Welcome to Bizarro World, Saratoga edition.
The Travers Stakes will truly live up to its nickname of The Midsummer Derby this year.
As part of a revamped Saratoga Race Course schedule, the 1 1/4-mile Travers has been moved up three weeks to August 8th. With a million dollar purse the race remains the centerpiece of a 71-stakes race schedule worth $14.45 million dollars for the 40-day meet which runs from July 16th through September 7th.
The Travers is usually held on the final Saturday in August, but a change became necessary when the Kentucky Derby was switched to September 5th due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Travers is one of the year’s premier stakes for 3-year-olds, and will top a card that includes two $300,000, seven-furlong Grade 1 stakes- the Ballerina Handicap for fillies and mares and the Test Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Also on that card will be the $200,000 Troy Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf and the $150,000 Waya Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/2 miles on the turf.
The $500,000 dollar, Grade 1 Alabama Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles, one of 18 Grade 1 stakes during the meet, will be contested a week later on August 15th.
The $750,000, Grade 1 Whitney Stakes for older horses highlights an August 1st card with three Grade 1 stakes. The $500,000 Personal Ensign Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares. The $300,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes a seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds, is also new to the first Saturday in August, having been run on Travers Day in the past.
The $500,000 dollar, Grade 1 Woodward Handicap remains the headliner of the final Saturday card of the meet (September 5th) but will be extended to 1 1/4 miles from nine furlongs.
The program scheduled on Kentucky Derby Day will also include the $150,000, Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds. This race was usually run in July as a prep for the Travers.
Instead, the $100,000, Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes, typically a prep for the Belmont Stakes will be run on the opening day July 16th card. The race is for 3-year-olds, run at 1 1/8 miles.
Don’t forget, on Friday the Daily Racing Blog will take a look at the field for the Stephen Foster Stakes. So stop back and compare your picks with ours.