Woodward Stakes

The Woodward Stakes is an American Grade I stakes race and is one of the premier races for older thoroughbred horses in the United States. Named for prominent racehorse owner, William Woodward, in 2020 it will be run at 1 14 miles (2,000 m) on the dirt for a purse of $500,000.[1]

Woodward Stakes
Grade I race
LocationSaratoga Race Course
Saratoga Springs, New York, United States
Race typeThoroughbred - Flat racing
Race information
Distance1 14 miles (10 furlongs)
QualificationThree-year-olds and up

The race was first run in 1954 at Aqueduct Racetrack and then at Belmont Park in late September. In 2006, the Woodward was moved to Saratoga Race Course for its 53rd running and is now run on the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend.

The Woodward was run as a handicap in 1954, 1955, and in 1976 and 1977. From 1957 through 1975 it was a weight-for-age event, and was run as an allowance stakes from 1977 through 1987. The race returned to being a handicap event in 1988, 1989, and 1990 then reverted to a weight-for-age race in 1991. In 2014, it was changed to allowance weights, meaning horses that do not meet certain conditions carry less weight.[2]


This race is to honor the memory of Belair Stud's William Woodward, Sr., a dedicated horseman, who was chairman of the Jockey Club from 1930 to 1950.

Since its inception, the Woodward Stakes has been run at a variety of distances:

  • 1 mile - 1954
  • 1 18 miles - 1955, 1976–1977, 1981–1987, 1990 to present
  • 1 14 miles - 1956-1971, 1978–1980, 1988–1989
  • 1 12 miles - 1972-1975

Notable MomentsEdit

The Woodward has long been one of America's most prestigious stakes races on the East Coast, along with the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Both races currently serve as major preps for the Breeders' Cup Classic. The Woodward has been won by many horses who were subsequently named the American Horse of the Year and twenty winners of the race were eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame: Sword Dancer, Kelso, Gun Bow, Buckpasser, Damascus, Arts and Letters, Forego, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Slew o’ Gold, Precisionist, Alysheba, Easy Goer, Holy Bull, Cigar, Skip Away, Ghostzapper, Curlin and Rachel Alexandra.[3]

Kelso, the only five-time Horse of the Year in American history, won three consecutive renewals of the race between 1961 and 1963. In the 1964 renewal, he faced the talented Gun Bow, who had already beaten Kelso once that year. The two battled the entire length of the stretch and were separated at the wire by less than an inch: Gun Bow won by the bob of his head.[4]

In 1973, Secretariat lost the Woodward to Prove Out, who set a stakes record for the then-current distance of ​1 12 miles. The next year, Forego began a four-year win streak. Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed also won the race during the 1970s.

In 2009 at age three, Rachel Alexandra became the first female to win the Woodward. It was also her first race against older males. Only one other 3-year-old filly had ever run in the Woodward: Summer Guest in 1972. She finished second to Key to the Mint before being disqualified and placed third. In 2011 Havre De Grace, a 4 year old filly, became the 2nd female to win the Woodward.


Speed record:

  • 1:45.80 for ​1 18 miles - Forego (1976) and Dispersal (1990)
  • 1:59.40 for ​1 14 miles - Alysheba (1988)
  • 2:25.80 for ​1 12 miles - Prove Out (1973)

Most wins:

  • 4 - Forego (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977)

Most wins by an owner:

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Wins by a filly or mare:

