Displaying items by tag: NYRA

Thursday, 14 January 2021 14:17

Oklahoma Track Gets A Makeover

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The New York Racing Association this week received approval from the New York State Franchise Oversight Board to proceed with improvements on the Oklahoma Training Track in advance of the anticipated 2021 racing season. 

The Oklahoma project cost is approximately $1 million and follows discussions with Saratoga-based trainers. The upgrades will include a new base, improved drainage, a width expansion of the track where possible, and a plan for new safety railings – which specifically accounts for about $350,000 of that estimated $1 million cost. Members of the Franchise Oversight Board said they are working with Saratoga preservationists related to the width expansion of the track, as the project will likely impact existing pine trees that were planted alongside the track in the mid-1980s. 

The Oklahoma Training Track signals the start of “spring training,” in advance of the summer racing meet at the main track located across the street at Union Avenue. It typically opens in April, although in the pandemic-affected year of 2020, a delayed opening pushed the opening to the first week of June. Last year’s summer meet was held without fans in attendance.   

The training track has not had any significant renovation in 40 years. The project was approved as part of NYRA’s overall capital expense plan during a meeting of the Franchise Oversight Board held via teleconference.  The 50-minute meeting may be heard in its entirety at: www.budget.ny.gov/boards/fob/index.html

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) successfully concluded its 2020 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course without interruption and with all-sources handle topping $700 million for the second consecutive year. 

Highlighted by Tiz the Law's dominant performance in winning the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1 million Runhappy Travers, the meet was conducted without spectators and with only a limited number of essential personnel, horsemen and owners on-site due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All-sources handle for the 2020 summer meet totaled $702,535,468 compared to $705,343,949 wagered from all sources on Saratoga in 2019.

Average daily handle for the 40-day meet was $17,563,387. The 2019 meet, which was run across 39 days due to the cancellation of a full card due to weather, generated average daily handle of $18,085,742.

Pari-mutuel wagering funds the majority of the NYRA purse account, which is awarded to horsemen and, in turn, benefits hundreds of small businesses operating at NYRA tracks and others dependent on the thoroughbred racing industry.

While the 2020 Saratoga meet was a success in many ways, it will most be remembered for the absence of our passionate fans and the irreplaceable energy that they bring to Saratoga each summer. Despite not being able to attend in person, horseplayers watched and wagered with tremendous enthusiasm, and we thank them for their continued support," said NYRA President & CEO Dave O'Rourke. "We would also like to thank city and county leaders for their efforts in working with us to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants, and the Saratoga community for welcoming us without reservation.” 

A total of 409 races were run this summer including 226 on dirt and 183 on the turf. 32 races were taken off the turf due to weather. Average field size over the 409 races was 7.4. This compares to 403 total races run in 2019, including 225 on dirt and 178 on turf. 38 were taken off the turf due to weather. Average field size in 2019 was 7.9.

New York state currently requires all racetracks to operate without spectators in attendance to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Published in Winner's Circle
Thursday, 16 July 2020 12:43

A Cautious Start

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The bugler blows the Call To The Post. If there are no spectators inside the racecourse to hear it, does it make a sound? 

In this unusual summer of a most unusual year, the racing season nonetheless got underway as scheduled on July 16, and is slated to run through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7. This year, a lot will be different. Perhaps the biggest is staging the races – or at least the start of the summer meet - without fans in the stands, in compliance with New York State guidelines. 

Forty-eight hours prior to the start of the Saratoga meet, NYRA officials and members the city’s Public Safety department staged a joint press conference at the racecourse to discuss additional changes for the start of the summer meet. 

“The critical part of this meet is we celebrate racing – but, we celebrate at home. This city cannot have people come to the track and try to watch the races,” said city Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton. 

The city requested and NYRA complied with the installation of  a temporary “privacy fencing” along exterior boundaries of the race course on Union and Nelson Avenues where it is feared fans may congregate on the sidewalk in close quarters to catch glimpses of the action inside. 

“The COVID pandemic has really changed the way we do things – both personally and professionally,” said assistant city Police Chief John Catone, who along with Public Safety Commissioner Dalton, was joined by city Fire Department Battalion Chief Aaron Dyer at the press gathering on July 14.

