One of the leading meets of the year is kicking off at Saratoga Race Course. The 2022 Saratoga Summer Meet opens the starting gates with a bang. Opening weekend starts Thursday, July 14, and the meet runs for eight weeks through Monday, Sept. 5. With 40 days of racing over three race tracks, Saratoga is a special place for racing enthusiasts and fans looking for historic ambiance.
Opening weekend and key dates
The traditional opening day graded stakes is the Schuylerville (G3) for 2-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs. Friday is the Forbidden Apple (G3) at 1 mile for older horses on the inner turf. Saturday’s pair of graded stakes are the Diana (G1) and Sanford (G3), with Sunday’s Quick Call (G3) completing the opening weekend.
The Diana offers a $500,000 purse for older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Five of the six runners are European invaders, and Chad Brown trains four. The Sanford Stakes is for 2-year-olds sprinting six furlongs.
Other notable races to watch and wager on in the weeks ahead through summer include:
- Friday, July 22 – GIII Lake George
- Saturday, July 23 – GIII Caress and GI Coaching Club American Oaks
- Sunday, July 24 – GII Shuvee
- Saturday, July 30 – GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap and GII Jim Dandy
- Sunday, July 31- GII Amsterdam and GII Bowling Green
- Friday, Aug. 5 – GII National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and GIII Troy Stakes
- Saturday, Aug. 6 – Whitney Day – GII Glens Falls, GI Longines Test, GI Whitney (BC), GI Caesars Saratoga Derby Invitational
- Sunday, Aug. 7 – GIII Adirondack and GIII Saratoga Oaks Invitational
- Saturday, Aug. 13 – GI Fourstardave Handicap (BC) and GII Saratoga Special
- Saturday, Aug. 20 – Alabama Day – GI Alabama, and GII Lake Placid
- Saturday, Aug. 27 – Travers Day – GII Ballston Spa, GI Forego, GI H. Allen Jerkens Memorial, GI Ballerina (BC), GI Personal Ensign (BC), GI Sword Dancer (BC), GI Travers
- Saturday, Sept. 3 – GII Flower Bowl (BC), GI Jockey Club Gold Cup (BC), and GIII Saranac
- Sunday, Sept. 4 – GI Spinaway
- Monday, Sept. 5 – GIII Bernard Baruch Handicap and GI Hopeful
Last year, more than 1 million fans packed the track at the historic Saratoga Race Course, with an average of more than 26,000 per day over the 40-day meet. Fans unable to attend in person can watch and wager on all the races from Saratoga and leading tracks across the country on TVG. In addition, livestreaming of the races, along with handicapping tools, race replays, and pari-mutuel betting information and picks, is available for horse racing enthusiasts at TVG.
Biggest races at Saratoga include Breeders’ Cup Challenge series races
- Whitney Stakes on Aug. 6
- Fourstardave Handicap on Aug. 13
- Ballerina Stakes and Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer Stakes on Aug. 27
- Flower Bowl Stakes and the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes on Sept. 3
$22.6 million in purse money is up for grabs in Saratoga’s 77 stakes races this summer. A total of 17 races offer at least $500,000, including the Breeder’s Cup qualifying races and other notable events below.
The biggest summer races and weekends at Saratoga include Whitney Day, with four graded stakes headlined by the $1 million Whitney Stakes on Aug. 6. Alabama Day on Aug. 20 features the $600,000 Alabama Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The most anticipated is Travers Day on Aug. 7. Five Grade 1 races, including the $1.25 million Travers Stakes for top 3-year-olds, top the summer racing at Saratoga.
Beyond the horses and racing at Saratoga, fans will enjoy free giveaways, meet-and-greets and tastings and beverages.
Chad Brown led all trainers at the 2021 meet with 176 starts, 41 wins, 24 runner-up finishes and $4.5 million in earnings. Todd Pletcher, who has a record 14 training titles at Saratoga, and Michael Maker were next with 31 and 25 wins, respectively, on 146 and 140 mounts.
Other leading trainers who will be active at the Saratoga Summer Meet include Bill Mott, Christophe Clement, Steve Asmussen, Brad Cox, Rudy Rodriguez, Wesley Ward, Rob Atras, and Linda Rice.
Betting on horse racing is as popular as ever, with Saratoga reporting more than $815 million in bets on its races last summer. That was more than a 15% increase from the prior record of $705 million set in 2019.
Breakfast and Breeding Farm Tour
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced a new event for fans this summer. Up to 40 guests can enjoy a Breakfast and Breeding Farm Tour every Friday during the Saratoga summer meet. This unique, all-inclusive experience begins with a buffet breakfast at Saratoga Race Course and the opportunity to watch world-class thoroughbreds during morning training. Then fans continue with a round-trip trolley ride from Saratoga Race Course to Old Tavern Farm, where they participate in a 90-minute walking tour of a working thoroughbred breeding farm.
The event appears to be as popular as attending the races at Saratoga. The Breakfast and Breeding Farm Tour ($55) has already sold out each Friday. Contact and other Saratoga racing and event information is available through NYRA’s website, and perhaps Saratoga will add more dates for the popular Breeding Farm Tour event.