Saratoga’s 36-day meet opens on Wednesday, July 29 and the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing will launch the second weekend and usher in the Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sales at Saratoga to be held on Monday, August 10 and Tuesday, August 11, 2009. The Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing will celebrate the rich history of Fasig-Tipton in Saratoga and the company’s many ties to New York racing.
Fasig-Tipton, North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction firm has been closely associated with racing in New York for more than 100 years and some of the sport’s greatest champions have been sold by the company in New York. The current paddock mutuel building at Saratoga served as the main sales barn for the prestigious Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sales in the first half of the 20th century and Man o’ War was sold as a yearling at Saratoga in 1918.
“Saratoga is the most exciting race meet in the country and it is great to work with Fasig-Tipton to launch our first Festival of Racing,” said Charles Hayward, president and chief executive officer of NYRA. “The combination of world-class racing and world-class yearlings has always drawn fans from around the world. Now, this will be supported by many activities, both on and off the track, providing a thrilling, unforgettable experience for all of our customers.”
Featured stakes races the weekend of the Festival include the 82nd running of the Grade 1 $750,000 Whitney Handicap and the 84th running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Test on Saturday, August 8. Champions including Kelso, War Admiral, Dr. Fager, Personal Ensign and, more recently, 2006 Horse of the Year, Invasor have won the prestigious Whitney Handicap, named in honor of the Whitney family and their great contributions to American racing The Test has been won by the likes of Vagrancy, Ta Wee, Safely Kept and 2008 champion filly sprinter, Indian Blessing.
Featured races on Sunday, August 9, include the 24th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap and the 18th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap.
In addition to the featured races, a variety of events are planned for the weekend including a Jockey Challenge, Best Turned Out horse contests, a speaker series featuring Legends of Racing, and a handicapping contest for fans. As the festival draws closer, further details of these events will be released.