This Week at Saratoga 2014: Week 3

Aside from a lightning-struck tree and a couple of deluge-filled days, we’ve been blessed with perfect weather so far (please tell me I didn’t just jinx it?) and treated to some terrific racing. After last weekend’s stakes race, Jimmy Jerkens finds himself with two possible Travers Contenders, as his V.E. Day took the Curlin and Wicked Strong won the Jim Dandy.

We’ve got jockey-horsemen basketball, yearling sales, and a pretty impressive historic milestone to look forward in week 3. Good luck, have fun, and cash some tickets!

Wednesday,  July 30

At the track…

Early post time of 12:25; first race is a steeplechase.

Today’s stakes: The $100,000 Coronation Cup, 5 1/2 furlong on the turf for three-year-old fillies.

Meet a pony: An “on-track stable” is located inside the main Union Avenue entrance every day from noon to 3 pm.

Italian-American Day:  11-5 in the Saratoga Pavilion located inside the Reserved Seats Box Office entrance. The day will feature tarantella and Italian folk dancers, pasta-making demonstrations, opera and Italian stands; classic Italian cars, and traditional Italian food, including aranciata and cannoli.

But the highlight of the day has got to be the 2pm bocce ball throwdown between trainer Gary Contessa and Anthony Bonomo of Brooklyn Boyz Stables, 2 pm near the Saratoga Pavilion.

Next week: Irish-American Day.

Thursday, July 31

At the track…

Early post time of 12:25; first race is a steeplechase.

Today’s stakes races: The $100,000, Grade I A.P. Smithwick Memorial (steeplechase), 2 1/16 miles on the turf for four-year-olds and up, and the $100,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, three-year-olds and up.

Rosie Napravnik signs autographs for Olivia’s Herd at 12:30 at the NYRA charity booth near the jockeys’ room.

The day’s fifth race will named “Olivia’s Herd” in honor of Olivia Saylor, the late daughter of racehorse owner and breeder, whose Ashado will be inducted in the Hall of Fame next week.

Olivia’s Herd Fund was created by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in 2011 to care of horses that are most in need of special care or feeding because of age or other physical conditions. Saylor is a long-time supporter of the TRF.

The TRF will give away commemorative gifts to anyone who signs up for information about Olivia’s Herd at the NYRA Charity Booth (behind the jockeys’ room) from 11 am to 4 pm.

Meet a pony: An “on-track stable” is located inside the main Union Avenue entrance every day from noon to 3 pm.

Taste NY: Wine & Cheese: Indulge in samples from various New York State wineries from noon to 4 p.m. in the Saratoga Pavilion–10 tastings for $15 and 20 for $30. This week’s event will feature Heron Hill Winery, Thirsty Owl Saratoga, Swedish Hill Winery, The Saratoga Winery, Lakeland Winery, Thousand Island Winery, Miles Wine Cellar, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards.

Elsewhere…

Jockey-horsemen basketball game to benefit the Racetrack Chaplaincy of New York. This annual event is a highlight of the Saratoga season, tons of fun for a great cause. The Chaplaincy provides support, counseling, and material goods to backstretch workers, and New York’s jockeys and horsemen literally put their bodies on the line to help.

Expected to participate are Mark Hennig, Rick Schosberg, Todd Pletcher, Jeremiah Englehart, Rajiv Maragh, WinStar’s Elliot Walden, and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Terry Finley, among many others.

Admission is free at the Saratoga Recreation Center, 15 Vanderbilt Avenue. Tip-off 7 pm, and half-time raffles will be held to raise money for the Chaplaincy.

The Track at Saratoga: America’s Grandest Racecourse, last year’s documentary on 150 years of racing in Saratoga, airs on WMHT at 8 pm.

 

Friday, August 1

At the track…

Stakes races:  The $100,000 Smirnoff Sorbet Caress, 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares three and up.

Meet a pony: An “on-track stable” is located inside the main Union Avenue entrance every day from noon to 3 pm.

Taste NY Craft Beer and Cider tasting (every Friday through the meet). Taste beverages produced by as many as a dozen New York State breweries.  Tastings will be held from noon to 4 pm in the Saratoga Pavilion, located inside the entrance to the Reserved Seats Box Office on Union Avenue. Admission is $20 and includes 20 sampling tickets.

Elsewhere…

Local premiere of 50 to 1, the story of Mine That Bird at the Bow Tie Cinema in downtown Saratoga at 19 Railroad Place. National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame get a 25% discount on tickets throughout the movie’s run.  For info and show times, check the cinema’s website or call 518 306 4205.

 

Saturday, August 2

At the track…

150 years ago, the first race was run at Saratoga Race Course. The inaugural Travers Stakes, it was won by William Travers’ Kentucky, who would win another race three days later.

Today’s stakes races: The $1.5 million, Grade I Whitney Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt for three-year-olds and up; the $350,000, Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at six furlongs on the dirt for three-year-olds and up; the $500,000 Grade I Test at seven furlongs on the dirt for three-year-old fillies; the $100,000 De La Rose at a mile on the turf for fillies and mares four and up; and the $100,000 Lure at 1 1/6 miles on the turf for four-year-olds and up.