Catone discussed the importance of having a “fluid safety plan” which can flex as COVID-related restrictions are either increased,  or loosened – in the latter case enabling the potentiality of limited spectator attendance or horse owners at some point during the summer. 

“We were trying to figure every potential scenario: no fans to partial fans to everybody’s going to be back to normal,” said Catone, adding that discussions between city officials and NYRA officials were initiated in April. “The safety and operation plan is very fluid,” Catone said, “and it’s also going to be based on what we see the next week or so, in terms of people who want to show up and try to catch live racing - and we’re going to deal with it accordingly.  We want NYRA to have a successful meet but we also do not want to put ourselves in a position like some other states right now – where they opened too early, they didn’t control the pandemic and their numbers have risen dramatically.” 

There will still be “a few” officers assigned to the track and its surroundings, including an officer with a bomb-sniffing dog, and others to deal with potential traffic and pedestrian issues. 

YOU WANT TO MAKE A BET

In 2019, $2.1 billion was wagered on 2,000 races at Saratoga, Aqueduct and Belmont, according to the New York Racing Association. The Saratoga meet delivered the largest return of gambled money - $147 million wagered at the track, and a $705 million all-source handle – meaning many more dollars were spent on Saratoga races at off-track betting sites across the globe, than were at the actual track. Other 2019 betting dollars: Belmont Spring & Summer – 48 days, $525 million all-source handle; Belmont Fall – 37 days, $275 million; Aqueduct – 25 days Fall, $205 million. 

This year, on July 13, NYRA announced that the Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated $15,466,198 in average daily handle from all sources, a 42 percent increase over the daily handle during 2019 spring/summer meet. And despite running 23 fewer days than in 2019, all sources handle during the spring/summer meet totaled $386,654,955.

Financially, the city of Saratoga Springs is estimated to suffer a $14 to $16 million revenue loss this calendar year, or a quarter of the city’s $48.7 million budget due to the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic. The city receives no money from wagering, said Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan. It normally receives funds via an admission tax; those funds go to Saratoga County and are then shared with the city of Saratoga Springs. However, with no fans in the stands as it looks right now, there will be no paid admissions and subsequently no funds to come the city’s way.    

NEW RULES FOR JOCKEYS

Two days prior to opening day, NYRA announced a number of updated health and safety protocols that includes closing the track to out-of-town jockeys riding at other racetracks, and requiring all personnel working at Saratoga Race Course in any capacity to produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to access the property. That policy is inclusive of jockeys, valets, NYRA employees, trainers and their staff, outside vendors and credentialed media. A NYRA spokesman Tuesday said that a partnership with Saratoga Hospital was secured for a consistent stream of testing. 

The 2020 Saratoga Summer Condition Book currently lists 22 active jockeys and three apprentice riders. This group is to be considered the regular NYRA jockey colony.

Any jockey who rides at a racetrack outside of Saratoga from opening day forward will be considered an out-of-town jockey and will not be permitted at Saratoga Race Course. Out-of-town jockeys not currently riding at another racetrack may be considered for inclusion in the regular NYRA jockey colony provided the jockey does not ride at another racetrack.

In addition to race day safety protocols including standard health screening and temperature check, NYRA says the jockey quarters at Saratoga Race Course have been substantially altered to provide maximum social distancing and reduce density. All areas accessed by jockeys during the regular course of a race day are closed to all outside personnel, including credentialed media, and are cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.

Jockeys and valets are not permitted access to the barn area. In order to work a horse in the morning, the jockey must meet the horse in the paddock and can then proceed to the main track.

 Steeplechase jockeys must produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to access the property and will be completely isolated from the regular NYRA jockey colony in a physically separate location. Following that day’s steeplechase race, which will be carded as race one, the steeplechase jockeys will depart the property.

 NYRA will follow current Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) and New York State Health Department guidance when determining the return of a jockey who has tested positive for COVID-19. This process will include a period of quarantine determined by the severity of the individual case followed by a series of diagnostic tests to rule out ongoing infection. 

Following the four-day opening weekend at Saratoga, live racing will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays.

Published in News

NEW YORK — Tuesday morning, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that the 2020 Kentucky Derby, originally scheduled for May 2, has been postponed and will now be run on Saturday, Sept. 5. 

