Each year, Aqueduct Racetrack features live racing from November to the end of April, with millions of dollars in prize money and racing on every weekend and several days during the week. The schedule for the rest of the year is out: 35 stakes races worth nearly $6 million in purses on the line starting November 2 and running through the new year.
The headliner of the 38-day meet is the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap. In Thoroughbred racing, graded-stakes races are the most prestigious, having the best horses and the most prize money. The Cigar Mile is named after one of racing’s most famous champions—Cigar—who kicked off a remarkable 16-race win streak on Oct. 28,1994, with an eight-length romping victory at Aqueduct. Traditionally run around Thanksgiving, the race has been pushed back to Saturday, Dec. 1, to allow an extra week for some of the nation’s best horses to recover from the Breeders’ Cup—the biggest weekend of racing each year—which coincides with opening week at Aqueduct.