Fans of Saratoga Race Course can’t wait for the track to open its 140th season Wednesday, July 23, and they won’t have to wait much longer for the high-quality stakes races that make the Spa one of Thoroughbred racing’s top meetings.
On July 26, the 81st running of the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) is the feature on a full card that includes two other grade I races and a grade II race, all part of the “Win and You’re In” format of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. ABC will cover these events that make up a $500,000 guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 during its live two-hour broadcast that begins at 4 p.m.
On Sunday, the $500,000 Jim Dandy (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs, features Da’Tara, upset winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7, when he ruined Big Brown’s chance to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner.
Here are the probables for the week’s stakes races:
• OPENING DAY, Wednesday, July 23, the 90th running of the $100,000-added Schuylerville (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs: Chartreux, Collegiate, Garden District, Girlfrienontheside, Golden Artemis, Ocean Colors, Renda, and Simplify. Questionable: Bold Union and Boom Town Sally.
• Thursday, July 24, the 94th running of the $150,000 Sanford (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at six furlongs: Bullion Cache, Desert Party, Heir to the Stone, Notonthesamepage, and Run and Hide. Questionable: Medaglia D’Onore and Proud Jefe.
• Friday, July 25, the 13th running of the $150,000 Lake George (gr. II), 3-year-old fillies, mile and a sixteenth, turf: Alwajeeha, My Princess Jess, Receipt, Senior Rita Lady, and Zee Zee. Questionable: Backseat Rhythm and Mousse Au Chocolat.
• Saturday, July 26, the 81st running of the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), 3 and up, nine furlongs: A.P. Arrow, Commentator, Giant Gizmo, Notional, Rising Moon, Solar Flare, and Timber Reserve. Questionable: Grasshopper, Student Council, and Zanjero. Winner of the race automatically qualifies for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 25.
• Saturday, July 26, the 70th running of the $500,000 Diana (gr. I) for fillies and mares, 3 and up, at nine furlongs, turf: Bayou’s Lassie, Bit of Whimsy, Criminologist, Dynaforce, Forever Together, Lady Digby, Rutherienne, Vacare, and Wait a While. Winner of the race automatically qualifies for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Oct. 24.
• Saturday, July 26, the 55th running of the $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I), fillies and mares, 3 and up, nine furlongs: Ginger Punch, Indescribable, Over Under, and Runway Rosie. Questionable: Moon Catcher. Winner of the race automatically qualifies for Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 24.
• Saturday, July 26, the 24th running of the $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs: Abraaj, Black Seventeen, Bustin Stones, Fabulous Strike, First Defence, Sammarco, and Thor’s Echo. Winner of the race automatically qualifies for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 25.
• Sunday, July 27, the 45th running of the Jim Dandy (gr. II), 3-year-olds, nine furlongs: Anak Nakal, Atoned, Da’Tara, Macho Again, My Pal Charlie, Pyro, Tiz Now Tiz Then, and Tizbig.
• Monday, July 28, the 16th running of the $150,000 Amsterdam (gr. II) for three-year-olds at six and a half furlongs: Desert Key, Devereux, Eaton’s Gift, Fidelio, Pascal, and True Quality. Questionable: Kodiak Kowboy and The Darp.