In response, New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) CEO & President Dave O’Rourke issued the following statement: “NYRA is working closely with all appropriate parties, including media rights holder NBC Sports, to make a determination about the timing of the 2020 Belmont Stakes. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend American life, decisions about large-scale public events must prioritize public health and safety above all else. NYRA will deliver an announcement only when that process has concluded to the satisfaction of state and local health departments. The Belmont Stakes is a New York institution with wide-reaching economic impact. We look forward to its 152nd edition in 2020.”

Since March 12, NYRA has conducted live racing without fan attendance at Aqueduct and through March 17 restated its intention to continue racing behind closed doors. 

The 40-racing days Saratoga Meet is slated to run July 16 - Sept. 7. Spring training at the Oklahoma Training track, located on Union Avenue across from the main racecourse typically begins in mid-April. 

Published in Sports

 SARATOGA SPRINGS – Discussions have been held for several years regarding a third city firehouse/ EMS station – one which would better serve residents of the city’s east side. This week, a tentative agreement was announced, the result of which may see that long-sought goal come to fruition. 

On Oct. 29, the state Franchise Oversight Board reviewed a proposal to allow for the construction of a firehouse on the border of the Oklahoma racetrack. The Board voted “to authorize our permitting agency to engage the city and NYRA to best structure a land utilization that meets the needs of all properties.”

The proposal comes via a city request to use 2.36 acres in the northern portion of the Oklahoma Race Track along Henning Road, across from the Myers BOCES Educational facility. The city advised NYRA that it has the funding secured to promptly construct the facility should approval be granted.

In her Oct. 1, 2019 budget message, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan cited an East Side Fire & EMS station as one of the top city priorities moving forward.

 “When the 2020 Capital Budget was presented several weeks ago, a rough estimate of $6.6 million was allocated toward this project. As we still haven’t legally secured the parcel it is not financially prudent to include the full $6.6 million in the 2020 Comprehensive Budget and in turn pass the related debt costs on to City taxpayers. Still, an East Side Fire & EMS station is a priority, and the 2020 Comprehensive Capital Budget includes $600,000 toward the design of the facility,” Madigan said.

“In practice this means that as soon as the land is available the city can kick off the project. The design work will then provide a timeline and budget for the total project. Should land acquisition and design happen at a more rapid pace, the 2020 Capital Budget will be amended by the City Council so that funding and construction could begin as soon as feasible. Accordingly, the full project remains in the Capital Program. “

Mayor Meg Kelly said she is negotiating a land-use agreement for the parcel and that the potential station will serve “District 3,” including the eastern plateau.

The city currently has two fire stations - one on Lake Avenue just west of Broadway and near the center of the city, and on the other on the west side, near Saratoga Springs High School.

Residents, particularly some of whom live at or near the city’s eastern ridge have vocalized fears about longer response times to emergencies in their neighborhood from either of the two current locations, as opposed to having a third station close-by. 

Most recently, a pair of land transactions that proposed the city sell a parking lot adjacent to Broadway’s Collamer Building and subsequently purchase a Union Avenue parcel to build an East Side Fire/EMS station was declared a dead deal in 2013 after years of lengthy negotiations ended up mired in a lawsuit,  an investigation by the state Attorney General’s office,  and reportedly more than $50,000 in legal costs for the city.

Members of the Franchise Oversight Board reported Tuesday that given the city and racecourse’s similar interests, a fire/EMS station would “interlock nicely to address concerns of the state racing franchise,” and that NYRA “strongly advocates for its creation.”  

The potential location of the station along Henning Road was once used as a “speedway” trotting track - along with the adjacent road Fifth Avenue - and was thus named “Speedway Road” according to city directories in the mid-20th century. Its name was changed to Henning Road in 1958 and was named after Rudolph T. Henning, who reportedly had lived there.

The proposed station is anticipated to measure 10,000 to 15,000 square feet and support one ambulance and one fire apparatus. On-site professional staff will be present 24 hours per day.

