12/27/2014 9:44AM

Saratoga slates six Grade 1's on Travers Day

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In keeping with its theory that big race days mean big business, the New York Racing Association has beefed up Travers Day at Saratoga in 2015 to include seven stakes, six of which are Grade 1s, worth $5.1 million in total.

Former Grade 1 standalone events such as the Sword Dancer Invitational – which had its purse doubled to $1 million – and the Personal Ensign – which received a 50 percent purse increase to $750,000 – have been added to the Aug. 29 Travers Day program. The Grade 1 Forego, previously run on the final Saturday of the meet, has been moved to Travers Day and had its purse increased by 40 percent to $700,000.

The Grade 1 Travers for 3-year-olds, the centerpiece of every Saratoga summer, retained its purse of $1.25 million from a year ago, as did the Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop. The Grade 2 Ballston Spa, for fillies and mares on turf, had its purse increased from $250,000 to $400,000.

The last two years, with 14-race cards that included four stakes, all-sources handle on Travers Day has averaged $40.6 million. Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations, said his goal is to have Travers Day 2015 handle between $70 million and $80 million.

To do that, Panza said, “We need some other big races that can attract top horses.”

The enhanced Travers Day card highlights the 2015 Saratoga stakes schedule that will include 69 stakes worth a record $18.7 million. The 2014 Saratoga meet featured 68 stakes worth $17.45 million. The Grade 2 Bowling Green, formerly run at Belmont, was moved to Saratoga for 2015, while two overnight sprint stakes for 2-year-olds – the Bolton Landing and Schenectady – were added, and two turf stakes for 3-year-olds – the Sir Cat and Tenski – were dropped.

The 40-day Saratoga meet in 2015 runs from July 24 through Sept. 7.

NYRA also bulked up the Aug. 1 card – the second Saturday of the meet – adding the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt for sprinters and the Bowling Green at 1 3/8 miles on turf to a card highlighted by the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy for 3-year-olds. The Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam for 3-year-old sprinters also is on the Aug. 1 card.

NYRA officials had said previously that the Grade 1 Whitney card would be enhanced. But that Aug. 8 card lost the Vanderbilt while picking up the newly minted Grade 3 Waya for females at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Also, the Whitney had its purse cut from $1.5 million to $1.25 million so that it is not worth more than the Travers. The Grade 1 Test for 3-year-old fillies and the Lure and De La Rose – both $100,000 turf stakes – are on the Whitney program.

New York Breeders’ Showcase Day, featuring six stakes restricted to New York-breds, had its inaugural running the day after the Travers in 2014. It will have its second running the day before the Travers in 2015.

The Grade 3 Schuylerville, for 2-year-old fillies, will be joined by the Grade 2 Lake George for 3-year-old turf fillies on the July 24 opening-day card.