Winners of the Woodward StakesEdit

2019 Preservationist 6 Junior Alvarado Jimmy Jerkens Centennial Farms 1:48.11
2018 Yoshida 4 Joel Rosario William I. Mott WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, SF Racing, Head of Plains Partners 1:48.94
2017 Gun Runner 4 Florent Geroux Steve Asmussen Three Chimneys Farm and Winchell Thoroughbreds 1:47.43
2016 Shaman Ghost 4 Javier Castellano Jimmy Jerkens Stronach Stables 1:48.92
2015 Liam's Map 4 Javier Castellano Todd A. Pletcher Teresa Viola Racing Stables 1:47.44
2014 Itsmyluckyday 4 Paco Lopez Edward Plesa, Jr. Trilogy Stable/L. Plesa 1:48.84
2013 Alpha 4 John Velazquez Kiaran McLaughlin Godolphin Stables 1:49.28
2012 To Honor and Serve 4 John Velazquez William I. Mott Live Oak Plantation 1:48.56
2011 Havre de Grace 4 Ramon A. Dominguez J. Larry Jones Rick Porter 1:49.18
2010 Quality Road 4 John Velazquez Todd Pletcher Edward P. Evans 1:50.00
2009 Rachel Alexandra 3 Calvin Borel Steve Asmussen Stonestreet Stables 1:48.29
2008 Curlin 4 Robby Albarado Steve Asmussen Stonestreet Stables 1:49.34
2007 Lawyer Ron 4 John Velazquez Todd Pletcher Hines Racing LLC 1:48.60
2006 Premium Tap 4 Kent Desormeaux John C. Kimmel Kline, Alevizos, Whelihan 1:50.65
2005 Saint Liam 5 Jerry D. Bailey Richard E. Dutrow, Jr. William K. Warren, Jr. 1:49.07
2004 Ghostzapper 4 Javier Castellano Robert J. Frankel Stronach Stables 1:46.20
2003 Mineshaft 4 Robby Albarado Neil J. Howard Farish, Elkins, Webber 1:46.20
2002 Lido Palace 5 Jorge F. Chavez Robert J. Frankel Amerman Racing Stable 1:47.60
2001 Lido Palace 4 Jerry D. Bailey Robert J. Frankel John W. Amerman 1:47.40
2000 Lemon Drop Kid 4 Edgar Prado Scotty Schulhofer Jeanne G. Vance 1:50.40
1999 River Keen 7 Chris Antley Bob Baffert Hugo Reynolds 1:46.80
1998 Skip Away 5 Jerry D. Bailey Sonny Hine Carolyn H. Hine 1:47.80
1997 Formal Gold 4 Kent Desormeaux William W. Perry John D. Murphy 1:47.40
1996 Cigar 6 Jerry D. Bailey William I. Mott Allen E. Paulson 1:47.00
1995 Cigar 5 Jerry D. Bailey William I. Mott Allen E. Paulson 1:47.00
1994 Holy Bull 3 Mike E. Smith Warren A. Croll, Jr. Warren A. Croll, Jr. 1:46.80
1993 Bertrando 4 Gary Stevens Robert J. Frankel Edward Nahem / 505 Farms 1:47.00
1992 Sultry Song 4 Jerry D. Bailey Patrick J. Kelly Live Oak Plantation Racing 1:47.00
1991 In Excess 4 Gary Stevens Bruce L. Jackson Jack J. Munari 1:46.20
1990 Dispersal 4 Chris Antley Grover G. Delp Tom Meyerhoff 1:45.80
1989 Easy Goer 3 Pat Day Shug McGaughey Ogden Phipps 2:01.00
1988 Alysheba 4 Chris McCarron Jack Van Berg Dorothy Scharbauer 1:59.40
1987 Polish Navy 3 Randy Romero Shug McGaughey Ogden Phipps 1:47.00
1986 Precisionist 5 Chris McCarron L. Ross Fenstermaker Fred W. Hooper 1:46.00
1985 Track Barron 4 Angel Cordero, Jr. LeRoy Jolley Peter M. Brant 1:46.60
1984 Slew o' Gold 4 Angel Cordero, Jr. John O. Hertler Equusequity Stable 1:47.80
1983 Slew o' Gold 3 Angel Cordero, Jr. Sidney Watters, Jr. Equusequity Stable 1:46.60
1982 Island Whirl 4 Angel Cordero, Jr. D. Wayne Lukas Elcee-H Stable 1:46.80
1981 Pleasant Colony 3 Angel Cordero, Jr. John P. Campo Buckland Farm 1:47.20
1980 Spectacular Bid 4 Bill Shoemaker Grover G. Delp Hawksworth Farm 2:02.40
1979 Affirmed 4 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Lazaro S. Barrera Harbor View Farm 2:01.60
1978 Seattle Slew 4 Angel Cordero, Jr. Douglas Peterson Tayhill Stable 2:00.00
1977 Forego 7 Bill Shoemaker Frank Y. Whiteley, Jr. Lazy F Ranch 1:48.00
1976 Forego 6 Bill Shoemaker Frank Y. Whiteley, Jr. Lazy F Ranch 1:45.80
1975 Forego 5 Heliodoro Gustines Sherrill W. Ward Lazy F Ranch 2:27.20
1974 Forego 4 Heliodoro Gustines Sherrill W. Ward Lazy F Ranch 2:27.40
1973 Prove Out 4 Jorge Velasquez H. Allen Jerkens Hobeau Farm 2:25.80
1972 Key To The Mint 3 Braulio Baeza J. Elliott Burch Rokeby Stable 2:28.40
1971 West Coast Scout 3 John L. Rotz Mervin Marks Oxford Stable 2:00.40
1970 Personality 3 Eddie Belmonte John W. Jacobs Ethel D. Jacobs 2:01.80
1969 Arts and Letters 3 Braulio Baeza J. Elliott Burch Rokeby Stable 2:01.00
1968 Mr. Right 5 Heliodoro Gustines Evan S. Jackson Cheray Duchin 2:03.00
1967 Damascus 3 Bill Shoemaker Frank Y. Whiteley, Jr. Edith W. Bancroft 2:00.60
1966 Buckpasser 3 Braulio Baeza Edward A. Neloy Ogden Phipps 2:02.80
1965 Roman Brother 4 Braulio Baeza Burley Parke Harbor View Farm 2:01.80
1964 Gun Bow 4 Walter Blum Edward A. Neloy Gedney Farm 2:02.40
1963 Kelso 6 Ismael Valenzuela Carl Hanford Bohemia Stable 2:00.80
1962 Kelso 5 Ismael Valenzuela Carl Hanford Bohemia Stable 2:03.20
1961 Kelso 4 Eddie Arcaro Carl Hanford Bohemia Stable 2:00.00
1960 Sword Dancer 4 Eddie Arcaro J. Elliott Burch Brookmeade Stable 2:01.20
1959 Sword Dancer 3 Eddie Arcaro J. Elliott Burch Brookmeade Stable 2:04.40
1958 Clem 4 Bill Shoemaker William W. Stephens Adele L. Rand 2:01.00
1957 Dedicate 5 Bill Hartack G. Carey Winfrey Jan Burke 2:01.00
1956 Mister Gus 5 Ismael Valenzuela Charlie Whittingham Gustave Ring 2:03.00
1955 Traffic Judge 3 Eddie Arcaro Woody Stephens Clifford Mooers 1:48.20
1954 Pet Bully 6 Bill Hartack Tommy Kelly Ada L. Rice 1:35.60
  • A ‡ designates that this is a filly or mare that won the race.
  • Cougar II finished first, but was disqualified and placed third.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Woodward Stakes Profile". www.equibase.com. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Woodward result leaves some players jaded, raises weighty issues". www.twinspires.com. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  3. ^ "William Woodward, Sr.: A true sportsman". Troy Record. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Kelso: Five Time Horse of the Year". www.spiletta.com. Retrieved 6 September 2016.

External linksEdit