“Additionally, the firehouse could be used as a command center and operations post for law enforcement during the Saratoga meet,” the Board advised, cautiously noting the mostly wood structures existing on Saratoga’s nearby backstretch, and citing historically destructive fires that occurred at Northfield Park in 1959, Garden State in 1977, and Arlington Park in 1985. 

According to the Board, any formal transfer of property interests to accommodate this proposed facility will be returned for full franchise oversight board consideration before finalization.

Published in News
Friday, 02 August 2019 12:26

Saratoga: On The Backstretch

SARATOGA SPRINGS – It is sunrise at Saratoga Race Course. On either side of Union Avenue, the work of tending to the horses by members of the backstretch community is already underway.

Here at the barns, many will work through the morning. For some, there is a mid-day break before returning for a few more hours of work in the late afternoon and early evening. Others have second jobs at the main track across the street. They work in food service, as parking attendants, or among the cleaning crews.

It is a routine much like any other year, but in the summer of 2019 the normal rhythm of the week is different. For racing fans, racehorse owners, trainers, managers, and the community of backstretch workers who live temporarily on-site, an adjustment is underway.  

Saratoga as a thoroughbred racing mecca was inaugurated in August 1863 on the north side of Union Avenue as a four-day meet. By the early 1900’s the length of the meet was extended to five weeks, the dates mostly congregated during the month of August. Overall, there were 24 such days in the 1960s as the Northway extended through the Spa City. Three decades later the number of race days incrementally increased: first to 30, then 34, and eventually 36.  For the 2010 season, the New York Racing Association expanded racing days in Saratoga from 36 to 40 racing days – which is where it remains to this day. The racing goes on six days a week. Tuesday had been designated as the “dark” day off.

In February, NYRA announced it was adjusting the racing dates for both the 2019 Belmont Park spring/summer and the Saratoga summer meet. The adjustment was made to accommodate the construction of an arena for the National Hockey League's New York Islanders at Belmont Park. This week, Michael Anderson of the website Fansided, reported that groundbreaking for the arena will get underway after Labor Day, with a completion and opening for the start of the October 2021 hockey season.

The opening of the Saratoga meet, which typically has started July 20 or later, this year began July 11. The number of racing days – 40 – remain the same. To compensate for the extended time in the Spa City a second “dark” day was added, extending Tuesday’s typical off-day to Monday and Tuesday each week.    The changes, at least at this point, appear to be temporary. 

“It’s been a learning experience for us and for the people and for the agencies to learn what are people going to do and where are they going to be,” says Nick Caras. Caras helps coordinate events and activities, among other things, for the backstretch community as programs director of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America’s New York Division.  “But, so far, I haven’t seen one person who doesn’t like the two days off. Not one,” he says.  

Mother Nature has also provided her own kinks. Two weeks into the meet, live racing was shortened  to four races due to heavy rain on July 25, and the entire racing card was cancelled July 20 due to excessive heat.  

The NY Racetrack Chaplaincy assists with the challenges facing the community of backstretch workers and their families, and helps provide resources to address those challenges at all three N.Y. racetracks, providing extensive programs and daily one-on-one meetings and counseling. The backstretch community numbers more than 800 people.

“Right now people are just getting accustomed to the two days off, there’s no norm yet,” Caras says. This is only week two, so people are still testing the waters: what do I do with these extra days? I definitely see a lot of that.” 

Eduardo Roa works in the jockey silks room. He has used the extra day off to take a ride to Cooperstown with three of his friend, as well as make it back home downstate and see his family. “I’ve been coming to Saratoga a long time, maybe 20 years or more,” Roa says. “It’s a very big difference between last year and now. The six days of races (in the past) was a lot. To have two days off, now I can go back home to the Bronx and see the family.”

“We feel more comfortable now with two days off,” says worker Fausto Morrocho, who spent some down time in the backstretch Recreation Hall, flanked by a quartet of pool tables, a foosball game and  ping-pong table. Twenty chairs sit in a semi-circle aimed at a pair of wall-mounted TVs, framed by a two vending machines: one dispenses candy snacks, the other, sodas. A posted sheaf of paper tacked to the wall announces the Monday night soccer tournaments in red hand-written marker.

“I’ve been coming up here 16 years now,” Morrocho says. ”The two days off are nice because we can go back and see our families. My family - my wife and my step-daughter – are back in New York. So, it’s much better. And it helps the riding work with the horses.”

