NYRA to Offer Maiden Allowance Auction Series at Saratoga

Horses break from the gate at Saratoga Race Course
Horses break from the gate at Saratoga Race Course / Skip Dickstein

The new restricted races expand on the current condition book at Saratoga.

On May 29, the New York Racing Association announced that a series of races restricted to 2-year-olds purchased for $45,000 or less at their most recent auction will be offered starting in July at Saratoga Race Course.

“We are happy to try something new at Saratoga,” said Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. “We feel the Maiden Allowance Auction Series will further support our smaller trainers and owners who play an important role in our racing program and also provide an opportunity for new owners to get into the game and showcase their horses at Saratoga.”

The Maiden Allowance Auction Series expands on the current condition book to encourage prospective owners from all racing jurisdictions to buy horses with the incentive of a chance to compete at the Spa.

The open juvenile races will be offered in the first condition book of the Saratoga meet for purses of $75,000.

The summer sales season offers a number of opportunities to buy young horses, including The Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s yearling auction set for Aug. 5-6; as well as Fasig-Tipton’s Aug. 11-12 New York-Bred Yearlings Sale, both in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

“These races will provide a great opportunity for owners and trainers to experience the thrills and excitement of winning a race at Saratoga with a modestly priced auction purchase,” said Boyd Browning, president and CEO of Fasig-Tipton. “Buyers are needed at all price ranges at Thoroughbred auctions, and this is the type of program that incentivizes owner participation. We applaud NYRA for introducing this program and look forward to seeing these races at Saratoga.”

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales June 2-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale, slated for June 12-14, will also offer prospective buyers an opportunity to enter the market at an affordable level.

“This is a win-win situation for NYRA and the owners of moderately priced horses,” said Tom Ventura, president of OBS. “The owners will have an opportunity to race their horses for a quality purse without having to run in a maiden claiming race, while also avoiding the heavy heads that are targeting the Saratoga meet. With more horses breaking their maiden, NYRA will have a larger pool of horses to fill next-level allowance and stakes races.

“It should have a trickle-down effect in the sales ring in a part of the market that could always use more buyer participation,” he continued. “Buyers will certainly appreciate a chance for an early return on their investment, while limiting the competition. Hats off to NYRA for creating an innovative option for owners.”

The new condition will also include up to $13,500 in New York Breeding Fund open company owners awards for New York-breds finishing first through third in the new Maiden Allowance Auction Series.

“Creating added value for middle-market horses is a positive move for everyone,” said Jeff Cannizzo, executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and a NYRA board member. “Establishing more maiden winners is positive long-term for New York. Doing this in Saratoga makes it sweeter for owners and breeders. New York-breds become even more lucrative at this level and will earn up to 20% open company owners awards on top of the purse. This is positive for breeders and owners here in New York, where there will be many New York-breds eligible for this new condition. In 2018, New York-breds alone won 34% of the races at Saratoga and $11.4 million in purses.”

The 2019 Saratoga meet will feature 76 stakes across 40 racing days. The 150th running of the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) and the $1 million Whitney Stakes (G1) anchor two of the biggest racing days in North America.

“It’s great to see innovative programming in the condition book,” said Joe Appelbaum, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “NYTHA applauds the effort to provide more opportunities for a range of horsemen to succeed at Saratoga. We would expect this initiative to fill races, be highly competitive, and to provide a path to a more robust racing program.”

The 2019 Saratoga meet begins July 11 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2. Following opening weekend, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Aug. 28 through Labor Day.

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