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Saratoga to Offer $14.95 Million in Stakes Purses

By Eric Wing; Mark Bardack | 06/24/2013 02:14 PM ET
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Grade 1, $1 million Travers
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

The 2013 Saratoga Race Course stakes schedule, highlighted by the 144th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers on August 24, will feature nearly $14.95 million in purse money.

The 1 ¼-mile Travers for 3-year-olds is one of four graded stakes on August 24, the others being the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, Grade 1 Test, and Grade 2 Ketel One Ballston Spa.

In total, there are 18 Grade 1 races over the course of the 40-day meet. The first Grade 1 will be contested on Day 2 when 3-year-old fillies compete in the $300,000 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks at 1 1/8 miles. For the first time the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks will be complemented by the Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap, a new addition to the Saratoga stakes schedule.

In addition to a pair of Grade 1 races, the July 27 card will feature the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy for 3-year-olds, Saratoga’s premier prep for the Travers. Saratoga will also present the Grade 1, $600,000 Diana for filly and mares on the turf and the Grade 1 Prioress for 3-year-old filly sprinters.

Older horses will be showcased the following weekend, the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing, when Saratoga presents the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on August 3 and the Grade 1, $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at six furlongs on August 4. Last year’s Whitney winner, Fort Larned, went on to win the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Grade 2, $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap for older turf horses will be the sole graded stakes on August 10, a Saturday that marks the midway mark of the meet. The 1 1/16-mile Fourstardave was one of five graded stakes wins in 2012 for Wise Dan, who was later named Horse of the Year.

For the second year, the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at 1 ¼ miles for 3-year-old fillies and the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at 1 ½ miles on the turf for 3-year-olds and up will share the spotlight on the fifth Saturday of the meet, August 17. Questing and Point of Entry, the respective winners of last year’s Alabama and Sword Dancer, were named Champions at the 2012 Eclipse Awards.

Saratoga will present Grade 1 races on the day before and the day after the Travers. On Friday, August 23, filly and mare sprinters will compete in the $500,000 Ballerina. Older females will go long on August 25 when they compete in the $500,000 Personal Ensign Invitational.

The final three days of the meet will all include at least one Grade 1 Both Grade 1 races on Saturday, August 31 will be for older males as Saratoga will host the $750,000 Woodward at 1 1/8 miles and the $500,000 Forego at seven furlongs. The final Saturday card also includes the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on the turf, also for 3-year-olds and up.

Saratoga will present seven graded stakes for 2-year-olds during the meet, and the first Grade 1 for juveniles will be contested on Sunday, September 1 when fillies compete in the Grade 1 Spinaway. The Grade 3 Saranac for 3-year-olds on the turf will be part of the undercard.

Closing day will include two graded stakes: the Grade 1, $300,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds and the Grade 3, $150,000 Glens Falls for filly and mare turf horses. Shanghai Bobby, the 2012 Champion Two-Year-Old Male, won the Hopeful during his 5-for-5 campaign.

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