Twenty-three and us. The Saratoga Special enters its 23rd season as the can’t-miss racing newspaper at Saratoga Race Course this summer with a 20-edition publishing calendar starting on Opening Day, July 13.
From there, The Special will be published on Saturdays and Wednesdays through the eight-week racing season with a six-day run of consecutive editions during Sales Week Aug. 4-9. Fasig-Tipton hosts its select yearling sale Aug. 7 and 8, with the New York-bred yearling sale Aug. 13 and 14. Other highlights include cards showcasing the best Thoroughbred racing in North America, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and some of the country’s most important stakes races in every division.
“We’re excited to return for another season at Saratoga,” said The Special’s Joe Clancy, co-founder of the newspaper and its parent company ST Publishing, Inc., with his brother Sean. “The racing always delivers and so does the setting, whether you’re out for morning training, at the track in the afternoon, around town or off hiking the Adirondacks.”
In addition to the Clancys, The Special team will include managing editor and Saratoga native Tom Law, photographers Tod Marks and Dave Harmon, staff writer Paul Halloran, staff writer/columnist Terry Hill, a cast of expert handicappers led by perennial meet leader John Shapazian and others.
Since its founding in 2001, The Special has offered opportunities to future contributors to the racing industry via summer editorial “internships” for writers, editors, designers and others interested in careers in racing or the media. Past participants include CNN’s Katie Bo Lillis, ESPN’s Quint Kessenich, Churchill Downs track announcer Travis Stone, TVG’s Gabby Gaudet, NYRA communications staffers Mary Eddy and Ryan Martin and others. In recognition of this track record, The Special recently received an internship grant from the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters to assist with additional positions and/or intern housing/travel expenses.
“The staff will be busy creating original content you can’t necessarily find anywhere else,” said Law. “We bring Saratoga to life for readers all summer.”
With an estimated readership of 5,000, each edition will be available in print at the track and around Saratoga Springs. Each edition is available online and distributed via thisishorseracing.com and to an email list of more than 5,000. Last year, 20 editions were downloaded and linked to more than 45,000 times. Between publications, handicapping for each racing day and abbreviated racing coverage items are posted on the website.
“Nobody covers Saratoga the way we do,” said Sean Clancy, who writes a column in every edition. “We hear from readers all the time who choose The Special every day we print. That never gets old, and it’s a privilege to bring Saratoga to them.”
Key dates to remember:
- July 13: Opening Day.
- July 15: First Saturday, headlined by the Grade 1 Diana for turf distaffers, 2-year-olds in the Sanford and turf milers in the Kelso.
- July 29: The Grade 2 Jim Dandy, the key local prep for the Grade 1 Travers Stakes for 3-year-olds four weeks later.
- August 4: Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the start of The Special’s busiest time – Sales Week. Who’s going in this year?
- August 5: Whitney Saturday. In addition to the meet’s most important race for older horses on the dirt, the day includes the Grade 1 Test for 3-year-old fillies, the Saratoga Derby for 3-year-old turfers, the Lure and the Troy.
- August 7-8: Sales nights. Be there in person, and be sure to read – and advertise in – The Special at its busiest, best time.
- August 19: Alabama Day. Three-year-old fillies shine in the historic Grade 1 going 1 1/4 miles.
- August 26: Travers Day. You ready for this? Not only will the nation’s top 3-year-old’s clash in the meet’s showcase race – run for the 154th time – but the card offers something for everyone including the Forego, Allen Jerkens, Sword Dancer and Ballerina (all Grade 1 stakes).
- September 2: Closing Saturday. The meet’s final Saturday showcases older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, plus the Flower Bowl, Prioress and the newly named Harvey Pack. May the horse be with you.
- September 4: Labor Day. The final racing day is always bittersweet as Saratoga ushers in autumn, spotlights 2-year-olds in the historic Hopeful and says goodbye to yet another racing season at the August place to be.
And that’s not the half of it. The racing calendar overflows with important races for steeplechasers, New York-breds, 2-year-old sprinters, turf marathoners and every other division.
Read by owners, trainers, jockeys, buyers, sellers, leaders, bettors, insiders and fans of all things Thoroughbred, The Special is distributed free thanks to advertisers in racing and beyond. See the full advertising rates and publishing calendar at the link below, but do not hesitate to contact a staff member with questions.