The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the lineup of new and returning attractions, entertainment and events for the 2023 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Highlighted by the 154th edition of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on Aug. 26 and the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on Aug. 5, the 2023 summer meet will open on Thursday, July 13 and continue through Monday, Sept. 4.
Following the four-day opening weekend, racing will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, apart from the final week, when the meet will conclude on Labor Day.
Admission gates will open for live racing at 11 a.m. for all but Travers Day when gates will open at 7 a.m.
With exceptions for Whitney and Travers Days and throughout Closing Weekend, first post time is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
The 2023 summer meet will feature the following events lineup:
Thursday, July 13 to Sunday, July 16
Opening Weekend will feature the traditional opening day graded stakes, the Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies, on Thursday, July 13 and the first Grade 1 of the season, the Diana, on Saturday, July 15. The four-day annual celebration will be highlighted by live musical entertainment and a performance by the Islip Horsemen’s Association Drill Team on Saturday.
TASTE NY PAVILION:
Every Thursday to Sunday, beginning July 13
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, where fans can enjoy New York craft beer, cider, wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate and gelato (must be 21 and over to sample and purchase alcoholic beverages). This year marks a decade since the launch of the Taste NY program. In honor of the anniversary, NYRA will be expanding its offerings to include two dozen featured products, from Long Island to the Adirondacks and the Capital Region to Western New York, as a showcase of the state’s robust food and beverage industry.
SARATOGA BREAKFAST AND BREEDING FARM TOUR, PRESENTED BY CDTA:
Every Wednesday to Friday, beginning July 14
NYRA is expanding its popular Saratoga Breakfast and Breeding Farm program which was first introduced in 2022. This summer, the program will be offered on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays throughout the meet. It will feature two active thoroughbred breeding farms, and accommodate up to 52 guests each day beginning Friday, July 14 and concluding on Friday, 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.
Every Sunday beginning July 16
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:
Every Sunday beginning July 16
Berkshire Bank Family Sundays will feature a wide variety of free family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Sunday inside the Berkshire Bank Family Zone, located near Gate A at the Top of the Stretch. New this year, each week will feature a different theme, including Beach Day, Sci-Fi Day, Carnival Day and Superhero Day.
SARATOGA LOW ROLLER CONTEST:
Every Sunday and Thursday beginning July 16
Horseplayers can enjoy the Saratoga Low Roller Contest held exclusively on-track every Thursday and Sunday at Saratoga Race Course. Fans 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:
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:
Every Sunday beginning July 23
Enjoy your Sunday at the races in the Spa’s newest hospitality venue, the climate-controlled Paddock Suite, learning betting strategies and tips from expert handicappers. Guests will also be treated to a meet-and-greet with Saratoga Race Course’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:
Thursday, July 27
Saratoga Race Course will pay tribute to first responders with free admission (proper ID required). The afternoon will include musical performances by both the New York State Police Pipes & Drums and The New York City Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes & Drums. While each band has performed at Saratoga, the two have never appeared together on the same day. 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:
Saturday, July 29
Joining racetracks across the country, Saratoga Race Course will 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 Race Course, to be announced at a later date.
WHITNEY DAY: Special first post time of 12:35 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 5
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 Race Course 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, courtesy of Moët Hennessy.
GIVEAWAY #2: PERFORMANCE T-SHIRT PRESENTED BY FOX SPORTS:
Friday, Aug. 11
Fans can showcase their enthusiasm for Saratoga Race Course with the second giveaway of the season: a red, performance T-shirt, emblazoned with the Saratoga, NYRA Bets and FOX Sports logos. The 100% polyester moisture-wicking material will help Saratoga devotees stay cool all season long. 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.
Wednesday, Aug. 16
A previous special event will make its return to Saratoga when the attractions of the Adirondacks fill the Taste NY Pavilion. Presented by the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, the afternoon will include interactive exhibits highlighting the seven New York counties that comprise the Adirondacks, supplemented by craft beverage tastings, cheese samples, apples, reenactors, live music and more.
NEW YORK THOROUGHBRED AFTERCARE DAY:
Thursday, Aug. 17
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:
Thursday, Aug. 17
Stewart’s Shops will celebrate its longstanding partnership with Saratoga Race Course by providing free ice cream for horse racing fans, while supplies last. Fans can stop by more than 100 participating Stewart’s Shops locations in the greater Capital Region to purchase their Saratoga Race Course season pass, now through Opening Weekend, or NYRA Bets Gift Cards, which are preloaded with $50 to bet online with NYRA Bets, now through September 3. Season passes are currently available for $75 exclusively at Stewart’s Shops.
GIVEAWAY #3: BUCKET HAT:
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:
Saturday, Aug. 19
Saratoga Race Course 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 meet’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama, presented by Keeneland Sales.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY:
Thursday, Aug. 24
NYRA will pay tribute to active military members and veterans in appreciation of their sacrifice and service to our nation. Saratoga Race Course will host the West Point Parachute Team and Color Guard. All veterans and active-duty military will be honored with a special ceremony in the Winner’s Circle and receive free admission with military ID.
TRAVERS DAY: Gates open at 7 a.m.; Special first post time of 11:40 a.m.
Saturday, Aug. 26
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:
Sunday, Aug. 27
New York-breds take center stage 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:
Friday, Sept. 1
The final giveaway of the season is a red and white polyester Saratoga tote bag, presented by Saratoga Casino Hotel. 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:
Wednesday, Aug. 30 to Monday, Sept. 4
NYRA will thank its fans with special offers on tickets, food and beverage, and hospitality during the final week of the season at Saratoga Race Course.
CLOSING WEEKEND: Special first post time of 12:40 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 4
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.
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 available every live racing day with the exception of Travers Day and Labor Day.
BERKSHIRE BANK FAMILY ZONE:
Fans will enjoy 40 days of the Berkshire Bank Family Zone, an interactive play area for children located near Gate A, which will be supplemented by Berkshire Bank Family Sundays.
PURDY’S SUMMER CONCERT STAGE:
The Purdy’s Summer Concert Stage will host live musical performances each afternoon of the season 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. This year’s summer music stage is presented by Purdy’s Discount Wine & Liquor in Saratoga Springs.
For additional information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.
All events and activities are subject to change at the discretion of NYRA.