“This week, with the extra day off from the horses, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association paid for a bus for 55 people to go to New York. In the past, with one day off out of those 55, that may have been one person who was able to go back,” Caras says. “They’re able to schedule their day off and go home. So right there that’s a big difference.”

About 70 percent of the Saratoga backstretch population come up to work from the Belmont and Aqueduct areas, says Caras, who has been involved with the Race Track Chaplaincy for several years and previously worked for NYRA for more than a quarter-century. “They’re loving the extra day off. Whether they get to go home, just sleep an additional 10 hours or go shopping. Eight people I know of went over to Brown’s Beachand another group of people went up to Lake George. The biggest difference this year with years past is they’re doing things more – even recreation – with a relaxed frame of mind.”

Backstretch activities include soccer games on Mondays and learning English as a Second Language on Tuesdays and Thursdays – the latter run by Saratoga EOC. John Hendrickson and the late Marylou Whitney helped create backstretch programs that this year run through August. The backstretch calendar depicts trips to the bowling alley and the rodeo, bingo games, a cruise on Lake George and a series of Sunday dinners that range from Italian to Mexican and a night of hot BBQ.

Downstate racing with days off is a different scenario because the majority of the backstretch community people are home, Caras explains. “When you’re at Belmont or Aqueduct you’re home. You have familiar surroundings. You know where you’re going to go to shop, where you do your laundry, you know where the eateries are and when things are open, so the lifestyle and our role in activities is much different at Belmont and Aqueduct than it is here, because that’s home base for 70 percent of the people. And when you’re home base, you’re a lot more self-sufficient. While we still pitch in and create activities, it’s not as necessary,” he says.   

“Our Chaplaincy in New York is located in all three racetracks. As a matter of fact, right now I’m fine- tuning a trip today that’s going to leave Belmont and Aqueduct and go to South Street seaport and they’re going to ride that speedboat called The Beast,” Caras says. “Last week, 55 people from both those racetracks, families and those who work there, went to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. We received some free tickets for that, and the Horsemen paid for the bus. On Thursday, 55 people went to Coney Island and used the beach. Friday night the families gathered, and there were 25 kids at a soccer clinic at Belmont. So, there’s still stuff going on down there, because while Daddy may be up here working, the majority of the families and kids by far are still there.”  

Published in News
Thursday, 25 July 2019 13:33

Week Three Events at Saratoga Race Course

Friday, July 26

CURLIN
Friday will feature the $100,000 Curlin for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs.

TASTE NY: CRAFT BEER & CIDER
Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider will allow guests the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers and ciders produced exclusively by New York State breweries and cideries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

Saturday, July 27

JIM DANDY DAY
A trio of graded stakes headlines one of the most highly anticipated Saturdays on the Saratoga calendar. The traditional local prep for the Travers, the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy presented by NYRA Bets, will be joined by the Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap and the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green.

PDJF AWARENESS DAY
Saratoga Race Course will unite with racetracks across the country with autograph signings and photo opportunities as part of PDJF Day Across America. Riders from the Saratoga jockey colony will sign autographs on the Jockey Silks Room Porch from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. with a suggested donation to PDJF. Fans who donate $5 will receive a commemorative "Riders Up!" poster, while supplies last, and will be entered to win a framed limited edition "150 Years of Racing at Saratoga" print.

FASHION SATURDAYS
Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women’s and men’s fashion apparel from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items. The event will be held each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.

WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON SATURDAYS 
Fans will be invited to enjoy specialty drinks and selections from Woodford Reserve at the Jim Dandy Bar each Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. 

KETEL ONE SATURDAYS
Fans are invited to sample the new Ketel One Botanicals from 3 to 5 p.m. each Saturday outside the entrance to The Stretch. 

Sunday, July 28

AMSTERDAM
Sunday's card will feature the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam for 3-year-olds at six and half furlongs.

FAMILY FUN DAY AT THE RAIL, THE 1863 CLUB
Racing fans of all ages will have the opportunity to experience Saratoga's newest hospitality venue during this family-friendly day at the 1863 Club. Guests will enjoy a kid-friendly buffet and ice cream sundae station within the first-floor banquet space. Activities will include a magician, balloon animal maker and face painting. Tickets are $75 for adults and $45 for kids and are available by calling the NYRA Box Office at 844-NYRA-TIX.

