Two of the biggest days in North American
racing will highlight the historic 147th meet at
Saratoga Race Course this summer, with the
Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers the centerpiece
of a supercharged Travers Day and the Grade 1,
$1.25 million Whitney anchoring five stakes on
Whitney Festival Day, Saturday, Aug. 8, the New
York Racing Association (NYRA) announced in
The 40-day meet, which includes 69 stakes
worth a record $18.7 million in purses, will
run from Friday, July 24, through Labor Day,
Monday, Sept. 7. After opening weekend, racing
will be conducted six days a week, Wednesdays
through Mondays, NYRA officials said.
“We have made improvements to Travers Day
to keep in line with the creation of our ‘must-see’
events,” said Martin Panza, NYRA senior vice
president of racing operations.
“We are developing
Travers Day into a national event–a mini
Breeders’ Cup–by increasing the purses for the
Personal Ensign and the Forego. By including
the Sword Dancer and raising the purse to $1
million we hope to create international involvement
in that race.”
Joining the 146th running of the Travers
for 3-year-olds on Saturday, Aug. 29 will be five
other Grade 1 stakes, including the 1 ½-mile
Sword Dancer Invitational on the turf, whose
purse has been enhanced to $1 million. Also
added to the card and receiving purse hikes
are the $750,000, 1 1/8-mile Personal Ensign
for fillies and mares and the $700,000 Forego
at seven furlongs.
Rounding out the card are the $500,000 Ballerina
for fillies and mares and the $500,000 King’s
Bishop, both at seven furlongs, and the Grade 2,
$400,000 Ballston Spa for turf fillies and mares.
Officials said the prestigious 1 1/8-mile
Whitney will pair with the Grade 1, $500,000
Test for 3-year-old fillies atop the festival card,
which also offers the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-
Tipton Waya for turf fillies and mares going 1
1/2 miles. Also on August 8 are two additional
turf stakes: the $100,000 Lure at 1 1/16 miles and the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose at a
mile for fillies and mares.
The traditional local prep for the Travers,
the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy, will be held
on Saturday, Aug. 1.
Additions to the Spa stakes schedule include
the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green at 1 3/8
miles on the turf on Saturday, Aug. 1, which will
serve as a prep for the Sword Dancer, and two
new juvenile turf stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs: the
$100,000 Bolton Landing for fillies on Wednesday,
August 19, and the $100,000 Schenectady
on Friday, Aug. 21.
“Both of these 2-year-old turf stakes were
created with a look ahead to the Breeders’ Cup,”
A prelude to the Travers will be New York
Breeders’ Showcase Day, which will be moved
to Friday, Aug. 28, instead of on Sunday. The
popular state-bred card will include six stakes,
highlighted by the $250,000 Albany for 3-yearolds
going 1 1/8 miles.
Opening Day will kick off with a pair of graded
stakes: the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville
for 2-year-old fillies and the Grade 3, $200,000
Lake George for 3-year-old turf fillies. Continuing
the traditional juvenile dirt stakes are the
Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford on Saturday, July 25;
the Grade 2, $200,000 Toyota Saratoga Special
on Sunday, Aug. 16 and the Grade 1, $350,000
Hopeful on Monday, Sept. 7, along with their
sister races: the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack
on Saturday, Aug. 15 and the Grade 1, $350,000
Spinaway on Saturday, Sept. 5.
Grade 1 action commences with the $500,000
TVG Diana for turf fillies and mares on Saturday,
July 25, and the $300,000 Coaching Club
American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday,
July 26. Continuing the world-class Grade 1
offerings are the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt
Handicap for sprinters on Saturday, Aug. 1; the
Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on Saturday, Aug.
22, and the Travers, Sword Dancer, Personal
Ensign, Forego, Ballerina and King’s Bishop on
Saturday, Aug. 29.