New Race Condition at Saratoga Meet

Saratoga starting gateThe New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) had announced it will offer a series of races restricted to 2-year-olds purchased for $45,000 or less at their most recent auction starting in July at Saratoga Race Course.

“We are happy to try something new at Saratoga,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. “We feel the Maiden Allowance Auction Series will further support our smaller trainers and owners, who play an important role in our racing program, and also provide an opportunity for new owners to get into the game and showcase their horses at Saratoga.”

The Maiden Allowance Auction Series expands on the current condition book to encourage prospective owners from all racing jurisdictions to buy horses with the incentive of a chance to compete at the Spa.

The open juvenile races, to be restricted to horses that went through the ring for $45,000 or less at their most recent auction, will be offered in the first condition book of the Saratoga meet for purses of $75,000.

With the summer sales season approaching, a number of opportunities to buy young horses are on the horizon including Fasig-Tipton’s The Saratoga Sale, set for August 5-6; as well as their New York-bred Yearling Sale, set for August 11-12, both in Saratoga Springs, New York.

“These races will provide a great opportunity for owners and trainers to experience the thrills and excitement of winning a race at Saratoga with a modestly priced auction purchase,” said Boyd Browning, president and CEO of Fasig-Tipton Co. “Buyers are needed at all price ranges at Thoroughbred auctions and this is the type of program that incentivizes owner participation. We applaud NYRA for introducing this program and look forward to seeing these races at Saratoga.”

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Two-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale, slated for June 12-14, will also offer prospective buyers an opportunity to enter the market at an affordable level.

“This is a win-win situation for NYRA and the owners of moderately priced horses,” said Tom Ventura, president of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company. “The owners will have an opportunity to race their horses for a quality purse, without having to run in a maiden claiming race, while also avoiding the heavy heads that are targeting the Saratoga meet. With more horses breaking their maiden, NYRA will have a larger pool of horses to fill next level allowance and stakes races. It should have a trickle-down effect in the sales ring, in a part of the market that could always use more buyer participation. Buyers will certainly appreciate a chance for an early return on their investment, while limiting the competition. Hats off to NYRA for creating an innovative option for owners.”

The new condition will also include up to $13,500 in New York Breeding Fund open company owners awards for New York-breds finishing 1st through 3rd in the new Maiden Allowance Auction Series.

“Creating added value for middle market horses is a positive move for everyone,” said Jeff Cannizzo, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. and NYRA board member. “Establishing more maiden winners is positive long-term for New York. Doing this in Saratoga makes it sweeter for owners and breeders. New York-breds become even more lucrative at this level and will earn up to 20% open company owners awards on top of the purse. This is positive for breeders and owners here in New York where there will be many New York-breds eligible for this new condition. In 2018, New York-breds alone won 34 percent of the races at Saratoga and $11.4 million in purses.”

The 2019 Saratoga meet will feature 76 stakes across 40 racing days, highlighted by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers and the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney as the anchors of two of the biggest racing days in North America.

“It’s great to see innovative programming in the condition book,” said Joe Appelbaum, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA). “NYTHA applauds the effort to provide more opportunities for a range of horsemen to succeed at Saratoga. We would expect this initiative to fill races, be highly competitive and to provide a path to a more robust racing program.”

The 2019 Saratoga meet begins on Thursday, July 11 and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. Following Opening Weekend, Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.

Source: NYRA

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Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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