SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The 88th running of the prestigious Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney, one of North America’s premier races for older males, will headline a day of world class thoroughbred racing and special events at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August 8.
The 1 1/8-mile Whitney will top the card of a blockbuster day of racing that includes five stakes as part of the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing. The prestigious Whitney will pair with the Grade 1 Longines Test for 3-year-old fillies atop the festival card, which also offers the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Waya, the Lure and the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose.
“Whitney Day is one of the most anticipated days on the Saratoga calendar and the prestigious race is one of the highlights of the summer season,” said the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) CEO and President Chris Kay. “We are excited to deliver a lineup of world-class thoroughbred racing and entertainment for our fans at the Spa on Whitney Day.”
On Tuesday evening, the post-position draw for the Whitney was held at Sperry’s Restaurant in downtown Saratoga, part of a new tradition to share with the community the excitement and anticipation of Saratoga’s two signature days: the Whitney and Travers.
A field of 10 horses was entered in the Whitney, led by this year’s Met Mile winner Honor Code for Lane’s End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm and Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite. The field also includes defending champion Moreno, 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, 2014 Travers winner V.E. Day, 2014 Jim Dandy winner Wicked Strong, Noble Bird, Lea, Liam’s Map, Coach Inge, and Normandy Invasion.
Saratoga Race Course will continue a tradition that began two years ago in honor of the winning connections of the Whitney when the winner is feted with a special custom-designed horse blanket made of hundreds of Marylou Whitney pink roses. The blanket and roses were commissioned by her husband John Hendrickson, who serves as a special advisor on the NYRA Reorganization Board of Directors.
The Whitney will also be distinguished by a sterling silver, three-handled chalice trophy that will be designated for the winning owner of the race. The trophy is adorned with the Whitney crest to commemorate one of Saratoga’s most prestigious and historic races. The Whitney trophy and rose blanket will be on display in the winner’s circle prior to the race, which goes to post at 5:46 p.m. EST and will be televised on NBC.
A limited number of grandstand reserved seats is available for Whitney Day and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, in-person at the NYRA Box Office at Saratoga Race Course, or by phone at 1-844-NYRA-TIX.
Saturday will mark the beginning of the seventh annual Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing, which celebrates the rich partnership between NYRA and Fasig-Tipton with a variety of special events. The festival includes the “Best Turned Out Horse” award, during which Fasig-Tipton will recognize the hard work that goes into daily grooming with a special prize for the groom of the best-turned-out horse participating in the Whitney. The award will be presented to the winning groom in the winner’s circle prior to the race.
Officials from Fasig-Tipton will select the best dressed man and woman of Whitney Day as part of Fashion Saturdays at Saratoga. The winners will receive the opportunity to participate in a trophy presentation for the Fashion Saturday race, presented by Saratoga Living. Various local fashion retailers and spas will also have displays and pop-up shops in the Saratoga Pavilion throughout the afternoon, including Bumble Beads Boutique, Good Shot Design, Lifestyles of Saratoga, The National and Rumors Salon & Spa.
On Saturday, the Community Outreach Booth will host the Toys for Tots Foundation, a national movement organized by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to collect new, unwrapped toys to distribute as holiday gifts for less fortunate children. The Capital Region Toys for Tots campaign works with more than 200 community agencies to distribute toys and serves more than 200,000 area children. At the Community Outreach Booth, United States Marines volunteering with the Capital Region Toys for Tots program will give its toy collection a head start by accepting monetary donations and new, unwrapped toys.
The Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing will continue on Sunday when a number of the greatest riders in the history of thoroughbred racing gather at Saratoga for the second annual Jockey Legends Day. Saratoga favorites Angel Cordero, Jr., Ramon Dominguez and Richard Migliore are among the former jockeys who will sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. outside the Jockey Silks Room with a suggested donation of $10 to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, presented by Fasig-Tipton. Also scheduled to appear are Braulio Baeza, Jorge Chavez, Jean Cruguet, Robbie Davis, Pat Day, Jean-Luc Samyn, Nick Santagata, Jacinto Vasquez, Jorge Velasquez and Manny Ycaza. All will be recognized in a special red-carpet ceremony on the track after the fifth race.
Sunday will also feature the second installment of the “Best Turned Out Horse” award, which will be presented to the winning groom in the winner’s circle prior to the day’s feature race, the Alydar.
Additionally, the popular Taste NY: Food and Artisans market will return to Saratoga. The lively market is comprised of nearly 20 food and artisan vendors featuring products made exclusively in New York State. Products include jams, honey, baked goods and hand-crafted soap, amongst other items. The market is held each Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Saratoga Pavilion.
On Sunday, the Community Outreach Booth will host the Knights of Columbus Saratoga Council #246, which offers financial assistance and mutual aid to sick, disabled and needy members and their families, as well as social and intellectual fellowship promoted through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The 2015 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 7. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit nyra.com.