 • BERKSHIRE BANK FAMILY SUNDAYS
The popular kid-oriented weekly event will feature a wide variety of free family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. The theme for this week's event is "Hocus Pocus," featuring magic spell lessons, a giant cauldron and a create-your-own witch hat station. Children are encouraged to wear costumes.

LOW ROLLER CHALLENGE
Every Sunday will include the Low Roller Challenge Handicapping Contest, which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar with early entrants receiving a special NYRA Bets promotional item.

Wednesday, July 31

TASTE NY: FOOD DAY
Taste NY: Food Day welcomes fans to enjoy a lively on-track market of numerous food vendors featuring products made exclusively in New York State, including crackers, granola, preserves, gelato, olive oil and dessert cakes. The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.

NOTE: Dark Days are Monday and Tuesday
Season admission passes may be purchased at NYRA.com/Saratoga and at Stewart’s Shops locations. A season pass provides admission to all 40 days of racing at Saratoga Race Course. The cost for a 2019 Grandstand season pass is $50. A Clubhouse season pass is $75. Season passes do not include reserved seating. For more information visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.

Published in Winner's Circle
Thursday, 18 July 2019 00:00

Week Two Events at Saratoga Race Course

This week begins the tradition of “Breakfast at Saratoga.” The breakfast will take place on The Porch of the Clubhouse at Saratoga Race Course. Breakfast will be held from 7 - 9:30 a.m. daily through Labor Day, September 2, with the exception of Saturday, August 24 -Travers Day. The morning breakfast buffet is $18.50 for adults and $9.25 for kids ages 12 and under. Admission is free during breakfast hours. Admission must be paid to re-enter the track once gates formally open for the day.  After breakfast guest will be able to explore behind the scenes with a bided backstretch tram tour, courtesy of the Capitol District Transportation Authority. Tours will run from 7:30 - 9 a.m. departing the Clubhouse entrance approximately every 15 minutes. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are 45 minutes. Tram tours are not offered on Travers Day. 

Friday, July 19

LAKE GEORGE STAKES
Friday will feature the Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George Stakes one-mile race on the turf.

TASTE NY: CRAFT BEER & CIDER
Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider will allow guests the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers and ciders produced exclusively by New York State breweries and cideries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

Saturday, July 20

COACHING CLUB AMERICAN OAKS
Saturday will be highlighted by the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, during which 3-year-old fillies will take center stage to compete for an upgraded purse of $500,000. The day’s card will also include the $200,000 Caress for 4-year-olds and up on the turf.

MOON LANDING ANNIVERSARY 
Saratoga will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic first moon landing, which occurred on July 20, 1969. Fans are invited to enjoy a variety of lunar-themed activities from the Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady, including displays of meteorites and moon craters, as well as sun observations using a special telescope that allows for viewing of solar flares and spots. All activities will take place adjacent to Horse Sense across from the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

FASHION SATURDAYS
Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women’s and men’s fashion apparel from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items. The event will be held each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.

WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON SATURDAYS 
Fans will be invited to enjoy specialty drinks and selections from Woodford Reserve at the Jim Dandy Bar each Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. 

KETEL ONE SATURDAYS
Fans are invited to sample the new Ketel One Botanicals from 3 to 5 p.m. each Saturday outside the entrance to The Stretch. 

Sunday, July 21

SHUVEE HANDICAP
Sunday’s card will feature the Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at nine furlongs.

BRUNCH AND BUBBLY AT THE RAIL AT THE 1863 CLUB
Fans are invited to enjoy brunch, mimosas and more while experiencing The Rail at the 1863 Club, the first-floor banquet space at the all-new 1863 Club. Tickets are $75. Reservations are available by calling the NYRA Box Office at 844-NYRA-TIX.

 • BERKSHIRE BANK FAMILY SUNDAYS
The popular kid-oriented weekly event will feature a wide variety of free family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. The theme for this week’s event is “Christmas in July,” which will include photos for children with Santa Claus.

