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2021 Saratoga Race Course Summer Meet Set to Open on July 15

The summer meet, highlighted by the Whitney and Travers, appears to be back to its pre-pandemic schedule.

Saratoga Race Course
Saratoga Race Course is on schedule to open on July 15, 2021. (Billy Francis LeRoux)

Though it’s still unclear whether the State of New York will allow spectators at Saratoga Race Course this season—last year’s summer meet went largely fan-less—the New York Racing Association (NYRA) has today announced the annual track meet’s bookends.

Per NYRA, the 40-day meet at Saratoga will begin on Thursday, July 15 and run through Labor Day, or September 6. Following Opening Day and weekend, racing will be conducted five days a week with the exception of the six-day closing week. The summer meet will be highlighted by the 94th running of the Whitney Handicap on August 7 and the 152nd running of the Travers Stakes on August 28.

It’s worth noting that this year’s Whitney and Travers have been repositioned to their pre-pandemic time-slots—at least for now. Due to the pandemic, 2020’s Whitney took place on August 1, while the Travers Stakes went off just seven days later on the 8th. With the latter, though, scheduled again for the end of August, that’ll make it a true “Midsummer Derby.”

NYRA also announced that, following Aqueduct’s winter meet, which runs through March 28, it will be conducting an 11-day spring meet beginning on April 1 and running through April 18 (view the full stakes schedule here). After Aqueduct’s spring meet, racing will pick up at Belmont Park for its 48-day spring/summer meet, which is highlighted by the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5. The spring/summer meet will run from Thursday, April 22 through Sunday, July 11. Belmont will also have its 28-day fall meet, which will open on September 16 and continue through October 31.

Once both racing meets run out at Belmont, NYRA will return once again to Aqueduct on November 5 for its 18-day fall meet that will run through December 5. The Aqueduct winter meet will then pick up on December 9 and conclude on December 31.

At press time, just a limited number of licensed owners, along with the requisite NYRA personnel, are permitted to attend live racing at New York’s racetracks.

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.

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