New York-based trainer Charlie Baker stamped an emphatic week with three victories from horses who earned bonuses as part of the New York Racing Association's (NYRA) innovative Starter Loyalty Program during the week of racing from Feb. 7-10 at Aqueduct racetrack.
Baker was one of 11 conditioners to saddle a Starter Loyalty Program winner last week and one of just two trainers who won multiple races, alongside Rudy Rodriguez.
Implemented on April 2, 2018, the Starter Loyalty Program provides Silver- through Diamond-level purse bonuses between 5 and 15 percent on money earned in a qualifying race, based on their number of starts at NYRA tracks through April 1, 2019.
Last week, 14 winning horses from four days of racing [encompassing 33 total races at the Big A] were members of the Starter Loyalty Program. Baker was victorious with Bluegrass Jamboree on Saturday; and with Little Nanny and Ready to Escape on Sunday.
Baker and Rodriguez joined single-race winning trainers Gary Gullo, Robert Vetter, Pat Quick, Raymond Handal, John Terranova, Linda Rice, John Toscano, Jr., Rob Atras, and Chris Englehart.
Sugar Maple Farm's Bluegrass Jamboree, a Silver member, boosted her $70,000 allowance purse victory on Saturday, with a $1,925 starter loyalty bonus in earning her first victory since October 2017.
Little Nanny, owned by Team West Side Stables, impressively won the opening race on Sunday's card by 8 3/4 lengths and earned a bonus of $1,155 as a Gold member. Ready to Escape, a Silver member, owned by Albert Fried, Jr., closed out the strong week for Baker by scoring an allowance victory in Race 4, picking up an additional $1,760 on top of a winner's share of $36,960.
“The program is great,” said Baker. “You really can't beat it. You need that extra money for owners and trainers to help make ends meet. I think the Starter Loyalty Program along with the $300 credit per start program, is very helpful to trainers on our circuit, and I know I'm appreciative of it.”
With eight wins through 39 days of racing at the Aqueduct Winter meet, Baker said he is hoping to keep the momentum going.
“We got off to a slow start, but things are starting to heat up for us,” added Baker. “Hopefully, we can keep this going and finish the meet strong.”
Other winning Starter Loyalty Program members last week included Frostie Anne for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and owner Michael Imperio, who won the $100,000 Biogio's Rose on Sunday, and Thursday's allowance winners Kosciuszko, for trainer Pat Quick and owner Ed Witek; and Long Lake Stables' Stan the Man, for trainer John Terranova.
For more information on the Starter Loyalty Program, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/horsemen/2018-19-starter-loyalty-program.
NYRA 2018-19 Loyalty Program, at a glance:
From the period between April 2, 2018 through April 1, 2019
-NYRA Silver: Starts 5 and 6
Runners will compete for 5% more purse money
-NYRA Gold: Starts 7, 8, and 9
Runners will compete for 7.5% more purse money
-NYRA Platinum: Starts 10 and 11
Runners will compete for 12.5% more purse money
-NYRA Diamond: Starts 12 and higher
Runners will compete for 15% more purse money
For example, for $100,000 stakes races this winter at Aqueduct, a NYRA Silver member could receive an additional $2,750 on top of the $55,000 winner's share of the purse. For a stakes at the same level, a NYRA Platinum member could earn an additional $6,875 above the $55,000 winner's share.
The number of starts transfer with horses that are claimed or have undergone ownership changes.
Qualifying starts for bonus money include any winners' races. Maiden races do not award purse bonuses but are counted as starts. For example, if a horse breaks his maiden on his fifth start of the season, his sixth start will be in a winners' race and therefore he would be considered a Silver member.
Races not counted as a qualifying start include any race in which a horse is beaten by 25 lengths or more, or any race in which a horse is placed on the vet's list for lameness or unsoundness. The horse must be declared an official starter to get credit for the start. Only two starts in a 30-day period are counted toward the program. The third start during that period of time is not eligible for program participation. Additionally, award money is not paid on breeders' purse supplements.
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