The New York Racing Association has expanded its steeplechase schedule at Saratoga Race Course to 12 races, and jump racing will be featured every Wednesday and Thursday of the upcoming 2014 meet.
Purses for the 12 races will total $940,000, a record for National Steeplechase Association racing at Saratoga. Last year, nine steeplechase races on Thursdays only offered $745,000 in purses.
The Saratoga schedule originally contained 11 jump races, and NYRA’s senior vice president for racing, Martin Panza, announced the additional race at the annual Saratoga pre-opening media conference on Monday, June 23. The Saratoga season opens July 18 and runs through Sept. 1. First post time on Wednesdays and Thursdays will be 12:25 p.m.
Every Wednesday will feature a steeplechase allowance or optional allowance race, and stakes races will be held every Thursday. Highlighting the season are two Grade 1 races, the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial on July 31 and the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup on Aug. 21. The New York Turf Writers will be run this year in memory of leading steeplechase horseman Tom Voss, who died in January.
“The National Steeplechase Association is grateful to the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association for their support of steeplechase racing at Saratoga,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “Steeplechase racing has a long and rich history at Saratoga, and this year’s expanded schedule will expose a greater number of racing fans to steeplechasing.”