Three steeplechase races were featured on Sunday, July 15, at the 32nd Saratoga Open House, the New York Racing Association’s annual community party that precedes the opening of the historic Saratoga Race Course pari-mutuel meet.
The Saratoga season opens Friday, July 20, and runs through Labor Day, September 2. Steeplechasing will be featured each Thursday of the 40-date season, with two races offered on alternating weeks. The first Steeplechase Thursday on July 26 will highlight the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes for newcomers to jump racing.
The Open House’s three maiden races were the final opportunity to qualify for the rich races of the Saratoga pari-mutuel season. In the first race, a $25,000 Sport of Kings hurdle for horses five and older, Armata Stables’ Brother Sly held off Alfarabi to win by a head. Roddickton was a half-length farther back in third. Trained by Todd Wyatt and ridden by Ross Geraghty, Brother Sly ran the 2 1/16-mile distance in 3:53.40 on firm turf.
In the $25,000 Sport of Kings hurdle for four-year-old maidens, The Elkstone Group’s Bodie Island drew away to a 4 3/4-length victory over Twojohnsandajack. Brian Crowley rode Bodie Island for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
In a $15,000 maiden race for fillies and mares, Octoraro Stables’ Euro Power powered through the stretch to a 2 1/2-length victory over Nightswimming. Darren Nagle rode Euro Power, who is trained by former champion jockey Blythe Miller Davies.
With a powerful rainstorm moving into the Saratoga Springs area, the two training flat races were canceled. The horses entered in those races galloped on the main track for the large Open House crowd.