by NYRA Press Office
Trainer Danny Gargan, who won the Heavenly Prize on Sunday with Kentucky-bred Divine Miss Grey, enjoyed a successful week of racing from March 8-10 at Aqueduct Racetrack with a pair of wins with horses who earned bonuses as part of the New York Racing Association's (NYRA) innovative Starter Loyalty program.
Gargan was one of three conditioners to saddle a Starter Loyalty Program-winner last week and one of three trainers who won multiple races, joining Kelly Breen and 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.
Over the past week, 13 winning horses across three days of racing [encompassing 28 total races at the Big A] were members of the Starter Loyalty Program. Gargan was victorious with Honey Graeme in Friday's seventh race and with Trouble for Skylar in Saturday's sixth race.
Single-race winning trainers last week included Linda Rice, Gary Contessa, Todd Pletcher, Jorge Abreu, Chad Brown, Eddie Barker, and Mertkan Kantarmaci.
Jordan Wycoff's Honey Graeme, a Gold member, won a $43,000 claiming race, picking up her second win in her last three starts.
Trouble for Skylar, owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds, won her first race since breaking her maiden in 2017, posting an impressive 11 ¾ length score in a $28,000 claiming race. In total, Gargan's winners earned an additional $2,929 through the bonus program.
"It was a great weekend for us and we're looking to build off this for the rest of the meet," said Gargan. "The Starter Loyalty program is beneficial for both horsemen and owners rewarding those that run consistently to help offset some of the costs of racing and we're thankful for that."
Other winning Starter Loyalty Program members last week include Silver-member Vino Rosso, who captured the Stymie; and New York-bred Espresso Shot, a Silver-member, who picked up a $6,875 bonus for winning the Busher Invitational while also earning 50 qualifying points to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
For more information on the Starter Loyalty Program, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/horsemen/2018-19-sta...
NYRA 2018-19 Loyalty Program, at a glance:
From the period between April 2, 2018 through April 1, 2019
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.