SARATOGA SPRINGS — New York Racing Association (NYRA) on Tuesday announced the lineup of attractions, entertainment and events for the upcoming summer meet at the Saratoga Race Course, set to begin July 13.
This year’s meet will be highlighted by the 96th running of the Whitney on Aug. 5 and 154th running of the Travers on Aug. 26. Following the four-day opening weekend, racing will take place five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, apart from the final week, when the meet ends on Labor Day, Sept. 4.
Gates will open at 11 a.m., except on Travers Day, when the gates will open at 7 a.m. The first post time will be 1:10 p.m., with exceptions being Whitney and Travers days, and throughout closing weekend.
Here is a breakdown on what to expect once racing begins this year. For more information, visit: NYRA.com/Saratoga.
Season-long daily events and activities include:
BREAKFAST AT SARATOGA, DRIVEN BY CDTA
Breakfast at Saratoga welcomes guests to enjoy a morning buffet at The Porch with a view of the thoroughbreds training on the main track. Breakfast is available every live racing day from 7 to 9:30 a.m., excluding Travers Day and Labor Day.
Fans can also go behind the scenes with a free, guided backstretch tram tour, driven by CDTA. Tram tours run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and depart from the clubhouse entrance approximately every 15 minutes. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are 45 minutes in length. Tours are also available every live racing day with the exception of Travers Day and Labor Day.
PURDY’S SUMMER CONCERT STAGE
The Purdy’s Summer Concert Stage will host live music each afternoon from popular local and regional bands, including The Garland Nelson Trio, The Hawthornes, ILL Funk, The Lustre Kings and Donna Tritico Band, among many others.
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When: Thursday, July 13 to Sunday, July 16
What to expect: Opening weekend will feature the traditional opening day graded stakes, the Schuylerville, on July 13 and the first Grade 1 of the season, the Diana, on July 15. The four-day celebration will feature live music and a performance by the Islip Horsemen’s Association Drill Team on Saturday.
TASTE NY PAVILION
When: Every Thursday to Sunday, beginning July 13
What to expect: New York-made food and beverages will be available for sample and purchase at the Taste NY Pavilion, located inside Gate A at the Top of the Stretch. Fans can expect to find craft beer, cider, wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate and gelato made throughout the state, from Long Island to the Adirondacks.
SARATOGA BREAKFAST AND BREEDING FARM TOUR, PRESENTED BY CDTA
When: Every Wednesday to Friday, beginning July 14
What to expect: NYRA is expanding its popular Saratoga Breakfast and Breeding Farm program which was first introduced last year. This summer will feature two active thoroughbred breeding farms, and accommodate up to 52 guests each day beginning July 14 and concluding on Sept. 1.
Fans will enjoy a buffet breakfast during morning training at Saratoga Race Course before boarding a CDTA trolley to Song Hill Thoroughbreds on Wednesdays or Old Tavern Farm on Thursdays and Fridays, where they will participate in a 60- to 90-minute guided walking tour. Admission to the races in the afternoon is included in the package. Tickets, which are $85 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, must be reserved in advance at NYRA.com. Inventory is limited.
SUNDAY BRUNCH AT THE RAIL OF THE 1863 CLUB
When: Every Sunday beginning July 16
What to expect: Fans are invited to enjoy a brunch buffet while experiencing The Rail at the 1863 Club, the first-floor banquet space at the 1863 Club. Tickets start at $100 and include admission, a table seat for the day, brunch buffet, soft drinks, two mimosa or Bloody Mary drink tickets per person, Post Parade program book, tax and gratuity. Reservations are available by calling the NYRA Box Office at 844-NYRA-TIX or online at Ticketmaster.com.
BERKSHIRE BANK FAMILY SUNDAYS
When: Every Sunday beginning July 16
What to expect: The free weekly event will feature a variety of family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities inside the Berkshire Bank Family Zone, located near Gate A at the Top of the Stretch. Each week will feature a different theme, including Beach Day, Sci-Fi Day, Carnival Day and Superhero Day.
SARATOGA LOW ROLLER CONTEST
When: Every Sunday and Thursday beginning July 16
What to expect: Horseplayers can pre-register on contest days outside the Miller Time Fourstardave Sports Bar. There is a $40 buy-in, of which $30 will go to the player’s bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. The winner will receive a Saratoga Low Roller championship T-shirt in addition to the cash prize.
GIVEAWAY #1: COOLER JUG PRESENTED BY NYRA BETS
When: Friday, July 21
The first giveaway of the season is a Saratoga-branded, 64-ounce, red and white cooler jug, presented by NYRA Bets. The premium giveaway is free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season ticket and season-pass holders are not guaranteed a giveaway. Fans must present a coupon at designated locations on track to redeem the item.
HANDICAPPING SEMINAR AND MEET-AND-GREET
When: Every Sunday beginning July 23
What to expect: Guests can learn betting strategies and tips from expert handicappers at the Paddock Suite. Those who attend will also be treated to a meet-and-greet with Saratoga’s new track announcer, Frank Mirahmadi, along with a rotating cast of on-track talent, personalities and VIPs. Tickets can be purchased through Fevo.
FIRST RESPONDERS DAY
When: Thursday, July 27
What to expect: First responders will receive free admission with the proper ID. The afternoon will also feature musical performances by both the New York State Police Pipes & Drums and the New York City Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes & Drums. Activities will also include demonstrations by several first responder agencies, fire truck and vintage police car displays and more.
