Astarita Stakes

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11/13/2008
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The Astarita Stakes was an American Thoroughbred horse race run between 1946 and 2005 at New York's Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, Queens and at Belmont Park in Elmont. Open to two-year-old fillies, it was a sprint race contested on dirt over a distance of six and a half furlongs. It offered a purse of $100,000. The Astarita was given Grade III stakes status in 1973 when a grading system was instituted at all racetracks in North America. In 1981 it was elevated to a Grade II event before being downgraded in 2004 to its original Grade III which was maintained until the race was dropped from the schedule in 2006. In 1955 the Greater New York Association took over management of Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack, Jamaica Race Course and the Saratoga Race Course. Massive renovations led to the subsequent closure of Aqueduct Racetrack for four years and there was no Astarita Stakes run for the three years between 1958 and 1960. The race was named for John Madden's filly who won the 1902 inaugural running of the Astoria Stakes at the now defunct Gravesend Race Track on Coney Island, New York. The Astarita Stakes was run at: Aqueduct Racetrack: 1946-1955, 1962-1966, 1993-1994, 1997 Belmont Park: 1956-1957, 1961 It was contested at various distances: 6 furlongs : 1946-1956 6.5 furlongs : 1972-1994, 1997-2005 7 furlongs : 1957-1971, 1996 8 furlongs : 1995 The Astarita was run in two divisions in 1965, 1968 and 1972.
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