07/04/2012 3:07PM

Saratoga 2-year-old maiden sprints limited to eight starters


The New York Racing Association will limit the number of starters in 2-year-old maiden sprint races to eight at the upcoming Saratoga meet. The limit for starters in two-turn dirt races will remain at 10.

Previously, NYRA allowed as many as 14 horses to run in a juvenile maiden sprint.

P.J. Campo, NYRA vice president/director of racing, said there were two primary reasons for the change.

“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,” Campo said in a press release. “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 levels.”

Two-turn races on turf at Saratoga that are rained off to the dirt are run at seven furlongs. In the event a juvenile maiden turf event is moved to the dirt and retains 10 starters, it is believed all 10 will be allowed to run though NYRA officials would not comment publicly on Wednesday.

Trainer Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said the smaller fields should be “kinder and gentler” for the 2-year-olds while giving horsemen a better evaluation of their horse’s performance.

“Large fields of inexperienced young horses often result in roughly-run races,” Violette said. “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.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who starts more 2-year-olds than anyone at Saratoga, felt that limiting juvenile fields to 10 starters at six and seven furlongs would have been a better approach.

“At six and seven furlongs it’s very safe to run 10 2-year-olds or 10 horses of any age,” Pletcher said. “I can understand limiting it to eight at five or 5 1/2 furlongs.”

Saratoga opens on July 20.

max max More than 1 year ago
Another stupid ruling! 8 instead of 10 inexperienced 2 yr olds will solve nothing! If the five veers out or in he's still going to knock a few off stride! The jockeys are pinheads no matter what size the field is as they can find trouble going a mile and a quarter in a five horse field. As for the comments that this is going to help the two year olds develop, untrue. Just means the track will be able to card more non winners other than races and that's it.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Good news... Del Mar has seconded this move and reduced 2yo fields to ten. Maybe some of these babies will make it to three!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Wow I ll bet the jockeys in the UK wish they had nice cream puff races like these!!!
paul cervenan More than 1 year ago
Well, Pletcher, that will mean that you can wreck LESS horses for a change! Horse Racing should never be a production line sport. I'm glad NYRA is finally putting a foot into your face. In the last three years you have wrecked 3 Classic colts, maybe with this "New Rule" you will be able to start one in the Derby???
milezinni More than 1 year ago
I was reading through some of these comments and I think I am starting to understand why horse racing in our country is in such a horrible state of decline. And, unfortunately, it will have to get worse, before it gets any better..
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
Why? Because you get a lot of different opinions? It would be a boring world if we all thought alike.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
I think 8 horses for any race is perfect. More is heavy on the pocket, and less is praying the even money favorite will get an extremely bad break.
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
Sam : your rather a bad handicapper or you like the Greyhound dod racing ! No dis-respect - but 8 horse fields become very boring - then ya have scratches - next thing ya know , a storm passes thru - and there ya are with a 3 horse field ! Everyone needs to take a nice close look at LONE STAR PARK with their 2 yr olds ! Absolutely Possitive : and those are ( 4 1/2 ) - ( 5 ) - ( 5 1/2 ) races with a field of 10 - 11 - 12 ! Open Company in many of them
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
Nah, I'm very average. Not great, not horrible. If you want to wheel a horse it gets costly past eight horses. I try to hit with the least expense possible. And I said myself in so many words that extremely small fields suck. So we are in agreement and disagreement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not sure who made the rule change but whoever did has a horse's rear end where their brain should be!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd rather play large fields to get better payout chances in each of the betting pools, not less and more chance of 6-7 horse field thru scratches. Bad idea imo all around. Derby quality horses will run no matter what the field size.
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
I personally at this time like ( LONE STAR PARK ) as in wagering on 2 yr old "colts n fillies" races .............. There are many ( Open Maiden races ) with full fiel of 10 - 11 - 12 . They have many MSW races for 2 yr olds as well ! I have a very good friend in W CALHOUN as a trainer . W C normally will use jockey BERRY as his go to player reguarding a good sign . CALHOUN has many good looking 2 yr olds this year . I wish them well ! Not really Derby type : but Winning early in their career YES .
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
The folks who make the rulesfor the KY Derby should take a look at this and consider limiting the field in that race to 14. Also, the rule seems to have been implemented, albeit not by fiat, in California where 5 and 6-horse fields are common.
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
The KENTUCKY DERBY should be RULED as having ( 24 Starters ) with a ruling that Any Starter must have raced in "Either" G1 - G2 - G3 race as a ( 2 yr old ) ....................... this would clean the Cob-Webs in order to get rid of the Spiders . I understand this would cast out Many great colts - such as Late Bloomers . But lets be serious - are they really late bloomers , or are they just beingkept out of harms way - by taking one huge leap of faith as a 3 yr old to make the DERBY . Lets start the KENTUCKY DERBY series like it use to be - as starting well into their 2 yr old career . The Breeding will even increase in SALES . Owners - Trainers have it too easy in this game - my belief ! With No Dis-respect - but these colts and fillies are being BABIED way too much .
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
The Puett Starting Gate has 14 stalls... There IS a reason for that.