NYRA reduces field sizes for juvenile maiden races at Saratoga
The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) Board of Directors' Racing Committee announced on Tuesday that the field size of two-year-old maiden races at sprint distances during the upcoming Saratoga Race Course meet will be limited to eight starters. The field size for two-turn juvenile maiden races will be limited to 10 starters.
"The catalyst behind limiting the field sizes in the maiden races for juveniles was two-fold," NYRA Vice President and Director of Racing P. J. Campo said. "The smaller fields are expected to produce more cleanly run events while also creating the opportunity to showcase more high-quality races during the meet and beyond. We expect this change will strengthen NYRA's juvenile stakes and allowance programs by helping horses gain the experience they need to compete successfully at higher levels."
"Protecting our horses is an important mandate," New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association President and NYRA Board Member Rick Violette Jr. said. "Larger fields of inexperienced young horses often result in roughly run races. This approach will offer a kinder, gentler and, perhaps, wiser introduction to racing for young horses, and could, in fact, extend their careers.
"Owners will have a better opportunity to fairly evaluate the performances of their horses in manageable fields," Violette added. "This also will increase the chance that young horses will improve mentally and physically from their first races, rather than having to recover from them."
The 40-day Saratoga meet commences for the 144th time on July 20 with a card featuring the Grade 3 Schuylerville for two-year-old fillies and the Grade 3 James Marvin for sprinters. There will be live racing six days a week, Wednesday through Monday. The 143rd running of the $1 million Travers is set for August 25 with an undercard including the Grade 1 King's Bishop, the Grade 1 Test and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa. The Saratoga meet concludes on Labor Day, September 3, featuring the Grade 2 Hopeful for two-year-old colts.
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