Category: Saratoga

2019 Hopeful Stakes Preview

Though the beginning of the meet keeps getting earlier every year, it seems, we can still depend on Labor Day as the last day at the Spa.  The meet draws to a close Monday, though not before The Hopeful has been a fixture at Saratoga since 1904, and nowadays it is the first Grade 1... Read more »

2019 Spinaway Stakes Preview

This is closing weekend at Saratoga, and the featured races for the final two days of the meet are a pair of Grade 1 races for juveniles.  Sunday’s feature is the Spinaway, a $350,000 race for two-year-old fillies, going seven furlongs on the dirt.  In a separate piece, we will also look at Monday’s Hopeful... Read more »

2019 Travers Stakes Preview

This Saturday’s card at Saratoga is the biggest of the meet, and features the meet’s cornerstone race: the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. Colloquially dubbed the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers has been run at Saratoga since 1864.  The race has always been named after William R. Travers, president of the Saratoga Racing Association when the race... Read more »
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2019 Whitney Stakes Preview

With Arlington taking a week off from stakes races in order to catch its collective breath before Million Week, it’s time to take a (proverbial) road trip. The handicap division has no bigger showcase during the Saratoga meet than the Whitney.  The race takes its name from the Whitney family, scions of the New York... Read more »

2018 Woodward Stakes Preview

We have reached Labor Day weekend: the traditional end of summer, and the closing weekend of racing action at the Spa. The Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward Stakes is the final older-horse Grade 1 of the Saratoga meet.  The race is named after William Woodward, Sr., a banker who developed Belair Stud into one of the... Read more »

2018 Travers Stakes Preview and Travers Day Stakes Selections

This Saturday’s card at Saratoga is the biggest of the meet, and features the meet’s cornerstone race: the Grade 1 Travers Stakes.  This piece features full analysis of the Travers Stakes, as well as a selections grid for all of the stakes races Saturday at the Spa. Colloquially dubbed the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers has... Read more »
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2018 Whitney Stakes Preview

The handicap division has no bigger showcase during the Saratoga meet than the Whitney.  The race takes its name from the Whitney family, scions of the New York racing circuit.  William Collins Whitney co-founded the Jockey Club, and campaigned prominent racehorses such as the 1901 Epsom Derby winner Volodyovski and 1904 Champion two-year-old filly Artful. ... Read more »

2018 Diana Stakes and Sanford Stakes Preview

Summer is here: the Spa is opening. Picks and Ponderings turns it attention this week to the pair of graded stakes on Saturday at the Spa.  One, the Grade 3 Sanford, drew a field of eight juvenile colts to go six furlongs on the dirt.  The other, the first Grade 1 of the meet, is the... Read more »

2017 Travers Stakes Preview

This Saturday’s card at Saratoga is the biggest of the meet, and features the meet’s cornerstone race: the Grade I Travers Stakes.  This piece features full analysis of the Travers Stakes, as well as a selections grid for all of the stakes races Saturday at the Spa. Colloquially dubbed the Mid-Summer Derby (though don’t tell... Read more »
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A visit to Godolphin's Greentree training center

Greentree is aptly named, with a track that sweeps through the grass, past boughs and mountains.
I already envisioned Saratoga as a sprawling horse heaven nestled in the Adirondacks.  I knew the Thoroughbred track, the home of the Travers and the Alabama and the New York Turf Writers Cup.  I knew the grandstand and back yard draped with so many red awnings, the wooden barns, the Oklahoma Training Track.  I knew the... Read more »