Five Graded Stakes Headline Opening Weekend at Saratoga

Saratoga Summer Meet Starts Friday with Five Graded Stakes Opening Weekend

North America’s most prestigious race meeting kicks off on Friday, as racing begins at Saratoga. The historic summer meet at Saratoga runs July 21 to September 4 (Labor Day), and opening weekend features five stakes races.

Date Race Grade Purse Restrictions Surface Distance
Friday, Jul 21 Lake George 3 $150,000 F3YO Turf 1  1/16
Friday, Jul 21 Schuylerville 3 $150,000 F2YO Dirt 6 Furlongs
Saturday, Jul 22 Diana 1 $500,000 F&M 3&UP Turf 1 1/8
Saturday, Jul 22 Sanford 3 $150,000 2YO Dirt 6 Furlongs
Sunday, Jul 23 Coaching Club American Oaks 1 $300,000 F3YO Dirt 1 1/8

 

In addition, The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will present a $500,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 every Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. That wagering opportunity is in addition to the daily Pick 4’s on races 2 – 5 and the final four races of the day.

Friday’s $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (G3) drew a field of 9 two-year-olds, and a win by Todd Pletcher-trained Stainless (5-1), ridden by John Velzzquez would give Pletcher a record 7th win in the Schuylerville. Steve Asmussen-trained Buy Sell Hold (3-1) is the favorite with Florent Geroux aboard, and Best Performance (4-1), Mel’s Gone Wild (6-1), Dream It Is (6-1), and Snow Fire (6-1) are all competitively priced juvenile fillies sprinting 6 furlongs in the 99th running of the Schuylerville.

The opening stakes race is followed immediately in Race 9 by the $150,000 Lake George Stakes (G3), which drew a field of 11 fillies and grass specialists racing 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Four of these fine 3-year-old fillies are graded stakes winners. Breaking from the rail is Fifty Five (7-2) with Jose Ortiz aboard. He’s the favorite for trainer Chad Brown and one of many contenders going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.  Dream Dancing (9-2) is on the far outside for trainer Mark Casse and jockey Julien Leparoux. Those favorite bookends will try to stride strong down the Saratoga stretch and win against contenders Sweeping Paddy (4-1), Party Boat (6-1), Proctor’s Ledge (6-1), and two other Casse contenders Corporate Queen (6-1) and Victory to Victory (8-1).

Saturday’s $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G3) drew a field of eight 2-year-olds, and is followed by the richest race of the opening weekend, the $500,000 Diana Stakes (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. This race for fillies and mares drew a field of six 3-year-olds and up with Dickinson and Lady Eli meeting again as the headlines.  Dickinson beat the 3-5 favorite Lady Eli by a head April 15 in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland, Chad Brown-trained Lady Eli has eight wins and three runner-up finishes in 11 starts with more than $2.4 million in purse earnings, and the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf is “training super” since her last race and win in the May 27 Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita.

The Diana kicks off the biggest graded stakes races of the Saratoga season, with the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks set for Sunday.

The Saratoga Race Course Guide provides all the information you need, whether you are a first-time track goer looking for the basics, or a life-long veteran looking for what’s new this year. Let the summer racing season begin at Saratoga!

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