chateaugay (1963) and Fusaichi Pegasus (2000). Those that won the Jerome Stakes and is in the Racing Hall of Fame include: Duke Of Magenta (1878), Firenze (1877), Fair Play (1908), Coaltown (1948), Hill Prince (1950), Tom Fool (1952), Bold Ruler (1957) and Kelso (1960). Fair Play was the sire of the great Man O’War and Bold Ruler was the sire of the great Secretariat.

Jockey Eddie Arcaro holds the record for most wins in the Jerome Stakes with six: Mahout (1946), Hill Prince, Traffic Judge (1955), Bold Ruler, Warhead (1958) and Kelso. Jockeys Lloyd Hughes, Angel Cordero Jr. and Jerry Bailey all won the Jerome Stakes in three consecutive years.

The Jerome Stakes is the first of three preps leading up to the Wood Memorial Stakes which is the last major prep in New York for the Kentucky Derby. It is followed by the Withers Stakes and the Gotham Stakes which are both Grade 3 events.


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