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Jul 17, 2015

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-SARATOGA 2015

By: JOE GIRARDI


               If the New York Racing Association had a World Series it would starting next week on July 24th and running through labor day September 7th. Saratoga begins their meeting on Friday July 24th and will run through Monday, September 7th. Unlike when the racing is downstate, at Saratoga, they will run six days a week with just one dark day, that coming on Tuesdays.

               One thing that you definitely will not be lacking at Saratoga is quality. There will be over 60 stakes races run over the course of the 40 day meeting. The stakes get underway on opening day with the traditional opening day feature race, the Grade III Schuylerville stakes, a race for two year old fillies run on the dirt over six furlongs with a purse of $150,000. There will be an additional stakes race on opening day when Saratoga will also host the Grade II Lake George, a race for three year old fillies run over the turf at a distance of 1 and 1/16th miles with a purse of $200,000. The first Grade I of the meeting comes on day 2 when they host the Diana stakes, a race for three year old and up, fillies and mares, run over the turf course at 1 and 1/8th miles distance with a purse of $500,000. In case that wasn’t enough for the opening weekend, on day 3, the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks will be run. A race for three year old fillies, run over 1 and 1/8th miles on the dirt with a purse of $300,000. Look for some of the top three year old fillies in the country to show up in here as they prep for the Alabama later in the meeting.     

               The next Grade I comes the following week on August 1st with the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. A race for three year olds and up run over six furlongs on the dirt with a purse of $350,000. There are two other stakes on that day as well, the Grade II Amsterdam, a race for three year olds run over six and a half furlongs with a $200,000 purse and the Grade II Jim Dandy, a race for three year olds, run over 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse for $600,000. The Jim Dandy will serve as a prep for the highlight of the meeting, the Travers Stakes.

               On August 6th, Saratoga will host the Grade I A. P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase stakes. A race for four year olds and upward run over the jumps at a distance of 2 and 1/16th miles. Two days later on Saturday August 8th, Saratoga will host two more Grade I races. The Grade I, Longines Test stakes, a race for three year old fillies run on the dirt at seven furlongs will see some of the top three year old fillies ship in for that race. The Grade I Whitney Handicap, a race for three year olds and upward will be run over 1 and 1/8th miles on the dirt with a huge purse of $1,250,000. This race always sees the top handicap horses in the country converge for this race.             

               The following weekend on August 15th, there are two Grade II races. The Grade II Adirondack, a race for two year old fillies run over the dirt at six and half furlongs with a purse of $200,000. They will also host the Grade II Fourstardave handicap, a race named after the veteran gelding that loved Saratoga, winning  at once race at the Spa every year from 1987-1994. The Fourstardave is a Grade II for three year olds and upward run over the turf at a one mile distance with a purse of $500,000.

               On Saturday August 22nd, the Grade I Alabama is on tap, a race for three year old fillies run over the dirt run over 1 and ¼ miles distance with a hefty purse of $600,000. The following Thursday August 27th another Grade I for steeplechase horses will be held, the New York Turf Writers Cup, a race for four year olds and upward will be run over a distance of 2 and 3/8ths miles with a purse of $150,000.

               The highlight of the meeting comes on Saturday August 29th. There will be seven graded stakes races with six of those races being Grade I’s. The Grade I Sword Dancer, a race for 3&UP run over the turf run at 1 and ½ miles with a purse of $1,000,000. The Grade I Ballerina, for filly and mares 3&UP will be run over seven furlongs on the dirt with a purse of $500,000. The Grade I Forego, a race for 3&UP, run on the dirt going seven furlongs with a purse of $700,000. The Grade I Personal Ensign, for filly and mares 3&UP run on the dirt going 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $750,000. The Grade I King’s Bishop, a race for three year olds run over seven furlongs on the main track with a purse of $500,000. And finally the highlight of the meeting, the Grade I Travers Stakes, a race for three year olds run over 1 and ¼ miles on the dirt with a purse of $1,250,000. It will be a huge day of racing culminating with the Travers.

               For more info buy our special Saratoga/Del Mar issue at www.americanturf.com. You can also visit www.nyra.com for further information.



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