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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

150 Years of Thoroughbred Racing in Saratoga

By | Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Next year marks the 150th anniversary of Thoroughbred racing, and in true Saratoga-fashion, the party-planning has already begun!

 To throw a worthy celebration with all the Saratoga flash and flare, a simple one-day bash wouldn’t do. A week-long carnival fell short of expectations. A month dedicated to the anniversary? Child’s play. Instead, the Saratoga 150 event committee has outdone themselves and planned a five-month-long party.

 Five months of fun, events, food and horses!

 The festivities will begin in May 2013 and run through September, and will offer more than 100 events for area residents and visitors to the region.

 The celebration’s opening event, now in the preliminary planning stage, is scheduled for Sunday, May 26, 2013, at SPAC. The kickoff event will include music; an old-fashioned picnic supper; dance groups; storytellers; stilt walkers and clowns; and a variety of family activities and contests. The evening will end with a Saratoga 150 fireworks display.

The first race was held August 3, 1863, and to commemorate that race, during the week of the anniversary Saratoga Race Course will celebrate by hosting a Bettors Ball. Dance bands will offer music spanning from the 1940s all the way to the 1980s. Admission to the ball will cost $5 and will benefit backstretch workers.

 Throughout the anniversary celebration, area museums will be educating museum-goers on the history and influence of the race track. The National Museum of Racing and the Saratoga Springs History Museum will each showcase exhibits commemorating the 150-year anniversary. The racing museum will highlight the horses themselves, as well as the farms they came from, while the history museum will focus on the people- the founding players, the racing fans and their unique roles in the city’s history. Additionally, the New York State Military Museum, the Tang Teaching Museum, the Brookside Museum and the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls will also be participating.

 To keep residents engaged and interested in the long year of waiting ahead, Saratoga 150 has modified their website to include new, interactive features. The site is now home to a number of informational segments, and a place to share individual memories, or “Your Stories.” The public can even assist with memorabilia collecting through the website and during a special collection event to be announced at a later date.

 The site also contains a timeline of the past 150 years, showcasing more than 350 race course and Saratoga Springs highlights, photos, videos and an up-to-date calendar of the anniversary celebration’s events.

Starting next week, special event Saratoga 150 “Friends” lapel pins and benefits will be offered through the website and the $15 “Show” medallions may be purchased at all Adirondack Trust Co. banking locations. The medallions’ three categories, “Win,” “Place” and “Show,” offer participants different levels of event participation.

Those who purchase a “Win” medallion are entered into a contest to attend each of the Triple Crown events, with hotel accommodations and airfare for two. Additionally, the “Win” category will provide medallion-holders with two commemorative crimson and gold lapel medallions; two admissions to the track on specified dates; two double-sided static window/door promotional decals; two admissions to the Bettors Ball; two official poster-art T-shirts; one official polo shirt; a listing in the official program; and two-for-one admission to Saratoga museums. The Win category price will be $150 initially and will increase to $200 later this summer. “Place” category medallions are priced at $50 and “Show” lapel pins are $15.

 If you would like to do more than just purchasing your medallion, there are sponsorship and event-hosting opportunities still available. Businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individuals requesting information on sponsorships, event hosting or general information should contact Saratoga 150 through the website, www.Saratoga150.com.        

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