The stakes schedule for the 2023 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will include 71 stakes worth $20.8 million in total purses.
Highlighted by the 154th renewal of the Grade 1 Travers on Aug. 26 and the Whitney (G1) on Aug. 5, the 40-day summer meet will open on Thursday, July 13, and continue through Monday, Sept. 4.
After the four-day opening weekend, racing will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, apart from closing week, when the 2023 summer meet will conclude on Labor Day.
Saratoga Live, produced by the New York Racing Association with Fox Sports, will return for its eighth season to provide expansive on-site daily TV coverage of the summer meet to a nationwide audience on the networks of Fox Sports.
Opening day, Thursday, July 13, kicks off the season with the Schuylerville (G3) for 2-year-old fillies with the following day to feature the Wilton for sophomore fillies to be contested out of the Wilson Chute and the Coronation Cup, a turf sprint for sophomore fillies.
Opening weekend is highlighted by the first Grade 1 of the Saratoga season in the $500,000 Diana for turf fillies and mares July 15. That day’s card will include the Sanford (G3) for juveniles on dirt; and the Kelso (G3), formerly the Forbidden Apple, at one mile on turf for older horses. The Grade 2 Kelso, which is traditionally run at one mile on dirt during the Belmont Park fall meet, will be renamed and run on a date to be determined.
The Quick Call (G3), a sophomore turf sprint, closes out opening weekend on Sunday, July 16.
The following Saturday, July 22, will see the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1 for sophomore fillies take center stage, headlining a card that also offers the Caress (G3), a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares.
Week 3, which offers the Amsterdam (G2) for 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs on Friday, July 28, is highlighted by the traditional local prep for the Travers, the Jim Dandy (G2) on Saturday, July 29. It will be joined by the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1), a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up. Closing out Jim Dandy weekend July 30 is the Bowling Green (G2) at 1 3/8 miles on the turf.
The restricted De La Rose for older filly and mare turf milers is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 2, as part of Whitney week leading into the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale on Aug. 7-8 and the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearlings sale on Aug. 13-14.
The Glens Falls (G2) for older turf marathoners is set for Thursday, Aug. 3, before Whitney weekend launches Friday, Aug. 4, with the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) for sophomore turf milers, which will see its purse increase to $500,000; and the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3) at 1 3/16 miles on turf for sophomore fillies.
Whitney Day on Saturday, Aug. 5, provides a trio of Grade 1 events, led by the Whitney at 1 1/8 miles for older horses offering an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
Completing the Grade 1s on Whitney Day will be the seven-furlong Test for sophomore fillies and the Saratoga Derby Invitational, at 1 3/16 miles on turf for sophomores. Whitney Day will also include the Troy (G3) for older turf sprinters, and the restricted Lure at 1 1/16 miles on turf for older horses.
Whitney weekend concludes on Sunday, Aug. 6, with the Adirondack (G3), a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies.
The Travers festival, which offers nine stakes including six Grade 1s from Wednesday, Aug. 23 through Saturday, Aug. 26, is headlined by the 154th edition of the 1 1/4-mile Travers on Aug. 26.
The Travers Day card features five Grade 1 stakes and an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup to the winner of the Sword Dancer (G1, Turf) and Ballerina Handicap (G1, Filly and Mare Sprint).
In addition to the Travers, the stacked card will also include the Forego (G1), a seven-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and upward, and the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs.
The Travers Festival kicks off Aug. 23 with the restricted John’s Call for older turf horses and continues on Thursday, Aug. 24, with the Ballston Spa (G2) at 1 1/16 miles for turf fillies and mares. The Aug. 25 card will offer the Personal Ensign (G1) at nine-furlongs for older fillies and mares along with the Smart N Fancy for older filly and mare turf sprinters.
New York-breds will take center stage on Sunday, Aug. 27, for New York Showcase Day, featuring six stakes for state-breds worth a combined $1.25 million.
The card is headlined by the Albany, a nine-furlong test for sophomores. Also featured are five $200,000 stakes, including the Fleet Indian for sophomore fillies; the West Point Handicap for 3-year-olds and up; and the Yaddo Handicap for fillies and mares 3 years old and up. A pair of sprints for juveniles previously offered at 6 1/2 furlongs now will both be contested at six furlongs in the Funny Cide for 2-year-olds and the Seeking the Ante for juvenile fillies.
New York-breds also will be highlighted at the Spa with four handicaps each boasting a purse of $125,000, including the Aug. 9 Johnstone Mile for fillies and mares 3 years old and up; the Aug. 10 John Morrissey at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up; the Aug. 11 Evan Shipman Handicap at one mile for 3-year-olds and up; and the six-furlong Union Avenue on AUg. 11 for fillies and mares 3 years old and up.
Among the other Grade 1 races at the Spa will be the A.P. Smithwick Memorial on July 19, the Jonathan Sheppard on Aug. 16 for steeplechasers; the Alabama on Aug. 19; and the Fourstardave Handicap, a Breeders’ Cup qualifier for the Mile, on Aug. 12, to be held on the same card as the Saratoga Special (G2).
Closing weekend of the Saratoga meet will feature a pair of Breeders’ Cup “win and you’re in” events on Saturday, Sept. 2, led by the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at 1 1/4 miles for 3-year-olds and up.
The Sept/ 2 card also includes the Flower Bowl (G2), an 11-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares offering a berth in the Filly and Mare Turf; the Prioress (G2) for sophomore filly sprinters; and the Harvey Pack for older turf sprinters.
The Harvey Pack, formerly the Lucky Coin, honors the late broadcasting pioneer, who for more than three decades was one of the best-known personalities in New York racing. At NYRA, Pack created and hosted racing replay shows such as “Thoroughbred Action” and “Inside Racing,” and as its director of promotions and special events, he created and hosted “The Paddock Club” at Belmont and Saratoga in which fans gathered to discuss racing and handicapping, often joined by special guests.
On Sunday, Sept. 3, juvenile fillies will sprint seven furlongs in the Spinaway (G1) as part of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Dozen series.
Closing day on Monday, Sept. 4, will feature the Bernard Baruch along with the prestigious Hopeful (G1) for 2-year-olds going seven furlongs to conclude the 2023 Saratoga meeting.
Click here for the complete Saratoga 2023 summer meet stakes schedule.