DATE EVENT CONDITIONS DISTANCE PURSE
Fri., July 24 SCHUYLERVILLE (G3) 2YO F 6 furlongs $150,000
Fri., July 24 LAKE GEORGE (G2) 3YO F 1 1/16 miles (T) 200,000
Sat., July 25 DIANA (G1) F-M 3YO & up 1 1/8 miles (T) 500,000
Sat., July 25 SANFORD (G3) 2YO 6 furlongs 150,000
Sun., July 26 COACHING CLUB OAKS (G1) 3YO F 1 1/8 miles 300,000
Mon., July 27 LUCKY COIN 4YO & up 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Wed., July 29 HONORABLE MISS (G2) F-M 3YO & up 6 furlongs 200,000
Wed., July 29 A.P. SMITHWICK MEM. (G1) 4YO & up 2 1/16 miles (T) 100,000
Thu., July 30 JOHN MORRISSEY 3YO & up* 6 1/2 furlongs 100,000
Fri., July 31 CURLIN 3YO 1 1/8 miles 100,000
Sat., Aug. 1 JIM DANDY (G2) 3YO 1 1/8 miles 600,000
Sat., Aug. 1 ALFRED G. VANDERBILT (G1) 3YO & up 6 furlongs 350,000
Sat., Aug. 1 BOWLING GREEN (G2) 4YO & up 1 3/8 miles (T) 250,000
Sat., Aug. 1 AMSTERDAM (G2) 3YO 6 furlongs 200,000
Sun., Aug. 2 SHUVEE H. F-M 3YO & up 1 1/8 miles 200,000
Sun., Aug. 2 CARESS F-M 4YO & up 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Mon., Aug. 3 CORONATION CUP 3YO F 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Wed., Aug. 5 SHINE AGAIN 3YO & up 7 furlongs 100,000
Thu., Aug. 6 QUICK CALL 3YO 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Fri., Aug. 7 HALL OF FAME (G3) 3YO 1 1/16 miles (T) 200,000
Sat., Aug. 8 WHITNEY (G1) 3YO & up 1 1/8 miles 1.25 million
Sat., Aug. 8 TEST (G1) 3YO F 7 furlongs 500,000
Sat., Aug. 8 WAYA (G3) F-M 3YO & up 1 1/2 miles (T) 200,000
Sat., Aug. 8 LURE 4YO & up 1 1/16 miles (T) 100,000
Sat., Aug. 8 DE LA ROSE F-M 4YO & up 1 mile (T) 100,000
Sun., Aug. 9 ALYDAR 4YO & up 1 1/8 miles 100,000
Mon., Aug. 10 NYSS CAB CALLOWAY 3YO 1 mile (T) 100,000
Wed., Aug. 12 BIRDSTONE 3YO & up 1 3/4 miles 100,000
Thu., Aug. 13 NYSS STATUE OF LIBERTY 3YO F 1 mile (T) 100,000
Fri., Aug. 14 LAKE PLACID (G2) 3YO F 1 1/8 miles (T) 300,000
Sat., Aug. 15 FOURSTARDAVE (G2) 3YO & up 1 mile (T) 500,000
Sat. Aug. 15, ADIRONDACK (G2) 2YO F 6 1/2 furlongs 200,000
Sun., Aug. 16 SARATOGA SPECIAL (G2) 2YO 6 1/2 furlongs 200,000
Mon., Aug. 17 SARATOGA DEW F-M 3YO & up* 1 1/8 miles 100,000
Wed., Aug. 19 BOLTON LANDING 2YO F 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Thu., Aug. 20 NY TURF WRITERS CUP (G1) 4YO & up 2 3/8 miles (T) 150,000
Thu., Aug. 20 UNION AVENUE F-M 3YO & up* 6 1/2 furlongs 100,000
Fri., Aug. 21 SCHENECTADY 2YO 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Sat., Aug. 22 ALABAMA (G1) 3YO F 1 1/4 miles 600,000
Sat., Aug. 22 TROY 3YO & up 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Sun., Aug. 23 TALE OF THE CAT 3YO & up 6 furlongs 100,000
Mon., Aug. 24 SUMMER COLONY F-M, 3YO & up 1 1/8 miles 100,000
Wed., Aug. 26 JOHN’S CALL 3YO & up 1 5/8 miles (T) 100,000
Thu., Aug. 27 RISKAVERSE 3YO F 1 mile (T) 100,000
Fri., Aug. 28 ALBANY 3YO* 1 1/8 miles 250,000
Fri., Aug. 28 FLEET INDIAN 3YO F* 1 1/8 miles 200,000
Fri., Aug. 28 FUNNY CIDE 2YO* 6 1/2 furlongs 200,000
Fri., Aug. 28 SEEKING THE ANTE 2YO F* 6 1/2 furlongs 200,000
Fri., Aug. 28 WEST POINT 3YO & up* 1 1/16 miles (T) 150,000
Fri., Aug. 28 YADDO F-M 3YO & up* 1 1/16 miles (T) 150,000
Sat., Aug. 29 TRAVERS (G1) 3YO 1 1/4 miles 1.25 million
Sat., Aug. 29 SWORD DANCER (G1) 3YO & up 1 1/2 miles (T) 1 million
Sat., Aug. 29 PERSONAL ENSIGN (G1) F-M 3YO & up 1 1/8 miles 750,000
Sat., Aug. 29 FOREGO (G1) 3YO & up 7 furlongs 700,000
Sat., Aug. 29 BALLERINA (G1) F-M 3YO & up 7 furlongs 500,000
Sat., Aug. 29 KING’S BISHOP (G1) 3YO 7 furlongs 500,000
Sat., Aug. 29 BALLSTON SPA (G2) F-M 3YO & up 1 1/16 miles (T) 400,000
Sun., Aug. 30 SMART N FANCY F-M 3YO & up 5 1/2 furlongs (T) 100,000
Mon., Aug. 31 BETTER TALK NOW 3YO 1 mile (T) 100,000
Wed., Sept. 2 WITH ANTICIPATION (G2) 2YO 1 1/16 miles (T) 200,000
Thu., Sept. 3 P.G. JOHNSON 2YO F 1 1/16 miles (T) 100,000
Fri., Sept. 4 EVAN SHIPMAN 3YO & up* 1 1/8 miles 100,000
Sat., Sept. 5 WOODWARD (G1) 3YO & up 1 1/8 miles 600,000
Sat., Sept. 5 SPINAWAY (G1) 2YO F 7 furlongs 350,000
Sat., Sept. 5 SARANAC (G3) 3YO 1 1/8 miles (T) 300,000
Sat., Sept. 5 GLENS FALLS (G3) F-M 3YO & up 1 3/8 miles (T) 200,000
Sun., Sept. 6 PRIORESS (G2) 3YO F 6 furlongs 300,000
Mon., Sept. 7 HOPEFUL (G1) 2YO 7 furlongs 350,000
Mon., Sept. 7 BERNARD BARUCH (G2) 3YO & up 1 1/16 miles (T) 250,000