PERMANENTLY DISABLED JOCKEYS’ FUND AWARENESS DAY
When: Saturday, July 29
What to expect: Saratoga will join racetracks across the country to host autograph signings and photo opportunities at the Jockey Silks Porch as part of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund (PDJF) Day Across America. Suggested donations will benefit the PDJF. Fans will also have an opportunity to enjoy a first-of-its-kind activity at Saratoga, to be announced at a later date.
WHITNEY DAY (Special 12:35 p.m. first post time)
When: Saturday, Aug. 5
What to expect: One of Saratoga’s most celebrated days of the season will culminate in the 96th renewal of the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Whitney Day will also feature the Grade 1, $500,000 Test and Grade 1, $600,000 Saratoga Derby Invitational.
Saratoga will honor local breast cancer survivors while supporting To Life!, a Capital Region nonprofit organization which provides personalized breast cancer education and support services. Complimentary samples of Chandon Garden Spritz will also be available to all fans 21 and older, with valid ID, while supplies last.
GIVEAWAY #2: PERFORMANCE T-SHIRT PRESENTED BY FOX SPORTS
When: Friday, Aug. 11
The second giveaway of the season will be a red, performance T-shirt, emblazoned with the Saratoga, NYRA Bets and FOX Sports logos made from 100% polyester, moisture-wicking material. The premium giveaway is free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season-ticket and season-pass holders are not guaranteed a giveaway. Fans must present a coupon at designated locations on track to redeem the item.
When: Wednesday, Aug. 16
What to expect: The afternoon will include interactive exhibits highlighting the seven New York counties that comprise the Adirondacks, supplemented by craft beverage tastings, cheese samples, apples, re-enactors, live music and more.
NEW YORK THOROUGHBRED AFTERCARE DAY
When: Thursday, Aug. 17
What to expect: NYRA will partner with the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) and New York Thoroughbred Breeders (NYTB) in hosting the third annual New York Thoroughbred Aftercare Day. The day will pay tribute to an array of organizations involved in finding new homes and careers for retired racehorses. The featured race will be the Rick Violette Stakes, named for the late NYTHA president who was a founding member of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).
STEWART’S SHOPS DAY AT THE RACES
When: Thursday, Aug. 17
What to expect: Stewart’s Shops will provide free ice cream to fans, while supplies last. Fans can stop by more than 100 participating Stewart’s locations in the Greater Capital Region to purchase their Saratoga season pass, now through opening weekend, or NYRA Bets gift cards, which are preloaded with $50 to bet online with NYRA Bets, now through Sept. 3. Season passes are currently available for $75 exclusively at Stewart’s.
GIVEAWAY #3: BUCKET HAT
When: Friday, Aug. 18
The third giveaway of the season is a 100% cotton, white bucket hat featuring the traditional red Saratoga logo. The premium giveaway is free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season-ticket and season-pass holders are not guaranteed a giveaway. Fans must present a coupon at designated locations on track to redeem the item.
LUSTGARTEN FOUNDATION DAY
When: Saturday, Aug. 19
What to expect: Saratoga will honor the legacy of longtime NYRA trainer Dominic Galluscio with a day to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance scientific and medical research related to pancreatic cancer. Many of the sport’s most popular trainers will sign autographs for fans with suggested donations to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation in Galluscio’s memory.
Lustgarten Day also coincides with the Alabama stakes, the meet’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, presented by Keeneland Sales.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY
When: Thursday, Aug. 24
What to expect: All veterans and active-duty military will receive free admission with military ID and will be honored with a special ceremony in the Winner’s Circle. Saratoga will host the West Point Parachute Team and Color Guard.
TRAVERS DAY (Gates open at 7 a.m.; Special 11:40 a.m. first post time)
When: Saturday, Aug. 26
What to expect: The 154th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers is the centerpiece of a blockbuster card that will include the Grade 1, $750,000 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer; the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina Handicap; and the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial.
NEW YORK SHOWCASE DAY
When: Sunday, Aug. 27
What to expect: New York-breds take centerstage in a day featuring six stakes worth a combined $1.25 million and headlined by the $250,000 Albany. Also featured are five $200,000 stakes including the Fleet Indian; the West Point Handicap presented by Trustco Bank; the Yaddo Handicap; the Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital; and the Seeking the Ante.
GIVEAWAY #4: TOTE BAG PRESENTED BY SARATOGA CASINO HOTEL
When: Friday, Sept. 1
The final giveaway of the season is a red and white polyester Saratoga tote bag. The premium giveaway is free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season-ticket and season-pass holders are not guaranteed a giveaway. Fans must present a coupon at designated locations on track to redeem the item.
FAN APPRECIATION WEEK
When: Wednesday, Aug. 30 to Monday, Sept. 4
What to expect: NYRA will thank its fans with special offers on tickets, food and beverage, and hospitality during the final week of the Saratoga meet.
CLOSING WEEKEND (Special 12:40 p.m. first post time)
When: Saturday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 4
What to expect: Closing weekend will feature a pair of Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” events on Saturday, Sept. 2, led by the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup for an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 2023 summer meet will come to a close on Labor Day with the traditional final feature race, the Grade 1, $300,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds, which affords racing fans a preview of potential standouts in next year’s Triple Crown series and Travers.