American Steeplechasing will tour racetracks in the East and Midwest, including stops at Suffolk Downs and Kentucky Downs, as part of the 2015 Summer Jump-Racing Showcase. In all, purses could exceed $1.5-million. The Showcase kicks off Friday, June 19, at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
Historic Saratoga Race Course will be the host to 12 steeplechase races, following the same schedule as 2014. Jump racing will be featured on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout America’s premier summer race meet.
The Saratoga schedule includes $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Aug. 27 and the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), whose purse has been increased 25% to $125,000. The Smithwick on Aug. 6 will be part of the second full week of Saratoga racing.
The Summer Jump Racing Showcase comes to a rich conclusion at Belmont Park on Thursday, Sept. 24, when $225,000 will be at stake in the $75,000 William Entenmann Novice Stakes and the $150,000 Lonesome Glory (Gr. 1).
The two Suffolk dates, July 11 and August 8, are part of the effort to revitalize racing at the East Boston track, which closed last fall after the track was denied a gaming license. The dates are subject to approval by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The two Suffolk dates tentatively will offer at least 160,000 in purses.
Kentucky Downs, near the Tennessee border, originally was a steeplechase race course when it opened in April 1990 as Dueling Grounds Race Course. It all-turf course now offers a September racing festival, and jump races would be staged on Saturday, September 5.
After Monmouth Park’s races and the first stop at Suffolk, jump racing returns to its summer home at Saratoga Race Course, with a full schedule of stakes races, allowance hurdles, and optional allowance hurdles.
The Saratoga schedule begins on July 29, and the following program features the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Novices—the sport’s rising stars division for horses in their first seasons of competition over fences—also will be in action on Aug. 20 in the Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes.
Fillies and mares will be featured in the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 12 and the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords on Sept. 3 as the jump-racing sport wraps up its Saratoga summer.