The New York Racing Association Inc. announced Friday the stakes schedule for the 40-day summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses. The summer meet will open Thursday, July 15, and conclude Monday, Sept. 6.
Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that live sports and entertainment venues with a minimum reserved seating capacity of 10,000 will be permitted to re-open to a limited number of spectators beginning Feb. 23 with approval from the New York State Department of Health. All attendees must present a negative COVID PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event and adhere to health and safety requirements, including mandatory facial coverings and social distancing.
NYRA will continue to closely monitor New York State-issued regulations to determine how they impact Saratoga Race Course. Additional details on fan attendance and tickets for the 2021 summer meet will be provided as information becomes available.
The 2021 summer meet, which will offer at least one stakes race every live racing day, will be highlighted by the 152nd renewal of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on Aug. 28 and the $1 million Whitney (G1) on Aug. 7, as the anchors of two of the most prestigious racing days in North America.
The Saratoga meet also will include the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and the $600,000 Flower Bowl (G1), both previously run during the fall meet at Belmont Park.
After the four-day opening weekend, racing will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, with the exception of the final week, when the meet will conclude on Labor Day.
Whitney Day will feature three Grade 1 events, led by the Whitney at 1 1/8 miles, offering an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
Completing the trio of Grade 1s on Whitney Day will be the $500,000 Test for sophomore fillies and the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational, the second jewel of the Turf Triple series for sophomore males in its first year running with Grade 1 status. Whitney Day will also include the $250,000 Glens Falls (G2) for older fillies and mares on turf and the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure.
Whitney weekend kicks off Aug. 6, with the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) for sophomore turf milers; the $200,000 Troy (G3) for 4-year-olds and up going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf; and the $120,000 Alydar at nine furlongs for older horses.
Whitney weekend concludes on Aug. 8, with three stakes highlighted by the upgraded $700,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3), the second leg of the Turf Triple series for sophomore fillies. The Aug. 8 card also will include the $200,000 Adirondack (G2), a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies, and the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose at one mile on turf for older fillies and mares.
New York-breds will take center stage Friday, Aug. 27, for New York Showcase Day, featuring six stakes for state-breds worth a combined $1.15 million. The lucrative card is headlined by the $250,000 Albany, a nine-furlong test for sophomores. Also featured are a trio of $200,000 stakes in the Fleet Indian for sophomore fillies; the Funny Cide, for juvenile sprinters; and the Seeking the Ante for juvenile filly sprinters. Rounding out a special Empire State-bred slate are a pair of $150,000 turf events with the West Point Handicap for 3-year-olds and up and the Yaddo for fillies and mares 3 years old and up.
The 152nd edition of the Travers is the centerpiece of a blockbuster day of racing on Saturday, Aug. 28. The 2021 Travers Day card will include seven stakes, including six Grade 1 events, offering $4.6 million in total purse money with automatic berths in the Breeders’ Cup to the winner of the $750,000 Sword Dancer (Turf), the $600,000 Personal Ensign (Distaff), and the $500,000 Ballerina (Filly & Mare Sprint).
In addition, the Travers Day card will include the $600,000 Forego (G1), a seven-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and upward, and the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs. Rounding out the signature day at the Spa is the $400,000 Ballston Spa (G2) for turf fillies and mares.
The traditional local prep for the Travers, the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2), will be held Saturday, July 31. It will be joined by the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1), a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, and the $250,000 Bowling Green (G2) at 1 3/8 miles on the turf. Closing out Jim Dandy weekend Aug. 1 is the $200,000 Amsterdam (G2) for 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Additional upgraded races for the Saratoga summer meet include the previously listed $200,000 Caress (G3), a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares slated for Saturday, July 24, in addition to 20 stakes receiving a $20,000 boost to offer a $120,000 purse.
Opening Day, Thursday, July 15, will begin with a pair of graded stakes: the $150,000 Schuylerville (G3) for 2-year-old fillies and the $120,000 Quick Call (G3) for 3-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass.
Saratoga's first Grade 1 of 2021 is the $500,000 Diana for turf fillies and mares Saturday, July 17. The following Saturday, July 24, will see the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) take center stage.
Among other Grade 1 races at the Spa will be the $600,000 Alabama on Saturday, Aug. 21 and the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap, a Breeders' Cup qualifier for the Mile, on Saturday, Aug. 14, to be held on the same card as the $200,000 Saratoga Special (G2).
Closing weekend of the Saratoga meet will feature a pair of Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup "Win and You're In" events previously held in the fall at Belmont Park with the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (Classic) at 10 furlongs for 3-year-olds and up, and the $600,000 Flower Bowl (Filly and Mare Turf), an 11-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares, to anchor a Saturday, Sept. 4, card that also includes the $250,000 Prioress (G2) and the $300,000 Saranac (G3).
To accommodate the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Flower Bowl, the $750,000 Woodward (G1) and the $200,000 Waya (G3) will move from Saratoga to the Belmont fall meet.
On Sept. 5, 2-year-old fillies will sprint seven furlongs in the $300,000 Spinaway (G1).
Closing Day on Monday, Sept. 6, will feature the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) as well as the prestigious $300,000 Hopeful (G1) for 2-year-olds going seven furlongs to conclude the 153rd Saratoga meeting.
Beginning in 2021, the use of Furosemide (Lasix) is prohibited within 48 hours of all stakes races conducted at NYRA tracks.
To view the complete stakes schedule for the 2021 summer meet, visit NYRA.com/stakes.