Well it is this time of year again, Saratoga. The be all end all for the true horse racing fan
who loves quality racing, warm weather, historical sites and the occasional thunderstorm. If you
have been to Saratoga you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t you should make your
plans now to be at the “August Place To Be”. If you are a racing fan the trip to Saratoga is a necessity.
Saratoga opens its doors for the 136th racing season on July 28th, 2004 running through
Labor Day, Monday, September 6th. Dark days are Tuesdays and there will be 36 live racing days. First
post time is with the only exception coming on Travers Day, Saturday, August 28th, when first
post will be at .
General admission into the track is $3; clubhouse admission is $5. Children 12 and under are
admitted free if they are accompanied by an adult. Gates for admission open at 11 a. m. on weekdays
and on weekends. The only exception to that is again on Travers Day when the gates open
As always there will be giveaway days at Saratoga. Jockey John Velazquez, Saratoga’s leading
rider in 2003, will be featured in a Bobble Head Doll Giveaway on Thursday, July 29th; Saratoga
Baseball Cap, Sunday, August 1st; Saratoga T-Shirt, Sunday August 8th; Saratoga Umbrella, Sunday,
August 15th; Saratoga Pint Glass Set, Sunday, August 22nd; Saratoga Classic T-Shirt, Sunday,
On August 1st Saratoga will be hosting NHL Day, fans will be able to meet past and current
players. On August 8th, Saratoga will be hosting NFL Alumni Day where the fans will be able to meet
past and current NFL players. On both of these days there will be giveaways which should help add
to what are usually large crowds.
Another attraction when coming to Saratoga is the breakfast. This has been a tradition for a
long time at Saratoga. Many people come out to watch the workouts and enjoy a buffet Breakfast. The
breakfast is served from until the admission to the breakfast is free, except for
Travers Day. The vistors to the breakfast may also take a free tram tour of the Backstretch area or
watch the paddock show and starting gate demonstration. There will be no tram tours on Travers Day
or closing day, Labor Day.
If you are coming out to Saratoga to make some money lets look at some tips that can help
in that area. Last year’s leading jockey was John Velazquez who set a record with 61 wins for a winning
percentage of 26%. He easily bested Jerry Bailey who finished second with 46 wins. Prado, another
7 wins back in third was easily clear of the fourth place finisher Pat Day who had 22. When going to
the window these jockeys are going to be overbet. Many people that come out to Saratoga are tourist
who bet on names they know so you will sometimes get the worst of the price. Some jockeys to look
for that can offer some value at the window are Jose Santos, who gets a good bulk of some solid
mounts and Jorge Chavez. Both of the jockeys are coming off poor meetings in 2003, especially
Chavez. Look for them to have bounce back meetings at solid prices. Chavez, who only had 9
winners, put up a goose egg in 38 grass tries, look for that to change and probably at long odds.
On the trainer’s side of things Todd Pletcher, like Velazquez set a record for the amount of
wins. He won 35 races in 36 days at Saratoga and 24 of those wins came in the first 18 days.
Velazquez rides first call and all of their horses are potent but when playing at the windows again
you will have to take the worst of the price. When trying for some value some trainers to look for
that are coming off some solid Saratoga meetings are John Terranova and Thomas Albertrani.
Terranova was six for 17 with an in the money percentage of 70.6% and Albertrani was four for
14 with an in the money percentage of 50%. These trainers are not usually high on the radar so
give a look when they have a horse entered, especially if the price is right.
Good Luck up at the Spa and hope to see you out there!