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Travers, Whitney Days Highlight 2018 Saratoga Meet

The 2018 meet at Saratoga Race Course will again be highlighted by the $1.2 million Whitney Stakes (G1) and $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1), the centerpieces of two of the biggest days in North American racing.

The 40-day meet, which includes 69 stakes worth $18.8 million in purses, will run from July 20, through Labor Day, Sept. 3. After opening weekend, racing will be conducted six days a week, Wednesdays through Mondays.

The Aug. 4 card will feature the 1 1/8-mile Whitney along with the grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. A trio of turf stakes on Whitney Day round out the offerings: the grade 3, $200,000 Waya for fillies and mares going 1 1/2 miles; the $100,000 Lure at 1 1/16 miles and the $100,000 De La Rose for fillies and mares at a mile.

Joining the 149th running of the Travers for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles Aug. 25 will be five other grade 1 stakes: the $1 million Sword Dancer Invitational at 1 1/2 miles on the turf, the $500,000 Ballerina for filly and mare sprinters, the $600,000 Forego at seven furlongs, the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial—formerly known as the King's Bishop—for sophomores going seven furlongs, and the $700,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa (G2T) for turf fillies and mares.

The traditional local prep for the Travers, the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), will be held July 28, and is joined by the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) for older sprinters, the grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green at 1 3/8 miles on the grass, and the Grade 3, $200,000 Amsterdam for 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs.

The Travers eve card Aug. 24, will again feature the popular New York Showcase Day, highlighted by the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles and the $200,000 Funny Cide for budding New York-bred stars.

Opening day will be July 20 and features a pair of graded stakes: the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (G3) for 2-year-old fillies and the $150,000 Lake George Stakes (G3T) for 3-year-old turf fillies. Continuing the juvenile dirt stakes tradition at the Spa are the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G3) July 21; the $200,000 Saratoga Special Stakes presented by Miller Lite (G2) Aug. 12 and the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) Sept. 3, along with their sister races: the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (G2) Aug. 11 and the $350,000 Spinaway Stakes (G1) Sept. 1.

Grade 1 action commences with the $500,000 Diana Stakes for turf fillies and mares July 21, and the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles July 22. Continuing the top-level offerings are the aforementioned Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, Whitney and Test; the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap (G1T) at a mile on the turf Aug. 11; and the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) Aug. 18, in addition to the Travers, Sword Dancer, Personal Ensign, Forego, Ballerina and King's Bishop Aug. 25.

Closing weekend of the 2018 Saratoga meet features the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (G1) Sept. 1, with the $250,000 Prioress Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies taking the spotlight Sept. 2. On closing day, the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2T) on the turf joins the Hopeful Sept. 3, to bring down the curtain on the 150th meeting at Saratoga.

Source: Bloodhorse.com

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