Over the past century, Saratoga race track has hosted some of the best horse racing in the world, and summer 2017 was no exception. This summer, Saratoga saw many winners, both human and equine, during the 40 days meeting that started mid-July and ended on Labor Day.
Mega-trainer Todd Pletcher collected his 13th H. Allen Jerkens Trophy for 40 wins over 40 racing days, gaining the title for the sixth time in the last seven years, and breaking Chad Brown’s record set just last year. Jockey Jose Ortiz also left Saratoga a victor, taking home the Angel Cordero Trophy for winning his second straight leg. And for the New York Racing Association (NYRA) it was a stupendous summer, as they collected a handle total of $676.7 million.
Here, MyWinners explores Saratoga’s 2017 race track results, winning horses, best races and unfortunate casualties. Learn all about this historic summer for Saratoga horse racing.
Racing superstar Man o’ War was foaled in Saratoga a century ago this year, becoming a winning machine and celebrity stud in the decade that followed.
The 148th running of the $1.25 million Travers Stakes attracted Saratoga’s largest audiences this season. But while audiences were missing a 2017 favorite, the race did feature three Triple Crown winners, the Jim Dandy winner, and champion filly Songbird, who has since retired. The event was won by West Coast, in one of the most exciting races of the season. You can check out this page to see the past racing calendar.
Voodoo Song was one of the stand out thoroughbred’s that emerged during this summer season winning four races during the same Saratoga meeting. The first horse since the famed Native Dancer did it in 1952. A huge accomplishment for the Linda Rice trainee and Voodoo Song who ran the four races on short rest – uncommon in today’s horse racing where there are usually weeks, if not months, in between starts.
The closest we got to a racing superstar this year was with thoroughbred Gun Runner, who has replaced Arrogate at the top of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association poll since beginning his Saratoga campaign. Starting his summer season at the 90th anniversary of the Whitney Stakes, Gun Runner won by a spectacular five-lengths. Gun Runner later returned to action, and glory, at the Woodward Stakes which took place over Saratoga’s closing weekend. An adrenaline-pumping race that saw Gun Runner win by more-than-ten-lengths. We believe he is following in the footsteps of the many great horse.
The incomparable Lady Eli left her final Saratoga on a high note, streaking home to reel in pacesetter Dickinson by 1 ½ lengths in Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa Stakes Grade 2. A fantastic summer for West Coast, Voodoo Song and Gun Runner and Lady Eli, and an exciting closing of the season.
However, whilst this summer’s meeting in Saratoga has had some incredible highlights, it has also seen an increase in the number of accidents. Sadly, 19 horses died this year, according to The Daily Gazette, raising the concerns of the public and the NYRA.
Travelin Soldier passed after training and Sayonara Rose died after finishing a race on Saratoga’s main track. According to the New York State Gaming Commission, Saratoga is now the record holder for the most horse fatalities in a single year – which sparked a string of anti horse racing protests.
The NYRA, which manages horse racing all year round from Saratoga to Belmont Park, has responded to these concerns stating they are committed to human and equine safety. But as horse fatalities continue to rise annually, and NYRA state they are open to exploring more options, there is little comfort for horse racing fans and animal welfare activists alike.
However, with a total attendance (for paid admissions) of 1,117,838, this summer has been one of Saratoga’s best. Every summer seasons at Saratoga is better than their last which is one of the reasons Sports Illustrated named it one of America’s 10 greatest sporting venues. It is a race track known for making champions out of jockeys but more importantly thoroughbred, as 2017 has illustrated.