Old timer More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree more with Capo. They just don't have good distance races any more. The demise of the Breeder's Cup Marathon says it all. Nobody wanted to run U. S. based horses that far and most of the entries came over from Europe anyway. I used to watch the Jockey Club Gold Cup when it was 2 miles. Then they cut it back to 1 1/2 miles and now it is just 1 1/4. The Coaching Club for the fillies used to be 1 1/2 miles, once around Belmont's oval, and they have cut that back now as well. It is too bad. Like Capo said, it added another level of strategy and drama going a long distance. It wasn't just speed speed speed.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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WarChant More than 1 year ago
The problem with that thinking is that younger generation is EVENT driven and only pays attention to racing 4 days a year..the triple crown and the saturday breeders cup card. The rest of the year they have no interest in watching cheap horses run 5 days a week with short fields. Kay is attempting to give them more EVENTS and putting lots of money on the line one day draws interest from that more casual younger generation. So if you can get them up where they are paying attention 10-12 days a year they may pay more attention to more days. worth taking a shot at it
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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WarChant More than 1 year ago
the alydar vs affirmed legend was made in the triple crown....events. you saw seattle slew and spectacular bid in "events" hall of fame horses attract crowds in "events"
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
This generation of youngsters have the attention span of a Dog.
Thomas Nicholson More than 1 year ago
Wonder what new plans Chris Kay has to separate his view of the have's and the have nots?????? More TV 's out in the parking lot ?????
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
If it wasn't for the Turf races, there would be no race longer then 10f. What a shame really. Would be nice if the Woodward and Whitney should be 10f. Why qualify horses for the classic when they run in qualifying races that are a shorter? In France you run in the the Prix de Niel, or Prix de Foy at 12f to prep for the 12f Arc. Why in the USA would you win and your in at 9f, or prep at 9f for a 10f year end race?
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Russel I just think that you wait 25 minutes per race to see a 1:09 sprint and then another 25 minutes. The distance races provide a bit more drama and excitement. There is nothing at the Spa anymore to test older horses going long. No more distance races, no more weight carriers, nothing. as for the race distances in general being shortened. That is a real crying shame, and only being done IMO to please the breeders who have ruined the breed in North America, and can only produce sprinter milers who can carry their speed. Sorry I am at work so I don't have time to elaborate further. Let's just say, I hate 99% of the Saratoga cards. I like Travers day though.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Funny you mention that Russell. Go back and check out the story of Omaha and his full brother Flares. In 1937 Mr.Woodward sent Omaha to Ascot to compete in the Gold Cup, and he finished a valiant second. The following year they shipped his full brother Flares and he won the Gold cup. They had the horse, and had the ba.lls to give it a shot. It worked out well. Tom Rolfe went to France in 65 to take on the Euro' in the Arc and he finished 5th to the Great Sea Bird.... but They took a shot because he was a quality horse. Now , nobody tries to run over there. I give Barry Irwin credit fro trying to run Animal Kingdom in the Queen Anne, but he should have run 10f in the Prince of Wales' stakes. Wesley Ward has been shipping to Ascot for years now with his cranked up 2 year olds, but that is all. Nobody else ever tries.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Every other race will be a 6-7 firlong sprint. Turf and dirt. The Span's card has really dipped.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Furlong*
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
Sorry auto correct. The Spa*
Old timer More than 1 year ago
of course they have to mess around with the stakes schedule... that way they can justify raising prices and gouging the fans.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
