Just six more days of racing left, and this afternoon, I head back to Brooklyn for a few days of back-to-school meetings. One of my saddest summer moments is writing about the Saratoga events that I won’t be here for…and noting that our once-long list of things to do here has shrunk.
But still…what a week it was. A Travers dead heat. Allen Jerkens closed out week six with his second win of the meet, both in stakes races, both with fillies. Pletcher and Dominguez continued to roll in their respective standings; in addition to handing out the Travers trophy last Saturday, NYRA could have honored this meet’s leading trainer and jockey.
This week, two Travers canoes will be launched, and seven graded stakes races will be run. Much, much still to look forward to…
Wednesday, August 29
Join trainers Chad Brown and Dominic Galluscio at a luncheon for new owners, beginning at 7:30 a.m. and hosted by former champion jockey Richard Migliore and co-hosted by NYRA Raceday’s Ernie Munick. Past leading owners Michael Dubb, Jack Wolf, and Donald Lucarelli will be on hand to answer questions, along with Tom Gallo, managing partner of Parting Glass Stable.
The registration fee is $100, which includes breakfast and lunch in the luxury suites, a backstretch tour, an official racing program and a giveaway bag. Click here for more registration details.
To honor veterans, NYRA will offer free grandstand admission for all United States active duty military and veterans with military ID; the racing association will also pay tribute to current or former U.S. military employees with a special ceremony in the winner’s circle during the National Anthem at 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, August 23
As they’ve done each Thursday during the meet, jockeys will be present at the track breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. to sign photos and take photographs.
The feature race is the Grade II With Anticipation for 2-year-olds on the turf; my new favorite horse, Notacatbutallama, is entered in his third start at Saratoga.
After the races, the New York Fan Advisory Council will hold a public Q&A session with David Grening of the Daily Racing Form in the Carousel at approximately 6:30 p.m.
The event will provide fans with the opportunity to share ideas on how to continue to attract new fans to racing and improve the sport.
Click to learn more about the Fan Advisory Council.
In the evening, check out Andy Serling and At the Post Live at Hattie’s on Phila Street. Free and open to the public, the program is broadcast on ESPN radio 104.5 in the Capital Region. Linda Rice is expected to be one of the guests.
Friday, August 24
Kick off Labor Day Weekend with a 2:30 post time and the Riskaverse, won in 2009 by Awesome Maria. Gates open at noon.
If you’ve made some money this summer—and even if you haven’t—consider bringing a little extra cash to the track as NYRA will mark the anniversary of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee with a donation and on-track collection efforts to assist ongoing recovery efforts of local communities impacted by the storms. Money will be collected for the Prattsville Relief Fund; Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT) Recovery; Schenectady County Rebuilding Families; and Middleburgh Village Relief Fund.
NYRA will donate $5,000 and donations will be collected at the Clubhouse, Union Avenue and Reserved Seats entrances and will be split evenly among the four community relief organizations.
Family Fun Fridays continue in the backyard playground from noon to 4 p.m. Families will find a bouncy inflatable and the Tiny Tots Tea Room arts and crafts table, along with this week’s featured activity, the return of the FOX 23 karaoke booth, where visitors will have one more chance to sing out the summer season.
All Family Fun Fridays include adult grandstand admission, a Post Parade program, a hot dog and Coca-Cola for $5 with a voucher found on Coca-Cola displays at participating retailers. The voucher can be redeemed at the Reserved Seats Office on Union Avenue on any Friday during the season.
Saturday, August 25
Check out this list of the last eleven winners of the Woodward: Havre de Grace, Quality Road, Rachel Alexandra, Curlin, Lawyer Ron, Premium Tap, Saint Liam, Ghostzapper, Mineshaft, Lido Palace, Lemon Drop Kid. Wow.
In the Forego, Jackson Bend is scheduled to try to repeat last year’s victory. Get Stormy is unlikely to run in the Bernard Baruch, but possible runners are Queen’splatekitten, Lentenor, and Prince Will I Am.
Downtown after the races at the Final Stretch Music Festival, bands will provide free musical entertainment both Saturday and Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday, August 26
The final giveaway of the meet is a red fleece blanket featuring the 2012 Saratoga logo. Free with paid admission while supplies last.
The parade of stakes races continues with the Grade I Spinaway and Grade III Saranac. Past winners of the Spinaway include Grace Hall, Hot Dixie Chick, Irish Smoke, and Ashado. The Saranac was won last year by Brilliant Speed.
Barbecue lovers will find the Times Union Labor Day Weekend Barbecue in the At the Rail tent. For $25, enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salad, dessert and more; he price includes Clubhouse admission and an official “Post Parade” program. Reservations are required; for tickets, please call 1-888-516-NYRA.
Family Fun Fest isn’t limited to Friday this week. Families can enjoy pony rides, caricatures, carnival games, magic shows, jugglers, giant inflatables and the Leaping Lizards and Rocking Reptiles exhibit from The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology in the backyard from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the backyard. All proceeds from games, pony rides and other select activities will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region.
The Final Stretch Music Festival continues downtown; see above for details.
Monday, September 3
The Saratoga 2012 meeting comes to a close with the Grade II Hopeful and Grade III Glens Falls. Is there a more aptly named race for two-year-olds than the Hopeful? This year is its 108th running; the very first Hopeful, in 1904, was won by the filly Tanya. She also won the Spinaway that year and would win the Belmont in 1905.
The history of the Glens Falls isn’t quite as impressive, but one of my favorite Spa moments was when Mushka won it in 2009.
The Times Union Labor Day Weekend Barbecue and Family Fun Fest continue from yesterday; see above for details.
And if still on your “to-do” list is hanging in the booth with Tom Durkin during a race, this week is your last chance. Each day, up to six racing fans can join NYRA’s race caller for the third race. Donations of $100 per person go to Backstretch Employees Service Team. For reservations, call 518-587-3720.