Saratoga Preview: Sword Dancer Leads Stakes-Filled Week at the Spa

August 25, 2020

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Enjoy one of the richest weekends of the summer with 5 graded stakes worth nearly $1.2 million in purses. This star-studded stretch is headlined by the Sword Dancer (G1) and Forego presented by America’s Best Racing (G1) on Saturday. The Shuvee (G3) anchors this week’s marquee racing on Sunday. 

Live racing resumes at the Spa on Wednesday with a 12:50 pm first post and 9-race card headlined by the Mahony Stakes.

TV Schedule

Weekly Stakes Schedule

Racing this week runs Wednesday-Sunday and features 9 stakes, 6 of which are graded!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, first post, 12:50 p.m. ET

Two American Pharoah colts favored in The Mahoney.

$85,000 Mahony, Race 7, post time 4:12 p.m. ET

3-years-olds, 5-1/2 furlongs on turf

1. Buy Land and See (Cairo Prince) 8/1

2. Flap Jack (Oxbow) 12/1

3. Competitive Saint (Competitive Edge) 12/1

4. Power Up Paynter (Paynter) 30/1

5. Old Chestnut (Speightstown) 12/1

6. Island Commish (Commissioner) 15/1

7. Cajun Casanova (Cajun Breeze) 30/1

8. Maven (American Pharoah) 5/2

9. Jack and Noah (FR) (Bated Breath {GB}) 4/1

10. Turned Aside (American Pharoah) 2/1

11. Sky of Hook (Tapiture) (MTO) 8/1

Complete stats available on Equibase.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, first post, 1:10 p.m. ET

International field of fillies and mares take to the turf!

$85,000 Smart N Fancy, Race 7, post time 4:41 p.m. ET

Fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up, 5-1/2 furlongs on turf

1. Rose Flower (GER) (Dabirsim {FR}) 4/1

2. Saratoga Treasure (Treasure Beach {GB}) 10/1

3. Getmotherarose (Get Stormy) 6/1

4. A Great Time (Street Magician) 9/2

5. Miss Gossip (IRE) (Big Bad Bob {IRE}) 6/1

6. Introduced (El Padrino) 3/1

7. Peaceful (Declaration of War) 5/1

8. Victory Kingdom (AUS) (Animal Kingdom) 8/1

Complete stats available on Equibase

FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, first post, 1:10 p.m. ET

New York sophomores go for top sire honors in the NYSSS Times Square Division. Then three ‘More Than Ready’ fillies line up with seven other contenders to run against American Pharoah’s Sweet Melania.

$100,000 NYSSS Times Square Division, Race 1, post time 1:10 p.m. ET

3-years-olds eligible for the New York Stallion Stakes, 6-1/2 furlongs

1. Chowda (Emcee)

2. Captain Bombastic (Forty Tales)

3. Ariesberg (Teuflesberg)

4. Slash Gordon (Big Brown) 

5. Dream Bigger (Mission Impazible)

$100,000 Lake George (G3), Race 9, post time 5:46 p.m. ET

3-years-old fillies, 1 mile on turf

1. Sweet Melania (American Pharoah)

2. Micheline (Bernardini)

3. Witez (More Than Ready)

4. Velvet Crush (Tapit)

5. My Sassy Sarah (Summer Front)

6. Cat’s Pajamas (Street Sense)

7. Miss Peppina (Bayern) (MTO)

8. Selflessly (More Than Ready)

9. Windracer (IRE) (Showcasing {GB})

10. Sugar Fix (Arch)

11. American Giant (More Than Ready)

Complete stats available on Equibase


Four graded stakes on the Saturday card featuring top runners! Formerly the Screen King, the Amsterdam was renamed in 1998 to honor the nearby town of Amsterdam, which itself named after the capital of The Netherlands. Contested at seven furlongs in its first edition in 1993, the race was run at six furlongs from 1994-2005 and at 6 ½ furlongs from then on. In 1994, the race was run in two divisions.

Named for Forego, the American Horse of the Year for three straight years between 1974 and 1976, the Grade I Forego Stakes  was inaugurated on August 27, 1980.

The race was run at Belmont in 1980 and 1981 at a distance of 1 mile under handicap conditions before moving to Saratoga in 1982 and held at a decreased distance of 7 furlongs. In 1983 the stakes was classified as Grade III, the next year Grade II and upgraded to Grade I in 2001. From 2000 through 2002 the event was run at 6 ½ furlongs before reverting to the 7 furlong distance in 2003. The race is considered a main preparatory race for either the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at six furlongs, or the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Several notable winners have followed such a path.

First run in 1901 at Saratoga, the Saranac named for a village in the Adirondack mountains located about two hours north of the track. The race was run on the main track prior to 1979, and has been contested at distances ranging from one mile to 1 3/16 miles. It has been run at 1 1/8 miles since 2011.

As a 3-year-old in 1959, Sword Dancer finished second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness – losing the former by a nose to Tomy Lee – and won the Belmont Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Travers, Woodward, and Jockey Club Gold Cup en route to multiple year-end honors, including Horse of the Year. In 39 career starts, Sword Dancer competed only three times on grass, with his best finishes a second in the 1960 United Nations Handicap and a third in his final start, the Man o’ War at Belmont the same year. A 1 ½-mile turf race since 1980, the Sword Dancer moved from Belmont Park to Saratoga in 1992. From 1994-2003, it was run as an invitational handicap.

$150,000 Amsterdam (G2)

Shancelot wins the 2019 Amsterdam

$300,000 Forego presented by America’s Best Racing (G1)

Mitole wins the 2019 Forego

$100,000 Saranac (G3)

Global Access wins the 2019 Saranac

$500,000 Sword Dancer (G1)

Annals of Time wins the 2019 Sword Dancer Stakes


$125,000 Shuvee (G3)

Golden Award wins the 2019 Shuvee Stakes

Watching and Playing

Saratoga Live will present daily television coverage of the 40-day summer meet on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. For the complete Saratoga Live broadcast schedule, and additional programming information, visit

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the 40-day summer meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, NYRA Bets is currently offering a $200 new member bonus in addition to a host of special weekly offers. The NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

Saratoga Sunday Contests

Test your handicapping expertise in the next edition of the Saratoga Sunday Contest on August 30! Contests are run online and are exclusively for NYRA Bets members. Sign up today to play in the August 23 contest and earn up to a $200 deposit bonus with your first qualifying deposit.

Name a Race at Saratoga

Be a part of history and name a race at Saratoga! You’ll receive a commemorative frame, 8×10 photo of the winning horse and jockey and 5 copies of the Post Parade program showing your race. Call 844-NYRA-TIX or email to reserve your named race.

For more info



Annals of Time (#7) with Javier Castellano up passes Sadler’s Joy to win the 2019 Sword Dancer G1. Credit: Skip Dickstein

Contributing Authors

MariBeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Past the Wire

Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

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@PastTheWire @jonathanstettin if you ever want to share HOW you consistently pick winners that win by 6, and still get 7/2, let me know!

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