by Pat McKenna and Mark Bardack
The 89th running of the prestigious Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney, one of North America's premier races, will headline a day of world class thoroughbred racing and special events at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August 6.
The 1 1/8-mile Whitney will top the card of a blockbuster day of racing that includes five stakes as part of the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing. The prestigious Whitney will pair with the Grade 1 Test for 3-year-old fillies, the Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Waya for turf fillies and mares, the Fasig-Tipton Lure at 1 1/16 miles and the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose at a mile.
"The Whitney is a classic and iconic race, and a true highlight of the summer calendar at Saratoga. It is a race that routinely showcases incredible and often heroic competitors striving to stand out in a lineup featuring the best racing in America," said NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay. "The Whitney is also a race about community, demonstrated most prominently by its namesake family and the woman who carries on their legacy of philanthropy to this day, Mrs. Marylou Whitney. We look forward to honoring her on Saturday as we welcome fans to take part in the exciting Whitney Day tradition here at Saratoga."
Saratoga Race Course will honor the winning connections of the Whitney with a special custom-designed horse blanket made of hundreds of Marylou Whitney pink roses.
The Whitney will also be distinguished by a sterling silver, three-handled chalice trophy that is designated for the winning owner. The trophy is adorned with the Whitney crest to commemorate one of Saratoga's most prestigious and historic races.
The Whitney trophy and rose blanket will be on display in the winner's circle prior to the race, which goes to post at 6:18 p.m. EST and will be televised on Fox Sports 2, MSG+ and Altitude Sports as part of the new Saratoga LIVE broadcast, produced by NYRA TV.
Saturday will mark the beginning of the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing, which celebrates the rich partnership between NYRA and Fasig-Tipton as a prelude to Fasig-Tipton's annual Saratoga sales at the Humphrey S. Pavilion on August 8, 9, 13 and 14. The festival includes the "Best Turned Out Horse" award, during which Fasig-Tipton and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance will recognize the hard work that goes into daily grooming with a special prize for the groom of the best-turned-out horse participating in the Whitney. The award will be presented to the winning groom in the winner's circle prior to the race.
Fans on Saturday are invited to visit the NYRA Bets Lounge in the Saratoga Pavilion, presented by Time Warner Cable News. The NYRA Bets Lounge offers handicapping tips and analysis from racing professionals, and also features a champagne bar and Lifestyles clothing boutique. A handicapping seminar will be held from 11 a.m. to noon with Peter Fornatale, Mike Watchmaker, Travis Stone and Jonathon Kinchen. Guests can also get tips from NYRA's Gabby Gaudette at 1 p.m.
On Whitney Day, the Community Outreach Booth will host the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a non-profit organization that accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and rehome thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding.
A limited number of grandstand reserved seats and tables in the new Easy Goer are available for Whitney Day and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, in-person at the NYRA Box Office at Saratoga Race Course, or by phone at 1-844-NYRA-TIX.
The 2016 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 5. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit www.NYRA.com.