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Saratoga Preview
The Big Red Spring at Saratoga
The Big Red Spring at Saratoga

Dateline: 07/01/02

America's oldest track, Saratoga Race Course, opens for its 133rd season on July 24th and runs through September 2nd. The Spa meet is generally held to be the most prestigious in the nation with 35 stakes races worth $8.775 million in purses. 32 of the stakes are graded with 13 Grade 1 events. Check their stakes calendar to see what races are scheduled for each day. As they become available, a list of the horses nominated this year will be linked from each race on the schedule.

Saratoga marks the beginning of the serious two year old racing season. The Breeders' Cup juvenile favorites often come from Saratoga and such prestigious races as the Saratoga Special and the Hopeful for the colts or the Adirondack and the Spinaway for the fillies.

The three year olds are also in the spotlight at Saratoga with the $1 million Travers, known as the Mid-Summer Derby. Horses expected to be there are Medaglia d'Oro, Harlan's Holiday, Gygistar, and Repent. Major races will be run in all divisions including the $750,000 Whitney for the older horses where last year's winner Lido Palace is expected to take on Macho Uno. Some of the best females in training should be there including Bella Bellucci for the $750,000 Alabama for the 3-year-old fillies and top sprinter Xtra Heat for the 7 furlong $250,000 Ballerina Stakes on August 25th.

Saratoga is also noted for its turf racing and steeplechases. There will be several major turf stakes for the older horses of both sexes, with the premier events being the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational for the males and the $500,000 Diana Handicap for the females.

Misty morning workout at Saratoga, photo by Deborah Kral
Misty morning workout at Saratoga, photo by Deborah Kral

Once the exclusive retreat of high society, Saratoga is now much more democratic with picnic tables as well as turf club boxes available. The lawn and picnic area are noted as being a great place for families and children. Many racing fans plan their year around a trip to Saratoga to watch the top horses compete, take a sip from the Big Red Spring, and hang out at Siro's Restaurant. Of course no trip to the Spa would be complete without a visit to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Saratoga, the August place to be!

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Photo ©2002 Cindy Pierson Dulay, licensed to About.

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