Stars Will Be Out as Saratoga Opens Rich 40 Day Meet Friday

The 146th summer season at Saratoga opens Friday. (photo credit Ivan Cholakov via Bigstock)

Saratoga opens on Friday for the 146th time and the stars will be out during the 40-day meeting that will feature more than $17 million in purses in stakes races alone.

There are 34 graded stakes highlighted by the $1.5 million Whitney (G1) on Saturday, Aug. 2 for older runners and the $1.5 million Travers Stakes (G1) for three-year-olds.

Palace Malice is pointing toward the Whitney, and the betting card will feature the $350,000 Test (G1), the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) for sprinters, and two turf races: the $100,000 De La Rose for fillies and mares and the $100,000 Lure.

Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tonalist will likely be the one to beat in the Travers which will be contested on Saturday, Aug. 23. The card will also feature the $500,000 King’s Bishop (G1) for male sprinters, the $500,000 Ballerina (G1) for filly and mare sprinters and the $250,000 Ballston Spa (G1) for turf fillies and mares.

Javier Castellano led all jockeys last summer with 66 winners, 20 more than John Velazquez. The local jockey colony will have a new face during the opening four days of the meeting, as Frankie Dettori will be in to ride for trainer Wesley Ward.

Trainer Todd Pletcher appears likely to add another training title to his resume. The six-time Eclipse Award winning trainer will be seeking his 11th training title at the Spa. He won 36 races last year, with Chad Brown the runner up with 24 winners.

Friday’s opening stakes race is the $150,000 Schuylerville (G3), a six-furlong sprint for two-year-old fillies that drew a compact field of five and was carded as the third race.

The Pletcher trained Fashion Alert is the 3-5 morning line favorite and will try to give the trainer his fifth win in the opening day feature. Pletcher last won this race in 2011 with Georgie’s Angel.

Fashion Alert broke her maiden in her debut by taking the Astoria at Belmont Park on June 14. She faces four foes that are all coming off wins in the maiden ranks including Tulira’s Star, who was a good-looking winner in fast time over the polytrack at Arlington Park on June 8 and was purchased privately by Team Valor International.

The co-feature on Friday’s card is the $100,000 Sir Cat which drew a field of seven plus one main track only entrant. The race is scheduled for a mile on the inner turf for three-year-olds.

The Chad Brown trained Storming Inti is the 9-5 morning line favorite. The colt makes his first start since checking in third in the Penn Mile at Penn National on May 31. The colt is a three-time stakes winner on turf, his last coming in the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream Park in January. The colt has lost his last four starts.

Coming up on Saturday is the first Grade 1 of the meeting with seven fillies and mares lining up for the $500,00 TVG Diana at 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf. The co-feature is the $150,000 Sanford (G2) for two-year-olds that drew seven.

On Sunday, it will be another edition of the Jockey Club Tour on Fox, which will feature the $300,000 Coaching Club of America Oaks (G1) for three-year-old fillies. The two-hour telecast gets underway on Fox Sports 1 at 5:30 pm ET and will include the $300,000 Eddie Read (G1) from Del Mar.