Meet a pony: An “on-track stable” is located inside the main Union Avenue entrance every day from noon to 3 pm.

Day 1 of the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing, including the “Best Turned-Out Horse” award, which recognizes the hard work of backstretch workers with a special prize for the groom of the best-turned-out horse participating in the De La Rose. The award will be presented to the winning groom in the winner’s circle prior to the race.

Lord & Taylor Fashion Saturdays (every Saturday through the meet). A Lord & Taylor pop-up shop in the Saratoga Pavilion will be open from 10:30 am to 6 pm.  Two people each week will be named Most Fashionable at Saratoga and win a $250 Lord & Taylor gift card and the chance to present a trophy in the winner’s circle during the meet.

 

Sunday, August 3

 At the track…

Today’s stakes race: The $100,000 Waya for fillies and mares three and up, 1 1/2 miles on the turf.

Day 2 of the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing. Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Javier Castellano will sign autographs to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for children’s cancer research from 11 a.m. to noon at the Jockeys’ Silks Room porch. One item per guest will be signed. Guests who make a voluntary donation to benefit children’s cancer research will receive an autographed hat, poster or T-short donated by Princess of Sylmar, with all proceeds going to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Family-friendly scavenger hunt. Check out the customer service booth under the grandstand for details; the winning team will receive a Fasig-Tipton at Saratoga swag bag.

Meet a pony: An “on-track stable” is located inside the main Union Avenue entrance every day from noon to 3 pm.

A second “Best Turned-Out Horse” award will be presented to the winning groom in the winner’s circle prior to the Waya.

Taste NY Food and Artisans (every Sunday through the meet):  Up to 19 food and artisan vendors set up shop in the Saratoga Pavilion from 10:30 am to 5 pm, featuring products made by New York vendors.

Elsewhere…

Summer Stroll of “The Good Life on North Broadway with the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. Executive director Samantha Bosshart will lead a tour of the grand Queen Anne architecture featuring homes built by Saratoga’s most prominent residents.  Tickets are $5 for Preservation Foundation members and $8 for non-members, payable at the time of the event or online.  Meet at the northwest corner of North Broadway and Van Dam Street.

Bow Ties & Bourbon to benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. An evening of dinner and dancing at the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs to benefit the retired racehorses will feature southern cuisine by chef Jasper Alexander and the team from Hattie’s and live Music by Soul Session. Cocktails at 6:30 PM; dinner and dancing at 8:00; cowboy boots and bow ties encouraged. Single tickets: $150.

The last day to win a chance to propose to your beloved in the winner’s circle. The engagement package will include a free engagement ring, an engagement party at the track, and a race named in the couple’s honor.  You can enter the contest by liking Northeastern Fine Jewelry’s Facebook page and clicking the “sweepstakes” tab for further information.

 

Monday, August 4

At the track…

Today’s stakes races: the New York Stallion Series for horses sired by New York-based stallions. The Cab Calloway and Statue of Liberty Divisions, each worth $100,000, will be run at a mile on the turf for three-year-olds and three-year-old fillies respectively.

Live-money, low roller handicapping tournament. $40 entry fee. $10 goes to the prize pool, with 70% to be awarded to the first-place finisher, 20% to second, and 10% to third; the remaining $30 comprises the entrant’s bankroll. Participants must select five races on which to place live $2 win, place, and show wagers that must be placed on five different horses in five different races. Only Saratoga races will be accepted for contest play.  Sign up on the first floor of the grandstand. This contest will take place every Monday.

Berkshire Bank Family Mondays (every Monday through the meet). Family-friendly activities at the track, including games and educational activities from noon to 4 pm in the Saratoga Pavilion.   This week’s featured activity is the Mad Science interactive exhibit, which includes putty, slime, dry ice, and other hands-on activities for kids and families.

Meet a pony: An “on-track stable” is located inside the main Union Avenue entrance every day from noon to 3 pm.

Elsewhere…

Pedigree & Conformation Clinic held by Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders of America.  Discussions include general theory, such as in-breeding, out-crossing and nicking as well as overall conformational factors. The seminar will identify common conformation faults and the effects of those faults as well as a live conformation workshop with a consignor, agent and trainer. The program begins at 8 am at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion East Avenue. $125 for TOBA members, $175 for non-members.

Night 1 of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale, first held here in 1917. Free and open to the public. Space inside the pavilion is limited, but hang out in the back near the bar and walking ring to see if you can spot the future Grade I winners.  Fasig-Tipton sales grounds on East Avenue, across from the Oklahoma track; the sale begins at 7 pm.

 

Tuesday, August 5th

Night 2 of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale, first held here in 1917. Free and open to the public. Space inside the pavilion is limited, but hang out in the back near the bar and walking ring to see if you can spot the future Grade I winners.  Fasig-Tipton sales grounds on East Avenue, across from the Oklahoma track; the sale begins at 7 pm.

 

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