|Location||Saratoga Springs, New York, U.S.|
|Owned by||State of New York|
|Operated by||New York Racing Association|
|Date opened||August 3, 1863|
|Screened on|| MSG Plus (restricted to cable systems in New York City, Northern/Central New Jersey, Fairfield County, Connecticut and Northeastern Pennsylvania)|
Capital OTB via WXXA Channel 23.2)
NYRA.com/NYRA Now app (Internet)
Altitude Sports (Rocky Mountains)
Fox Sports 2
Fox Sports Ohio
Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket (Southern California)
Fox Sports San Diego
NBC Sports Network
|Notable races|| Travers Stakes (G1)|
Whitney Handicap (G1)
Alabama Stakes (G1)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1)
Saratoga Race Course is a Thoroughbred horse racing track located on Union Avenue in Saratoga Springs, New York, United States. Opened in 1863, it is often considered to be the oldest major sporting venue of any kind in the country,but is actually the fourth oldest racetrack in the US (after 3rd oldest Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack, 2nd oldest Fair Grounds Race Course, and oldest Freehold Raceway ). In 1857 the Empire Race Course was opened on an island in the Hudson River near Albany, but was in operation only a short time.
The Saratoga meet originally lasted only four days.The meet has been lengthened gradually since that time. From 1962 to 1990, the meet lasted four weeks and began in late July or early August. In 2010, the meet expanded to 40 racing days, with races held five days per week. It lasts from mid-July through Labor Day in early September.
Saratoga Springs was the site of standardbred racing as early as 1847.On August 3, 1863, casino operator and future congressman John Morrissey organized the first thoroughbred race card on the track previously used for harness racing (called Horse Haven that track is no longer used and is near the location of the Oklahoma Training Track). The current course was opened across the street from the old standardbred track the following year. Among those instrumental to the creation of the Saratoga Race Course were John Hunter (later the first chairman of The Jockey Club), William R. Travers, John Morrissey, and Leonard Jerome. Saratoga Race Course has been in use almost every year since 1864, with only a handful of exceptions. The course was closed in 1896 due to increasing competition among thoroughbred tracks, making the meet at Saratoga not viable that season. Anti-gambling legislation, which had passed in New York, resulted in a cessation in all thoroughbred racing in that state during 1911 and 1912. The track's first parimutuel betting machines were installed in 1940. From 1943 to 1945, racing was curtailed at Saratoga due to travel restrictions during World War II. During those years, the stakes races usually held at Saratoga Race Course were instead contested at Belmont Park.
The late 1800s were a period of decline for the Race Course. In 1892 it was purchased by notorious gambler Gottfried "Dutch Fred" Waldbaum, the operator of the notorious Guttenberg racetrack in North Bergen, New Jersey. Finally it was purchased in 1901 by a group of investors led by William Collins Whitney, who made major improvements and restored its reputation.
In the 1960s, the grandstand was extended, doubling the track's seating capacity.
In 1999, Saratoga Race Course was rated as Sports Illustrated's #10 sports venue of the 20th Century.
Saratoga Race Course has several nicknames: The Spa (for the nearby mineral springs), the House of Upsets, and the Graveyard of Champions. Famous race horses to lose at the track:
As is the case with the other two tracks operated by the New York Racing Association – Aqueduct and Belmont Park – there are three separate tracks in the main course at Saratoga Race Course:
Steeplechase races are also run at Saratoga Race Course and take place on the inner turf course.
The Oklahoma Training Track, which is across Union Avenue from the main course (was originally named Horse Haven), is used for warmups and training. The Oklahoma Training Track site was the location of the track used for racing at the inaugural meet in 1863; the main grandstand was opened at the current site the following year.On August 3, 2013, the new Whitney Viewing Stand opened at the Oklahoma Track. It allows public viewing of workouts at the track, replicating a former stand from the 19th century.
A former distinctive feature of Saratoga Race Course's dirt track was the Wilson Mile chute, which branched off from the clubhouse (first) turn at a 90-degree angle. After the 1971 meeting, its use was suspended; following a brief resumption during the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was dismantled, leaving no distance available for dirt races at one mile. A similarly-designed chute is still in use at Ellis Park Racecourse, a racetrack in Kentucky, and is the only such chute of its kind that can be found at any North American track today.
The grounds at Saratoga Race Course contain several unique features. Prior to each race, a bell is hand rung at exactly 17 minutes prior to scheduled post time for each race to call the jockeys to the paddock.Patrons can get close up views of the horses being led to the paddock as the path from the stables runs through the picnic grounds. There is a mineral spring called the Big Red Spring in the picnic grounds where patrons can partake of the water that made Saratoga Springs famous. A gazebo is a prominent feature on the infield, and a stylized version of the gazebo is part of Saratoga Race Course logo.
Saratoga Race Course is home to several of the most important races in North America. Since 1864, the track has been the site of the Travers Stakes, the oldest major thoroughbred horse race in the United States.Like the Kentucky Derby, the Travers Stakes is contested on dirt and is open only to three-year-olds, with a purse of $1,250,000. Several other major stakes races are held at Saratoga each year as well, including the Alabama Stakes (for three-year-old fillies), the Hopeful Stakes for two-year-olds, and the Whitney Handicap for open competition (a Breeders' Cup Classic "Win and You're In" qualifier).
A new addition in recent years has been "twilight racing", where the first race post time is at 2:30 pm on some days, previously 2:45 PM.
The following are Graded stakes races run at Saratoga:
Grade I Stakes races:
Grade II Stakes races:
Grade III Stakes races:
Discontinued Stakes races:
Buried at Clare Court Jogging Track are Fourstardave, Mourjane (IRE), Quick Calland A Phenomenon. Champion filly Go For Wand, who suffered a fatal injury during the stretch run of the 1990 Breeders Cup Distaff, is buried in the Saratoga Race Course infield.
