The New York Racing Association, Inc.
(NYRA) Board of Directors’ Racing Committee announced on Tuesday that the field
size of 2-year-old maiden races at sprint distances during the upcoming Saratoga
Race Course meet will be limited to eight starters. The field size for two-turn
juvenile maiden races will be limited to 10 starters.
“The catalyst behind limiting the
field sizes in the maiden races for juveniles was two-fold,” said NYRA Vice
President and Director of Racing P. J. Campo. “The smaller fields are expected
to produce more cleanly run events while also creating the opportunity to
showcase more high-quality races during the meet and beyond. We expect this
change will strengthen NYRA's juvenile stakes and allowance programs by
helping horses gain the experience they need to compete successfully at higher
“Protecting our horses is an
important mandate,” said New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President
and NYRA Board Member Rick Violette Jr. “Larger fields of inexperienced young
horses often result in roughly run races. This approach will offer a kinder,
gentler and, perhaps, wiser introduction to racing for young horses, and could,
in fact, extend their careers.
“Owners will have a better
opportunity to fairly evaluate the performances of their horses in manageable
fields,” Violette added. “This also will increase the chance that young horses
will improve mentally and physically from their first races, rather than having
to recover from them.”
The 40-day Saratoga meet commences for
the 144th time on Friday, July 20, with a card featuring the Grade 3
Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies and the Grade 3 James Marvin for sprinters.
There will be live racing six days a week, Wednesday through Monday. The
143rd running of the $1 million Travers is set for Saturday, August
25 with an undercard including the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, the Grade 1
Test, and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa. The Saratoga meet concludes on Labor Day, Monday,
September 3, featuring the Grade 2 Three Chimneys Hopeful for 2-year-old