LOW ROLLER CHALLENGE
Every Sunday will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Entrants will also have an opportunity to qualify for the Saratoga Challenge on Friday, August 9. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar with early entrants receiving a special NYRA Bets promo item.

Wednesday, July 24

MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY 
Saratoga Race Course will pay tribute to active military members and veterans in appreciation of their sacrifice and service to our nation. Guests can stop by the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion to view exhibits and activities throughout the day and all veterans and active duty military will receive free Grandstand admission with military ID. Veterans from World War II to those currently serving will be recognized prior to several of the day’s races, including a special ceremony in the Winner’s Circle following the third race.

NOTE: Dark Days are Monday and Tuesday
Season admission passes may be purchased at NYRA.com/Saratoga and at Stewart’s Shops locations. A season pass provides admission to all 40 days of racing at Saratoga Race Course. The cost for a 2019 Grandstand season pass is $50. A Clubhouse season pass is $75. Season passes do not include reserved seating. For more information visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.

Published in Winner's Circle

Friday, July 12

MARIANO RIVERA DAY 
NYRA will host National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary NY Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera at Saratoga as part of Opening Weekend festivities. The visit comes one week before Rivera heads to Cooperstown where he will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the first unanimous selection in history. NYRA will honor Rivera with a special ceremony in the Winner’s Circle in recognition of the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader. Secure your spot at NYRA.com/Rivera.

TASTE NY: CRAFT BEER & CIDER
Every Friday beginning July 12
Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider will allow guests the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers and ciders produced exclusively by New York State breweries and cideries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

Saturday, July 13

SARATOGA COUNTY EOC FOOD DRIVE
NYRA will welcome the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) for its annual food and essential goods drive. Fans who donate at least three non-perishable items at the Community Outreach Booth will receive a free Saratoga baseball cap, while supplies last, and will be entered to win tickets to the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers and other great prizes.

FASHION SATURDAYS
Every Saturday beginning July 13
Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women’s and men’s fashion apparel from local retailers such as The Pink Paddock, Miss Scarlett Boutique and The National, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items. The event will be held each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. 

Madison VanDenburg to Perform
The 17-year-old singer from Cohoes,  who thrilled viewers nationwide with her vocal talents on the popular singing competition “American Idol,” will entertain fans at the track. VanDenburg will perform at the Don Julio stage, adjacent to guest services, following the day’s first race at approximately 1:10 p.m. Additional performances will follow throughout the afternoon.

WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON SATURDAYS
Every Saturday beginning July 13
Fans will be invited to enjoy specialty drinks and selections from Woodford Reserve at the Jim Dandy Bar each Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. 

KETEL ONE SATURDAYS
Every Saturday beginning July 13
Fans are invited to sample the new Ketel One Botanicals from 3 to 5 p.m. each Saturday outside the entrance to The Stretch. 

Sunday, July 14

Saratoga Picnic Cooler Giveaway
Fans will enjoy the first giveaway of the 2019 season: a collapsible, red picnic cooler featuring the Saratoga logo emblazoned in white, presented by NYRA Bets. The picnic cooler is free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season pass and season ticket holders are guaranteed a Saratoga premium giveaway on the day of the giveaway so long as they are present at Saratoga Race Course and redeem the giveaway by the designated time.

28th ANNUAL HAT CONTEST PRESENTED BY MOET & CHANDON AND HAT SATIONA! BY DEI
Fans will compete for great prizes in the 28th annual Hat Contest which features three categories: Kreative Kids, Fashionably Saratoga and Uniquely Saratoga. Registration begins at noon under the grandstand with the contests taking place after the second, third and fourth races. 

 • BERKSHIRE BANK FAMILY SUNDAYS
Every Sunday beginning July 14
The popular kid-oriented weekly event will feature a beach theme during Opening Weekend with free activities such as a surf simulator, sand art station and hermit crab racing. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.

Low Roller Challenge
Every Sunday beginning July 14
Every Sunday will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Entrants will also have an opportunity to qualify for the Saratoga Challenge on Friday, August 9. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

Wednesday, July 17

Saratoga Visit Day
Experience the Spa’s best attractions during the first Saratoga Visit Day in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests can learn about the cultural attractions in Saratoga Springs to complement their visit to Saratoga Race Course. Participating organizations and attractions include: Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery; National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; Saratoga Arts District; Saratoga Automobile Museum; Saratoga Performing Arts Center; Saratoga Spa State Park; Saratoga Springs History Museum; and Yaddo Gardens.