2014 Stakes Schedule for Saratoga

Date Race Purse
Fri., Jul. 18 Schuylerville (G3)
Fri., Jul. 18 Sir Cat* $100,000
Sat., Jul. 19 TVG Diana (G1)
Sat., Jul. 19 Sanford (G3)
Sun., Jul. 20 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1)
Sun., Jul. 20 Lucky Coin $100,000
Mon., Jul. 21 Shine Again $100,000
Wed., Jul. 23 Lake George (G2)
Thu., Jul. 24 Quick Call $100,000
Fri., Jul. 25 Curlin $100,000
Sat., Jul. 26 Amsterdam (G2)
Sat., Jul. 26 Jim Dandy (G2)
Sun., Jul. 27 Shuvee Handicap (G3)
Mon., Jul. 28 HRTV Honorable Miss Handicap (G2)
Wed., Jul. 30 Coronation Cup $100,000
Thu., Jul. 31 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Stpchase) (G1)
Thu., Jul. 31 Evan Shipman (NYB) $100,000
Fri., Aug. 1 Smirnoff Sorbet Caress $100,000
Sat., Aug. 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1)
Sat., Aug. 2 De La Rose $100,000
Sat., Aug. 2 Whitney (G1)
Sat., Aug. 2 Test (G1)
Sat., Aug. 2 Lure $100,000
Sun., Aug. 3 Waya $100,000
Mon., Aug. 4 NYSS Cab Calloway Division $100,000
Mon., Aug. 4 NYSS Statue of Liberty Division $100,000
Wed., Aug. 6 John’s Call $100,000
Thu., Aug. 7 Birdstone* $100,000
Fri., Aug. 8 National Museum of Racing Hall Of Fame (G2)
Sat., Aug. 9 Fourstardave Handicap (G2)
Sun., Aug. 10 Adirondack (G2)
Sun., Aug. 10 Saratoga Special (G2)
Mon., Aug. 11 Tenski $100,000
Wed., Aug. 13 Troy $100,000
Thu., Aug. 14 Saratoga Dew (NYB) $100,000
Fri., Aug. 15 John Morrissey (NYB) $100,000
Sat., Aug. 16 Knob Creek Lake Placid (G2)
Sat., Aug. 16 Alabama (G2)
Sun., Aug. 17 Sword Dancer Invitational (G1)
Sun., Aug. 17 Alydar* $100,000
Mon., Aug. 18 Summer Colony $100,000
Wed., Aug. 20 Better Talk Now $100,000
Thu., Aug. 21 Union Avenue (NYB) $100,000
Thu., Aug. 21 NY Turf Writers Cup (Steeplechase) (G1)
Fri., Aug. 22 Personal Ensign Invitational (G1)
Fri., Aug. 22 Lord & Taylor Tale of the Cat $100,000
Sat., Aug. 23 Travers Stakes (G1)
Sat., Aug. 23 Ketel One King’s Bishop (G1)
Sat., Aug. 23 Ballerina (G1)
Sat., Aug. 23 Ballston Spa (G2)
Sun., Aug. 24 Albany (NYB) $250,000
Sun., Aug. 24 West Point presented by Trustco Bank (NYB) $150,000
Sun., Aug. 24 Yaddo (NYB) $150,000
Sun., Aug. 24 Fleet Indian (NYB) $200,000
Sun., Aug. 24 Funny Cide (NYB) $200,000
Sun., Aug. 24 Seeking the Ante (NYB) $200,000
Mon., Aug. 25 Smart N Fancy $100,000
Wed., Aug. 27 P. G. Johnson $100,000
Thu., Aug. 28 With Anticipation (G2)
Fri., Aug. 29 Riskaverse $100,000
Sat., Aug. 30 Prioress (G2)
Sat., Aug. 30 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2)
Sat., Aug. 30 Forego (G1)
Sat., Aug. 30 Woodward (G1)
Sun., Aug. 31 Spinaway (G1)
Sun., Aug. 31 Glens Falls (G3)
Mon., Sep. 1 Saranac (G3)
Mon., Sep. 1 Hopeful (G1)

*These races are part of the overnight stakes program

The schedule for NBC’s “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” live coverage of the 2014 Saratoga meet (all times ET):

Date Race Time
Saturday, August 2 G1 Whitney (NBC) 5-6 p.m.
  G1 Test (NBC)  
Saturday, August 23 G1 Travers (NBC) 4:30-6 p.m.
  G1 Ballerina (NBC)  
Saturday, August 30 G1 Woodward (NBC Sports) 6-7 p.m.
  G1 Forego (NBC Sports)  


The schedule for FOX Sports 1’s “Jockey Club Racing Tour” live coverage of the 2014 Saratoga meet (all times ET):

Date Race Time
Sunday, July 20 G1 CCA Oaks 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 10 G2 Saratoga Special 5-6:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 17 G1 Sword Dancer Invitational 5-6:30 p.m.


The schedule for MSG+’s “Friday Live from Saratoga” coverage of the 2014 Saratoga meet (all times ET):

Date Race (Subject to change) Time
Friday, July 25 Curlin 5-6 p.m.
Friday, August 1 Smirnoff Sorbet Caress 5-6 p.m.
Friday, August 8 G2 Nat’l Museum of Racing/HOF 5-6 p.m.
Friday, August 15 John Morrissey (NYB) 5-6 p.m.
Friday, August 22 G1 Personal Ensign 5-6 p.m.
Sunday, August 24 Saratoga Showcase Day (NYB) 5-6 p.m.
Friday, August 29 Riskaverse 5-6 p.m.*
*Time subject to change    



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