Saratoga Race Course 2018: The Travers, Whitney And Key Stakes Race Dates

Summer racing meet kicks off on July 20; Whitney set for August 4; Travers' post time set for August 25.

Travers Stakes
The 2017 Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. (Mike Kane)

For Saratogians suffering through this unseasonably cold winter, there are brighter (and altogether warmer) days on the horizon. The 2018 Saratoga Race Course has released its schedule with all the dates of the top races, which means you can now start planning your summer stay-cation schedule around when Travers weekend is.

This summer’s 40-day meet officially kicks off on Friday, July 20 and will feature 69 stakes races worth nearly $18.8 million. As always, the meet will be highlighted by the Grade I, $1.2 million Whitney on Saturday, August 4; and the fabled “Mid-Summer Derby,” the Grade I, $1.25 million Travers Stakes, on Saturday, August 25.

Opening weekend action includes a pair of Grade I stakes races, with the $500,000 Diana for turf fillies and mares on Saturday, July 21; and $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for three-year-old fillies on Sunday, July 22. Also included in the weekend’s fare: the Grade III, $150,000 Schuylerville and the Grade III, $150,000 Lake George on opening day.

The stakes are high on July 28, with the Grade II, $600,000 Jim Dandy revving up local Travers prep; along with the Grade I, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap for sprinters at the end of their career; the Grade II, $250,000 Bowling Green; and Grade III, $200,000 Amsterdam for three-year-olds.

Co-starring with the Whitney on August 4 will be the Grade I, $500,000 Longines Test for three-year-old fillies and a trio of turf stakes: the Grade III, $200,000 Waya for fillies and mares; the $100,000 Lure; and the $100,000 De La Rose for fillies and mares. The Grade I,  $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap will be held the following weekend (August 11); and the Grade I, $600,000 Alabama on the following Saturday (August 18).

Travers Stakes
The canoe in the lake, painted with the Travers Stakes’ winner’s colors from 2017. (Mike Kane)

Of course, Travers Weekend promises to be jam-packed with incredible racing—and might even feature a Triple Crown-leg winner or two. Besides the $1.25 million gem, five other Grade I stakes races are on tap for August 25: the $1 million Sword Dancer Invitational; the $700,000 Personal Ensign; the $500,000 Ballerina; the $600,000 Forego; and the $500,000 H Allen Jerkens Memorial (formerly known as the King’s Bishop). That day will also see the running of the Grade II, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa.

All good things must come to an end, though. Closing weekend begins on Saturday, September 1, with a group of graded stakes races: the Grade I, $750,000 Woodward and Grade I, $350,000 Spinaway; followed by the Grade III, $300,000 Saranac and Grade II, $250,000 Glens Falls. The meet ends with three featured races: the Grade II, $250,000 Prioress for three-year-old fillies on Sunday, Sept. 2; and the Grade I, $350,000 Hopeful and Grade II, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap on Monday, Sept. 3.

Below, find a full list of all the featured/stakes races and their respective dates:

Friday, July 20:
Grade III, $150,000 Schuylerville
Grade III, $150,000 Lake George

Saturday, July 21:
Grade I, $500,000 Diana
Grade III, $150,000 Sanford

Sunday, July 22:
Grade I, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks

Monday, July 23:
Caress (ungraded), $200,000

Wednesday, July 25:
Grade II, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap

Thursday, July 26:
Grade I, $150,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial (steeplechase)
John Morrissey (ungraded), $100,000

Friday, July 27:
Curlin (ungraded), $100,000

Saturday, July 28:
Grade II, $600,000 Jim Dandy
Grade I, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap
Grade II, $250,000 Bowling Green
Grade III, $200,000 Amsterdam

Sunday, July 29:
Grade III, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap

Monday, July 30:
Coronation Cup (ungraded), $100,000

Wednesday, August 1:
Shine Again (ungraded), $100,000

Thursday, August 2:
Birdstone (ungraded), $100,000

Friday, August 3:
Grade II, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame

Saturday, August 4 (The Whitney):
Grade I, $1.2 million Whitney
Grade I, $500,000 Longines Test
Grade III, $200,000 Waya
Lure (ungraded), $100,000
De La Rose (ungraded), $100,000

Sunday, August 5:
Grade III, $200,000 Troy
Alydar (ungraded), $100,000

Monday, August 6:
NYSS Cab Calloway (ungraded), $100,000

Wednesday, August 8:
Quick Call (ungraded), $100,000

Thursday, August 9:
NYSS Statue of Liberty (ungraded), $100,000

Friday, August 10:
Tale of the Cat (ungraded), $100,000

Saturday, August 11:
Grade I, $500,000 Fourstardave
Grade II, $200,000 Adirondack

Sunday, August 12:
Grade II, $200,000 Saratoga Special

Monday, August 13:
Saratoga Dew (ungraded), $100,000

Wednesday, August 15:
Bolton Landing (ungraded), $100,000

Thursday, August 16:
Union Avenue (ungraded), $100,000

Friday, August 17:
Skidmore (ungraded), $100,000

Saturday, August 18:
Grade I, $600,000 Alabama
Grade II, $300,000 Lake Placid

Sunday, August 19:
Summer Colony (ungraded), $100,000

Monday, August 20:
Evan Shipman (ungraded), $100,000 (NYB)

Wednesday, August 22:
John’s Call (ungraded), $100,000

Thursday, August 23:
Riskaverse (ungraded), $100,000
Grade I, $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (steeplechase)

Friday, August 24:
Albany (ungraded), $250,000 (NYB)
Fleet Indian (ungraded), $200,000 (NYB)
Funny Cide (ungraded), $200,000 (NYB)
Seeking the Ante (ungraded), $200,000 (NYB)
West Point (ungraded), $150,000 (NYB)
Yaddo (ungraded), $150,000 (NYB)

Saturday, August 25 (Travers Day):
Grade I, $1.25 million Travers
Grade I, $1 million Sword Dancer
Grade I, $700,000 Personal Ensign
Grade I, $600,000 Forego
Grade I, $500,000 Ballerina
Grade I, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial
Grade II, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa

Sunday, August 26:
Smart N Fancy (ungraded), $100,000

Monday, August 27:
Better Talk Now (ungraded), $100,000

Wednesday, August 29:
Grade III, $150,000 With Anticipation

Thursday, August 30:
P.G. Johnson (ungraded), $100,000

Friday, August 31:
Lucky Coin (ungraded), $100,000

Saturday, September 1:
Grade I, $750,000 The Woodward
Grade I, $350,000 Spinaway
Grade III, $300,000 Saranac
Grade II, $250,000 Glens Falls

Sunday, September 2:
Grade II, $250,000 Prioress

Monday, September 3 (Closing Day):
Grade I, $350,000 Hopeful
Grade II, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap

Sophia Perez
Sophia Perez

Sophia Perez is a California-raised freelance writer currently based in Brooklyn.

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