Wilson Chute Makes A Saratoga Comeback

Jockeys take the Wilson Chute for a test run. Photo: Erica Miller/Daily Gazette. Used with permission.

On Tuesday morning at around 10:15 a.m., the main track at Saratoga Race Course had closed for training, and the tractors were out to groom the surface. 

Pretty much business as usual.

Except for the half-dozen jockeys, in street clothes and safety vests, hanging around the track’s first turn, ready to ride horses whose names they didn’t know over a portion of the track that didn’t exist until a few months ago.

One of the most discussed elements of Saratoga 2022 is the new(ish) Wilson Chute. It juts out at a 90-degree(ish) angle, just beyond the 1863 Club, extending northward from the main dirt surface.

Eliminated in 1972, the original Wilson Chute had been added to the race course in the early 20th century to enable one-mile races to be run on the nine-furlong main track. Without the chute, one-mile dirt races would have to start on the turn, giving those with an inside post a distinct advantage.

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