HORSES Saratoga Race Course Betting 2024 Overview

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:

Just as it’s May at Churchill Downs, if it’s summer, it’s Saratoga. Thought to be older (opened in 1863) than any sporting venue in North America, Saratoga is set to begin its 40-day season this Thursday (July 11th). There are 71 stakes races (more than $20 million) on the schedule.

The ‘Graveyard of Favorites’ tests even the best of handicappers, according to Saratoga odds.

Though the Triple Crown season is over (including the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga), there is much to enjoy as the best horses in training find their way to the capital region of New York.

Highlighting any Saratoga meeting is the $1.25 million Travers Stakes, referred to as the Midsummer Derby. Bringing together the best 3-year-olds this season, Travers Day No. 155 goes Saturday, Aug. 24th.

While not possible to preview the entire list of stakes on the calendar, here’s a look at a few….

Sanford (Grade III)

The 2-year-old crop is always a big part of the intrigue at Saratoga, beginning with the Sanford (Grade III) Saturday, July 13th. It’s a three-quarter-mile (six-furlong) dash featuring some freshman males with promise. This race features any number of maiden-breaking winners, including Baby Dukes (trainer Butch Reid, jockey Jose Lezcano), Soonotobeaking (trainer George Weaver, jockey Eric Cancel) and Studlydoright (trainer John Robb, jockey Xavier Perez). ‘Studly’ is already 2-of-2, winning the Tremont Stakes (at nearly 14-1) over this surface.

Whitney (Grade I)

The 2024 edition of the Whitney (No. 97 goes Saturday, Aug. 3rd.

Honoring the family who has been synonymous with Saratoga seemingly forever, it’s a mile-and-an-eighth (nine-furlong) stake where the ‘elders’ (4-year-olds and older) have at it.

The 2023 Preakness winner National Treasure (trainer Bob Baffert, jockey TBA) comes off a blowout, wire-to-wire win in the Met Mile here. He has won four of his 13 career races and more than $5.3 million.

Diana (Grade I)

First Saturday (July 13th) also features the Diana, as the lawn lasses (4-year-olds and older) go e mile-and-an-eighth (nine furlongs). If it’s on the grass, it’s trainer Chad Brown, whose Chili Flag (jockey Irad Oeriz Jr.) leads a contingent coming out of the Just a Game, contested here.

‘Chili’ was the winner, with Whitebeam (jockey Flavien Prat) second.

Mission of Joy (trainer Graham Motion, jockey John Velazquez) finished third.

Crossing the border is the millionairess Moira (trainer Kevin Attard, jockey Tyler Gaffalione), winner of the 2022 Queen’s Plate (Woodbine).

Alabama (Grade I)

Ladies are on display in Alabama, going Saturday, Aug. 17th. It’s 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-quarter on the dirt, meaning the queen of her division, Thorpedo Anna, is the star.

‘Anna’ has won all three of her starts this season quite easily (5-of-6 in career), and at some point is going to take on the boys. She is trained by Ken McPeek and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr.  Of course, if she tries the guys in the Travers (see below), then the Alabama becomes wide open,

Travers (Grade I)

As was mentioned, highlighting the Saratoga season is the Travers, one of four Grade I events Saturday, Aug. 24th.

It’s been a muddled season with the 3-year-olds to date, evidenced by the Triple Crown races won by three different horses. There’s Mystik Dan (Kentucky Derby), Seize the Grey (Preakness) and Dornoch (Belmont @ Saratoga).

As that trio is expected at the Travers (note the Haskell at Monmouth later this month might change some plans), honors in this division could be on the line, Do not dismiss the prospect of the aforementioned Thorpedo Anna, as the fast filly (same connections as Mystik Dan) could well take a shot.

The racebook features all the premier tracks every day, as per horse-race wagering.


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