Saratoga kicks off its 40-day meet on July 20 with $150K events
Saratoga Race Course unfurls its terrific 40-day meet July 20. Its 150th campaign will stretch until September 3, featuring 69 stakes races and $18.8 million in purses.
The fabled New York State establishment practices a variation on the recent theme shown by well-funded tracks. They load weekend cards with big fields and high purses to entice strong betting pools. That has worked.
But, Saratoga is known as an abbreviated meet, luring patrons with a signature event nearly every day. The season is the center of the town’s vacation-season universe, just as Keeneland’s is to Lexington, Kentucky, in April.
Think one or two big ones during the week and a stronger weekend card. Six racing days a week. Dark on Tuesdays. Boom, boom, boom.
Saratoga launches its meet with the $150,000 Lake George and Schuylerville events July 20. One day later comes the $500,000 Diana Handicap, named for the mythical goddess Diana. The $150,000 Sanford helps anchor the card.
Here’s a rundown of other key Saratoga events:
- On July 22, the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks grabs the spotlight.
- The $200,000 Caress takes center stage July 23.
- The $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap is July 25
- The $150,000 A.P. Smithwick Steeplechase and $100,000 John Morrissey are July 26.
- The $100,000 Curlin is July 27.
- July 28 brings a blockbuster: a lucrative $1.4 million four-pack. This includes the $600,000 Jim Dandy, $350,000 Alfred Vanderbilt, $250,000 Bowling Green and $200,000 Amsterdam Races.
Other tracks complement the Saratoga menu:
- On July 21, Del Mar presents the $200,000 San Clemente Stakes and San Diego Handicap. Finger Lakes adds the $150,000 New York Derby, Woodbine offers the $125,000 Ontario Colleen and Parx Racing has the $100,000 Crowd Pleaser and Marshall Jenney Stakes.
- On July 28, Del Mar has the $300,000 Bing Crosby and $150,000 California Dreamin’ events. Woodbine presents the $100,000 King Corrie and Toronto Cup races.
The Lore and the Score
The Jim Dandy is a fan favorite because it toasts the 100-1 longshot who beat Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox in the 1930 Travers. The Jim Dandy and the Travers are now linked, with the July 28 race considered a prelude to the $1.25 million Travers on August 25.
That’s an important link, especially if the leading jockey switches horses from one race to the next….. New York bettors are savvy. If you think a horse should be 10-1 and he’s 5-1, give it another look before disregarding.