The Race Course is the setting of a scene early on in the Ian Fleming James Bond novel Diamonds Are Forever .
It also is the setting of Sherwood Anderson's short story "I Want to Know Why".
Saratoga is also referenced in Carly Simon's 1972 #1 hit, "You're So Vain." The line "I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won" refers to the Saratoga Race Course.
The racetrack is referenced in the song "Adelaide's Lament" from the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls in the line "When they get on that train to Niagara and she can hear church bells chime, the compartment is air conditioned and the mood sublime...then they get off at Saratoga for the fourteenth time!"
Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse racing facility in the northeastern United States, located in Elmont, New York, just east of the New York City limits. It was opened on May 4, 1905.
Whirlaway was a champion American Thoroughbred racehorse who is the fifth winner of the American Triple Crown. He also won the Travers Stakes after his Triple Crown sweep to become the first and only horse to win all four races.
Jerry D. Bailey is an NBC Sports thoroughbred racing analyst and a retired American Hall of Fame jockey.
Easy Goer was an American Champion Hall of Fame Thoroughbred racehorse known for earning American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt honors in 1988 and defeating 1989 American Horse of the Year Sunday Silence in the Belmont Stakes by eight lengths. Both horses were later voted into the American Hall of Fame. The victory deprived Sunday Silence of the Triple Crown. It was also the second-fastest Belmont in history, behind only the record performance of Secretariat in 1973. Easy Goer was the first two-year-old champion to win a Triple Crown race since Spectacular Bid in 1979. Easy Goer also ran the fastest mile on dirt by any three-year-old in the history of Thoroughbred racing with a time of 1:32+2⁄5, which was a second faster than Secretariat's stakes record, and one-fifth of a second off of the world record set by Dr. Fager in 1968.
Ellis Park is a thoroughbred racetrack in Henderson, Kentucky, just south of Evansville, Indiana. It is owned and operated by Ellis Entertainment, a subsidiary of Laguna Development Corporation based out of New Mexico. While the track is located north of the Ohio River that forms the border between Kentucky and Indiana, which would put it within Indiana, the border is based on the course of the river at the time Kentucky became a state in 1792.
Samuel Clay Hildreth was an American Thoroughbred horse racing Hall of Fame trainer and owner.
The Whitney Stakes is an American Grade 1 stakes race for Thoroughbred racehorses three years of age and older run at a distance of 1+1⁄8 miles. The current purse is $1,200,000.
The Sword Dancer Stakes is an American race for thoroughbred horses, aged three and up, run annually in mid August at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. A prep for the Breeders' Cup Turf, it is set at a distance of one and one-half miles on the turf. A Grade I event, the race currently offers a purse of $1,000,000.
A graded stakes race is a thoroughbred horse race in the United States that meets the criteria of the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). A specific grade level is then assigned to the race, based on statistical analysis of the quality of the field in previous years, provided the race meets the minimum purse criteria for the grade in question. In Canada, a similar grading system is maintained by the Jockey Club of Canada. Graded stakes races are similar to Group races in Europe but the grading is more dynamic in North America.
Sea Hero was an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the 1993 Kentucky Derby and Travers Stakes. Beginning in 2011, Sea Hero was the oldest living winner of the Kentucky Derby until his death in 2019.
Kiaran P. McLaughlin is an American Thoroughbred racehorse trainer best known for training 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor.
Ramón A. Domínguez is a retired Eclipse Award-winning champion jockey and Hall of Fame member in American thoroughbred horse racing.
Sheepshead Bay Race Track was an American Thoroughbred horse racing facility built on the site of the Coney Island Jockey Club at Sheepshead Bay, New York.
Langfuhr is a Canadian Hall of Fame Thoroughbred racehorse.
Smarten was an American Thoroughbred racehorse and successful sire. Bred in Maryland by Jim and Eleanor Ryan and raced under their Ryehill Farm banner, he had a record of 27: 11-8-2 with career earnings of $716,426.
Devil His Due was a multimillionaire American Thoroughbred racehorse and successful sire. Bred in Kentucky by Peter E. Blum and raced under the Blue Ribbon Farm banner, he had a record of 41: 11-12-3 with career earnings of $3,920,405. At the time of his retirement, he was fourth on the all-time career earnings list. Devil His Due was best known for his three races in the grade one Pimlico Special and his two wins in the grade one Suburban Handicap. He was registered as a dark bay colt; but was later classified as a "true black."
Thunder Rumble was an American Thoroughbred racehorse that The Blood-Horse called a "sensation at Saratoga" race course for his performances there in 1992.
Flat Out is a retired American Thoroughbred racehorse and prospective breeding stallion. Bred in Florida, he won nine of his twenty-nine races in a track career which lasted from November 2008 until November 2013. He produced many of his best performances at Belmont Park, where he won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2011 and 2012, the Suburban Handicap in 2011 and 2013 and the Westchester Stakes in 2013. His only major win at another track came on his final racecourse appearance when he defeated a strong field in the Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Huron Handicap was an American Thoroughbred horse race run between 1901 and 1940 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. Raced on dirt, it was run at a distance of 1 3/16 miles with the exception of 1914 when the distance was set at 1 1/4 miles.
Catholic Boy, is an American Thoroughbred racehorse who has won major races on both turf and dirt. As a juvenile in 2017 he won three of his four races including the With Anticipation Stakes and the Remsen Stakes. In the following year he was one of the best colts of his generation in America, winning the Pennine Ridge Stakes and Belmont Derby on turf before switching to dirt to take the Travers Stakes. As a four-year-old in 2019 he won the Dixie Stakes.
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