SARATOGA RACECOURSE

Saratoga racecourse is situated at Saratoga Springs in New York. It first opened its gates to racing on 3rd August 1863 on a course built by William Travers (it hosts the Travers Stakes) and John Hunter. It can boast 3 tracks and on one of them it runs steeplechases.

It is a very important course running no less than 14 Group One races during the year, including the Alabama Stakes, the Test Stakes and the Whitney Handicap.

Saratoga 1964a.JPG (33620 bytes)Saratoga 1965.JPG (38785 bytes)Saratoga 1965a.JPG (35170 bytes)

The Grade 1 Woodward Stakes was first run in 1954. It is over 9 furlongs and the most recent 2012 winner was To Honor and Serve ridden by John Velazquez.

The Travers Stakes is a Grade 1 race for 3 year olds over 10 furlongs. It was first contested in 1864 when Kentucky won in the hands of Gilbert W.Patrick. More recently in 2012 there was a dead heat, the first in its illustrious history, between Alpha, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, and Golden Ticket, piloted by David Cohen. The Travers Stakes badges shown below are provided by our American Racing Correspondent Richard Gauthier.

The Alabama Stakes is for 3 year old fillies and has been run over 10 furlongs since 1872. The inaugural winner was Woodbine and in the 2008 encounter Proud Spell, ridden by Gabriel Saez, proved to be triumphant. More recently in 2012 the winner was Questing ridden by Irad Ortiz Junior.

Also run at the track, the Test Stakes was first run in 1922 for 3 year old fillies over 7 furlongs. The first winner was Emotion, while the latest was won in 2008 by the John Velazquez ridden Indian Blessing.

 Saratoga KT.JPG (13168 bytes)

Perhaps the most famous race is the Whitney Handicap, run since 1928 over 9 furlongs. The first winner was Black Maria; War Admiral was victorious in 1938. Discovery won it on three consecutive occasions between 1934 to 36. The winner in 2008 was Commentator. The most recent 2012 winner was Fort Lamed ridden by Brian Hernandez Junior.

The photo below Transhot, trained by Ben Stutts, winning on 7th August 1948.

Very grateful to our American Racing Correspondent Richard Gauthier for the scans of the rare badges shown below.

I am grateful to Bart Stutts for the pictures shown below. He visited the course on 28th July 2018 and was amazed at the size of the racecourse and its enclosures.

One of the most famous, long-standing races at the track is the Alabama Stakes over 10 furlongs for 3 year old fillies. The race, held each August, dates back to 1872 when Woodbine was victorious. The race celebrates the life and contribution to American racing of William Cottrell who came from Alabama, but he was reluctant to allow the race to be called the ‘Cottrell Stakes’. At the turn of the 2010’s it became the third leg of the ‘Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing’, following on from the Acorn Stakes and the Coaching Club American Oaks. ┬áSince it became part of the famous Triple the winners have been:-
2010 Blind Luck ridden by Joel Rosario
2011 Royal Delta ridden by Jose Lezcano
2012 Questing ridden by Irad Ortiz
2013 Princess of Sylmar ridden by Javier Castellano
2014 Stopchargingmaria ridden by John Velazquez
2015 Embellish The Lace ridden by Javier Castellano
2016 Songbird ridden by Mike E Smith
2017 Elate ridden by Jose Ortiz

If you have badges, racecards, pictures of the racecourse or further details about the course, including your memories, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com