NOTE: Dark Days are Monday and Tuesday
Season admission passes may be purchased at NYRA.com/Saratoga and at Stewart’s Shops locations. A season pass provides admission to all 40 days of racing at Saratoga Race Course. The cost for a 2019 Grandstand season pass is $50. A Clubhouse season pass is $75. Season passes do not include reserved seating. For more information visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.

Published in Sports

Thursday, July 11 

OPENING DAY! SEASON PASS HOLDER GIVEAWAY
The 2019 summer meet will kick-off with the traditional Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies. All season pass and season ticket holders in attendance will receive an exclusive giveaway: a white cooling towel featuring the red Saratoga logo. Available while supplies last on a first-come, first-served basis. 

TASTE NY: WINE & SPIRITS
Every Thursday beginning July 11
Taste NY: Wine & Spirits will allow fans the opportunity to sample varietals of wine and spirits from numerous New York State wineries and distilleries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

LOW ROLLER CHALLENGE
Every Thursday and Sunday beginning July 11 & 14 
Thursdays and Sundays will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

DON JULIO THURSDAYS
Every Thursday beginning July 11 
Fans are invited to sample drinks featuring Don Julio tequila each Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m. outside the entrance to The Stretch.

Friday, July 12

MARIANO RIVERA DAY 
NYRA will host National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary NY Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera at Saratoga as part of Opening Weekend festivities. The visit comes one week before Rivera heads to Cooperstown where he will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the first unanimous selection in history. NYRA will honor Rivera with a special ceremony in the Winner’s Circle in recognition of the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader. Secure your spot at NYRA.com/Rivera.

TASTE NY: CRAFT BEER & CIDER
Every Friday beginning July 12
Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider will allow guests the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers and ciders produced exclusively by New York State breweries and cideries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

Saturday, July 13

SARATOGA COUNTY EOC FOOD DRIVE
NYRA will welcome the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) for its annual food and essential goods drive. Fans who donate at least three non-perishable items at the Community Outreach Booth will receive a free Saratoga baseball cap, while supplies last, and will be entered to win tickets to the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers and other great prizes.

FASHION SATURDAYS
Every Saturday beginning July 13
Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women’s and men’s fashion apparel from local retailers such as The Pink Paddock, Miss Scarlett Boutique and The National, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items. The event will be held each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. 

WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON SATURDAYS
Every Saturday beginning July 13
Fans will be invited to enjoy specialty drinks and selections from Woodford Reserve at the Jim Dandy Bar each Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. 

KETEL ONE SATURDAYS
Every Saturday beginning July 13
Fans are invited to sample the new Ketel One Botanicals from 3 to 5 p.m. each Saturday outside the entrance to The Stretch. 

Sunday, July 14

28th ANNUAL HAT CONTEST PRESENTED BY MOET & CHANDON AND HAT SATIONA! BY DEI
Fans will compete for great prizes in the 28th annual Hat Contest which features three categories: Kreative Kids, Fashionably Saratoga and Uniquely Saratoga. Registration begins at noon under the grandstand with the contests taking place after the second, third and fourth races. 

 • BERKSHIRE BANK FAMILY SUNDAYS
Every Sunday beginning July 14
Berkshire Bank Family Sundays will feature a wide variety of free family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.

Season ticket plans, weekly ticket plans, reserved seats, reserved tables in the Miller Lite Picnic Paddock and the Fourstardave Sports Bar, dining and group hospitality are currently on sale and available for purchase at NYRA.com/Saratoga. Season admission passes may be purchased online at NYRA.com/Saratoga and in-person at nearly 150 Stewart’s Shops locations throughout the Capital Region. A season pass provides fans with admission to all 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course. The cost for a 2019 Grandstand season pass is $50. A Clubhouse season pass is $75. Season passes do not include reserved seating.

Following Opening Weekend, racing will be conducted five days a week: Wednesdays - Sundays. 

Published in Winner's Circle
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