Jump racing moves to the race tracks in July with two afternoons of racing for steeplechase horses at Parx Racing outside Philadelphia and the start of Saratoga Race Course’s rich program of races.
The summer action begins at Parx on Saturday, July 8, with a $25,000 flat race that is limited to horses who have finished in the top three in a sanctioned steeplechase race. If sufficient entries are received on June 30, the race will be split into two divisions with $25,000 pots in each. That race originally had been scheduled for the following day, but Parx no longer races on Sunday.
National Fences will go up on the Bensalem, Pa., turf course on Tuesday, July 11, for two scheduled jump races. An overnight handicap hurdle at 2 1/16 miles will carry a $30,000 purse. That race is limited to horses with National Steeplechase Association ratings of 120 or lower. Also at 2 1/16 miles will be a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle. If sufficient entries are received for that race, it will be split into two $25,000 divisions.
Entries for both days close Friday, June 30, at the NSA office.
Later in July, the action swings to Saratoga Race Course and the start of a 10-race schedule of jump races with scheduled purses of $765,000. An early highlight of the program at the New York Racing Association track is the $150,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). The 2 1/16-mile Smithwick moves to the first full week of Saratoga’s season and will be staged on Thursday, July 27.
The sport’s leading horses return to Upstate New York on Thursday, Aug. 24, for the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) at 2 3/8 miles. Like the Smithwick Memorial, handicap weights for the New York Turf Writers will be influenced by the NSA ratings for all winners currently in competition.
The $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes, also at 2 1/16 miles, kicks off the program on Wednesday, July 26.. Also on the schedule for the novices—horses in their first seasons of racing over fences—is the $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at 2 3/8 miles on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
The NSA’s filly and mare division has two scheduled races, the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps at 2 1/16 miles on Thursday, Aug. 3, and the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords at 2 3/8 miles on Thursday, Aug. 31.