Saratoga Race Course is celebrating its 150th anniversary of racing this year, and steeplechasing has been a part of the Saratoga Experience from the very beginning.
Steeplechasing will play a role in this year’s Saratoga 150 celebration, with nine high-quality races scheduled over six Thursdays in July and August. On the program are two Grade 1 races, the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial on Aug. 1 and the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup on Aug. 22.
The National Steeplechase Association’s spring condition book concludes with the opening of Colonial Downs’ pari-mutuel season on Saturday, June 8. Highlighting that card will be the $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3).
The summer schedule kicks off in Pennsylvania, at Parx Racing in suburban Philadelphia. Three races on Tuesday, June 25, are on tap, including a $30,000 optional allowance hurdle.
In late July, the racing moves to Saratoga Springs in the Adirondacks for the historic Saratoga season, with steeplechase purses totaling $745,000. First up on July 25 is the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes for horses in their first seasons of racing.
The following Thursday, Aug. 1, will feature both the A. P. Smithwick Memorial and a $65,000 optional allowance hurdle on the inner turf course. The $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes for fillies and mares on Aug. 8 will precede the induction of steeplechasers McDynamo and Tuscalee into the Racing Hall of Fame the following day.
The Aug. 15 session will offer another doubleheader, with the $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes complemented by a $65,000 optional allowance hurdle. Taking center stage on Aug. 22 will be the New York Turf Writers, always the highlight of the summer steeplechase season.
The Saratoga Steeplechase Experience for 2013 concludes Aug. 29 with another doubleheader, the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords for fillies and mares and a $65,000 optional allowance hurdle.