June 22, 2015

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Saratoga Race Course kicks off its 147th season in just over four weeks, and the 40-day meet will include 69 stakes worth a record $18.7 million in purses.

Racing begins July 24 and runs through Labor Day with Tuesdays dark.

A pair of graded stakes races highlight opening day, the Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies and the Lake George for 3-year-old turf fillies, and as usual the Travers Stakes on Aug. 29 will take center stage.

The 146th running of the $1.25 million Midsummer Derby is the centerpiece of a day that also includes the Sword Dancer, Personal Ensign, Forego, Ballerina and King's Bishop stakes races.

New York racing officials say by including the Sword Dancer and raising the purse to $1 million they hope to attract international interest in that race.

The $1.25 million Whitney Handicap anchors five stakes on Aug. 8, and the traditional local prep for the Travers, the $600,000 Jim Dandy, will be held Aug. 1.

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