The show has raised over $3 million in the past decade alone, all of which goes directly to the Skidmore College scholarship fund to finance awards.
This year, the show is one of the first in the country to take part in the Take2 program, which helps retired Thoroughbred horses find a second career in the show ring.
‘The whole concept is that it encourages people to get retired race horses and train them so they have a longer career and a purpose,” said the show’s spokesperson, Ali Sirota.
Take2 is a collaborative effort between the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association (NYTHA) to offer prize money for hunter and jumper classes restricted to registered Thoroughbreds. The Skidmore Classic joins New Jersey’s Garden State Classic as the first two events to carry a Thoroughbred class for competition.
“The Take 2 initiative has been extraordinary for us,” said the event’s executive director, Adele Einhorn. “I was approached last summer about getting involved. When I started talking to people about it, I didn’t realize how many professionals out there love these Thoroughbreds and were excited to maybe be a part of this. I want to dive right in and really give this my all.”
Einhorn was surprised at the immediate interest people had in the Take2 initiative, and welcomed ten Thoroughbred horses to the show grounds this year alone.
“I would hope in the next couple years we’re going to see it grow to even more than what we’ve done here,” added Einhorn.
The Skidmore Classic has deep roots within Saratoga, with the first show dating all the way back to 1927, when it was held on the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course.
“It was, at the time, the start off to the summer season here in Saratoga,” said Einhorn. “They called it the May Day Celebration.”
While promoting the show, the organizers have not been shy about touting what Saratoga Springs has to offer visitors, and not just the ones competing in the show.
“One of the great appeals about this horse show is Saratoga Springs. It’s really important to offer more than just the horse show because there are other family members who will be there,” said Sirota.
Though the focus is on the horses and riders competing, the show’s location in Saratoga Springs adds just a little something extra to an already special event.
“There are the museums as well as all the great shows at SPAC while we’re in here in town. There’s just so much going on,” said Einhorn. “What’s not to love about Saratoga?”