It seems to me that NYRA's enhancement of Travers day, moving the Saratoga Showcase day for New York Breds to Friday and making Sunday (day after the Travers) an ordinary card has more to do with trying to make it so there are minimal, if any potential jockey conflicts between Saratoga races and The Pacific Classic. It would not surprise me if The Jockey's Guild made a request to NYRA not to have any significant races the day after the Travers as that is Pacific Classic day at Del Mar. Especially with The Pacific Classic back on dirt in 2015, it would not surprise me if Del Mar officials make an aggressive effort to get horses to run in that race as opposed to the Woodward the following Saturday at Saratoga and there are cases where a trainer won't ship unless the regular rider is available. Martin Panza is well aware of how big Pacific Classic day is on the west coast and this looks to me like an effort to completely "step aside" by having only an overnight stakes the day after the Travers and letting Del Mar have its day while enhancing Travers Day at the same time.
james More than 1 year ago
Very few horses that run in NY "showcase" events are mounts coveted by top jocks. Most of the NY breds that run in restricted races including restricted stakes are lower tier horses with a very few exceptions. The jocks have a more likely conflict with horses running in open allowance or maiden races at Saratoga. Those are the proving ground for top race horses. I'd actually be quite surprised if any jock complained about potential conflicts between riding in a restricted NY stake and more meaningful races at DelMar that day.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
Say a trainer is deciding between the Pacific Classic and Woodward, but knows if such trainer goes in the Pacific Classic, the jockey loses several mounts on a Sunday NY Showcase day at Saratoga that could be lucrative. That can lean a trainer who might be choosing between the PC and Woodward to stay for the Woodward, which would help NYRA obviously, but potentially hurt on a national level. There's a lot that goes into these kind of decisions.
Richard Land More than 1 year ago
Actually I do not think Mr. Panza gives a damn about what will be going on at Del Mar. NY Bred "Showcase" races have no place upstate and it is insulting to serious horseplayers if these races are run on a weekend at the Spa.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is just another way to act like they are giving the race fans something good, to distract them while they fix all the races. Grade 1's or claimers, its all the same. Somebody call the FBI b/c the track owners are guilty as charged.
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Hey Anonymous...perhaps you should take up bird watching.....although you would probably annoy them too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry u are a very bad handicapper. Why would anyone fix a G-1 ? Jbeau
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
You enjoy 85% sprint races on the card?
Jacqueline Schumacher More than 1 year ago
The longest graded dirt race is 10 furlongs--whoop-di-do. The Personal Ensign still hasn't been restored to its proper 10 furlong distance. Yes, we're all disappointed that Rachel A. couldn't get the distance--but if you're going to shorten the race (way to punish the Phipps, who gave you the race's namesake, as well as the 2010 winner, by the way) you also have to lower the grade. You don't get to change distances and still keep the grade one status. But I guess the NYRA's own rules only apply to "others".
Tom Howe More than 1 year ago
Jacqueline - NYRA does not decide the graded status of their races. That is done by the Graded Stakes committee of TOBA.
Jacqueline Schumacher More than 1 year ago
I stand corrected on that; however, the Personal Ensign is still a grade one, and it is ineligible to retain its grade one status. Why is that?
Tom Howe More than 1 year ago
Changing the distance of a race is one of the criteria for changing the grade. However, the Personal Ensign was changed from 1 1/4 to a 1 1/8. A route race needs to be changed at least 1/4 mile to be considered a "new race". Therefore, the PE can remain the same.
Jacqueline Schumacher More than 1 year ago
Well, that would explain the incremental, sixteenth-by-sixteenth whittling away of stakes races of nine and ten furlongs on dirt: a built-in escape clause. Shameful.
Stephen Sherokey More than 1 year ago
The Woodward at 1 1/8 is Whitney Lite and the Shuvee and Personal Ensign virtually the same race, different purses. The Saratoga Cup a mie and a quarter and if they are so concerned about the Jockey Club Gold Cup in front of no fans, run the Personal Ensign and Woodward at 1 3/16. That will at least give the closers a fighting chance. Also couple the Sword Dancer and Fourstardave in a Breeders' Cup Turf Preview Day, since they at the distances of the two original BC turf races and may very well produce the last two turf champions!