The following piece appeared at www.nationalsteeplechase.com in late June and focused on upcoming races at Saratoga, Monmouth and Colonial Downs.
National Steeplechase Association racing shifts to the pari-mutuel tracks this month with a visit to Monmouth Park on June 21 and continues through Labor Day with racing programs at Parx Racing, Saratoga Race Course, and Colonial Down in Virginia.
In all, the 15 racing dates encompass 22 scheduled races and will offer $1,165,000 in purses to NSA horsemen.
The Colonial Downs dates, new with the reopening of the New Kent race course in August, will spotlight jump racing with 10 races on the meet’s five Saturday programs.
The summer begins at the New Jersey Shore at beautiful, historic Monmouth Park, which has been revitalized with the addition of sports gaming. The Friday afternoon program will feature a $30,000 maiden hurdle and a $35,000 ratings handicap for horses ranked at 125 or lower.
Horsemen getting ready for Saratoga’s jump race will have an opportunity at Parx Racing on Monday, July 1, in a $25,000 allowance flat race for hurdlers. In the past, this race has been split when the entry box overflows.
Saratoga, the epicenter of Thoroughbred racing each summer, will open earlier this year to accommodate construction adjacent to Belmont Park on Long Island. The first steeplechase race at the Saratoga Springs, N.Y., landmark will be a $65,000 allowance hurdle on Wednesday, July 17.
The following week will feature two stakes races. The $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes will be run on Wednesday, July 24, and the $150,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) will be the following afternoon.
Jump racing will be in the Saratoga spotlight each Wednesday in August, with the Mrs. Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares on Aug. 7 and the Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes on Aug. 21. The next afternoon will feature Saratoga’s signature steeplechase race, the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1).
Colonial Downs, awakening from a six-year slumber, will offer 15 racing dates in August and September, with racing on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays as well as a Labor Day program on Monday, Sept. 2. The steeplechase action begins on Saturday, Aug. 10, with a $30,000 maiden hurdle and a $25,000 ratings handicap hurdle.
Two races each Saturday will offer a variety of conditions and will conclude with the $50,000 Randolph D. Rouse Stakes for fillies and mares on Sept. 7, which is closing day for the 2019 season. Steeplechase racing will complement the Aug. 31 card, which will feature the Virginia Derby and the Virginia Oaks.
Colonial Downs will have a 5 p.m. first post time with the exception of Labor Day, when the first race will go off at 1 p.m.