The New York Racing Association announced June 22 significant increases to its purse schedule for the 2021 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which opens July 15 and continues through Sept. 6.
All open stakes at Saratoga that previously carried a purse of $100,000 will see an increase of $20,000 to $120,000. Open maiden special weight races at Saratoga will enjoy a $10,000 boost, increasing from $90,000 to $100,000. New York-bred maiden special weights will increase by $5,000 to $85,000.
Allowance optional claiming races at Saratoga featuring non-winners of three/$100,000 claiming will see its purse raised to $110,000, while non-winners of two/$80,000 claiming will have a purse of $105,000. Non-winners of one will offer a $103,000 purse.
State-bred non-winners of two/$45,000 claiming will compete for an increased purse of $95,000, while the purse for state-bred non-winners of one was bumped to $90,000.
“We look forward to welcoming horsemen from across the country back to Saratoga,” said Keith Doleshel, NYRA racing secretary for Saratoga. “The purse increases across the board should help make the 2021 season a summer full of the competitive racing that Saratoga is known for.”
In addition to purse increases, the NYRA Maiden Allowance Auction Series will return this summer for the third year following its launch in 2019. All races in this series are restricted to horses that sold or fell short of their reserves for $45,000 or less at their most recent auction, providing an additional incentive and opportunity for owners to compete.
The Maiden Allowance Auction Series races will be offered in the first condition book of the Saratoga meet for purses of $80,000, a $5,000 increase over 2020. The Maiden Allowance Auction Series condition will also include up to $13,920 in New York Breeding Fund open company owners awards for New York-breds finishing first through third in the Maiden Allowance Auction Series.
Pari-mutuel wagering funds the majority of the NYRA purse account, which is awarded to horsemen and, in turn, benefits businesses dependent on the Thoroughbred racing industry. Thoroughbred racing in New York State is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual statewide economic impact, the track said in a release.
Highlighted by the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 28 and the $1 million Whitney Stakes (G1) Aug. 7, Saratoga will feature 76 stakes worth $21.5 million in total purses.
The track’s first stakes are a pair of sprints July 15—the $120,000 Quick Call Stakes (G3T) for 3-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs on grass, and the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (G3) for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs.