This week at Saratoga: July 27

The first “week” of Saratoga Race Course ends today, but even on dark days, there’s plenty to do in Saratoga. Highlights this week include a focus on taking care of disabled jockeys; the return of WMHT’s terrific documentary on the history of Saratoga Race Course; and one of the few graded stakes races that will be run on a weekday this year.

Have an event you’d like publicized? E-mail me— preference given to racing, historical, and non-profits events. No commercial events, though feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk about advertising.

Want to look beyond the this week? Click here for listings throughout the summer.

Hope you had a terrific first week, and here’s to week two!

Ongoing throughout the summer

Tours of the Oklahoma training facility. Offered by reservation every day except Tuesday by the National Museum of Racing. Tours begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Museum parking lot and reservations are required—weekend reservations are required by 4 p.m. the previous Thursday.

No tours are offered on August 7 or Travers weekend, August 29-30.  No children in backpacks or strollers, and tour participants must be at least 10 years old.

Sturdy walking shoes are suggested, and the cost is $5 for Museum members, $10 for non-members, which includes admission to the Museum after the tour.

For reservations or more information, call the Museum’s Education Department at 518 584 0400 ext. 120 or e-mail nmredu2@racingmuseum.net.

At Saratoga Race Course

Mondays: Family Mondays, with activities for children including face painting, crafts, a bounce house, etc. and a weekly low roller handicapping contest.

Wednesdays: Heritage days with traditional crafts, food, dancing, and music

Thursdays:  Taste NY wine, cider, and spirit tastings

Fridays:  Taste NY craft beer tastings

Saturdays:  Fashion Saturdays

Sundays: Taste NY food and artisan vendors and low-roller handicapping contests

(details on these days included in weekly listings as they become available)

Every race day: Join race caller Larry Collmus in his booth for the third race to support Backstretch Employees Service Team. Up to six people can participate each day for $100 per person, with all proceeds going to support BEST’s work with backstretch workers.

Every race day: Take a free 45-minute tour of the backstretch. No reservations are accepted; tram tours begin at 7:30 am and depart every 15 minutes until approximately 9 am. Tours leave from the Wright St. entrance to the track, near the clubhouse. No tours on Travers Day or Labor Day.

Monday, July 27

Fabulous Fillies Luncheon to benefit The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation and Shelters of Saratoga. This event at the Hall of Springs will feature a silent auction beginning at 11:30 am and a luncheon at 1 pm, followed by a fashion show.

Tickets are $150 per person; those interested are asked to respond by today (July 20). For more information, contact Nancy Kelly at 518 226 0609 or nkelly@jockeyclub.com. (If you’re reading this after the 20th and interested in going, no harm in calling to see if space is still available.)

The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation offers financial relief and assistance to grooms, hot walkers, night watchmen, jockeys and exercise riders, as well as office personnel and farm and training center workers. The organization has helped these individuals with medical, hospital and rehabilitation bills, mortgage payments, rent, utilities, food, prescription medications, therapeutic equipment, voice-recognition computers for quadriplegics, wheelchair accessible vans, and funeral costs.  (Click here for a 2013 article I wrote on the organization.)

Shelters of Saratoga Inc. (SOS) strives to ensure that those in the greater Saratoga region who are homeless or at risk of homelessness have safe, affordable and secure places to live, evolving from a space in St. Clement’s Church basement, to a mobile home for eight homeless men, to its current emergency shelter location at 14 Walworth Street in Saratoga Springs. Since August 2012, through the conversion of a neighboring facility, SOS has the capacity to temporarily house 32 homeless adult men and women.

At the track, the feature is the $100,000 Lucky Coin for four-year-olds and up (5 1/2 furlongs, turf), along with a low roller handicapping contest (see Sunday’s listing for details), and Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties will be at the Community Outreach booth, near the jockeys’ silks room.

Family Monday in the Saratoga Pavilion from 11 am to 4 pm offers a variety of activities for children, including the opportunity to pet a retired Thoroughbred.

Each Monday, schools and PTAs have an opportunity to fundraise for their operations, wth both The New York Racing Association and sponsor Berkshire Bank offering matching grants. This week’s featured organization is the Skano Elementary School, part of the Shenendehowa Central Schools District in Clifton Park.

Hay, Oats, and Spaghetti Dinner to raise money for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at Bravo Restaurant, 3256 Route 9 in Saratoga, a short drive south from downtown.

This is the site of the old Joe Collins—or Jack Dillon’s, if you’re not an old-timer—which was recently taken over by the folks at Mama Mia’s, so you know the spaghetti will be good.  Click for tickets.

The Track at Saratoga: America’s Grandest Race Course, a public television documentary made in 2013 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Thoroughbred racing in Saratoga, will be shown on WMHT, Albany public television at 7:30 pm. The film features Allan Carter, the historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; Paul Roberts, author of The Spa: Saratoga’s Legendary TrackSamantha Bosshart, executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, and yours truly. It also includes appearances by Tom Durkin, Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, and Nick Zito.

And if you love Saratoga Race Course, you should watch it. It’s really good.

Wednesday, July 29

College Day at the track. Students who pre-register will get free admission to the track; students can also register in the Saratoga Pavilion at 11 am to win one of the $1,000 scholarships that will be awarded after each race.

The Pavilion will also be the site of activities for the students including a wrecking ball inflatable, giant jenga game and speed pitch baseball, amongst other items. Prize packages will be awarded to activity winners.

Pre-registered students who share the event on Facebook will be entered to win one of three FitBit Flexes.

The feature is the $200,000 Grade II Honorable Miss for fillies and mares three-years-old and up (six furlongs, dirt).

In the NYRA Community Booth near the jockeys’ silks room: United Way of the Capital Region.

Thursday, July 30

The feature at the track is the $100,000 John Morrissey for New York-breds three years old and up (6 1/2 furlongs, dirt), named for the man responsible for the first Thoroughbred meeting in Saratoga in 1863.

The first of the weekly Taste NY wine/cider/spirits tastings in the Saratoga Pavilion at the track. This week: 1911 Cider and Spirits Company; Cider Creek; Harvest Spirits; Helderberg Meadworks; Heron Hill Winery; Hudson Valley Distillers; Kaneb Orchards; Saratoga Courage (Saratoga Pick Six Vodka); Saratoga Winery; SunDog Cider; and Thirsty Owl Saratoga. Noon to 5 pm, with a sampling fee.

In the Community Outreach booth near the jockeys’ silks room: Knights of Columbus Saratoga Council #246.

Pups for Preservation! Join the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation for an hour-long tour of historic North Broadway with your canine friend. Meet at 5 pm on the northwest corner of North Broadway and 4th Street—dog treats and water will be provided.

Reservations are suggested but not required; $5 for SSPF members, $8 for non-members.  Contact Nicole Totaro at 518 587 5030 or ntotaro@saratogapreservation.org to register.

The Track at Saratoga: America’s Grandest Race Course, a public television documentary made in 2013 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Thoroughbred racing in Saratoga, will be shown on WMHT, Albany public television at 10 pm. The film features Allan Carter, the historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; Paul Roberts, author of The Spa: Saratoga’s Legendary TrackSamantha Bosshart, executive director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, and yours truly. It also includes appearances by Tom Durkin, Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, and Nick Zito.

And if you love Saratoga Race Course, you should watch it. It’s really good.

At The Post with Andy Serling returns to the Parting Glass this summer, every Thursday from 8-9 pm. Also broadcast on 104.5 ESPN radio, which can be streamed. (In the event of a conflict with a Yankees game, as is the case this week, At The Post will be broadcast in its entirety after the game and replayed over the weekend.) Past shows are archived as podcasts.

This week’s guests: Stonestreet Farms’ Barbara Banke; photographer Barbara Livingston; trainer Mark Casse.

An Unbridled Affair fundraiser for CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services, honoring Angelo Cordero Jr., Dogwood Stable, and Cot and Anne Campbell. 6:30-11 pm at the Holiday Inn on Broadway; tickets are $125, or $100 for those 35 and under.

CAPTAIN offers a variety of services to at-risk youth and families, including those suffering from youth homelessness, poverty, bullying, hunger, academic failure, and family dysfunction.  Click to learn more about the organization’s work. 

Friday, July 31

The feature at the track is the $100,000 Curlin for three-year-olds (1 1/8 miles, dirt).

The regular Friday Taste NY beer tasting takes place in the Saratoga Pavilion from noon to 5 pm. This week: Saranac and Brooklyn Brewery. Sampling fee applies.

In the Community Outreach booth by the Saratoga Pavilion: Adopt A Soldier.

Saturday, August 1

PDJF Day at the track, with events to support the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Foundation. Events include a jockey autograph session ($5 donation to the PDJF) from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm near the jockeys’ silks room.  A commemorative PDJF magazine will be available with a $10 donation to the non-profit organization.

Following the fifth race, jockeys get off the horses for a foot race on the main track. Your $5 donation gets you the opportunity to place a bet on your favorite jockey for a chance to win either a reserved picnic table or Lower Carousel table on “select dates” this summer (NYRA does not specify what those dates are).

PDJF donation bins will be located throughout the facility, and the PDJF will be in the Community Booth near the jockeys’ silks room.

Feature races: the Grade I $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap for three-year-olds and up (six furlongs, dirt); the $200,000 Grade II Amsterdam for three-year-olds (6 1/2 furlongs, dirt); and the local prep for the Travers Stakes, the $600,000 Grade II Jim Dandy for three-year-olds (1 1/8 miles dirt).

The weekly Fashion Saturday (11 am to 6 pm, Saratoga Pavilion) offers prizes for the best-dressed man and woman, including a trophy presentation for the Fashion Saturday race.  This week’s participating shops are Aggie Mullaney, Lifestyles of Saratoga, The National, Rumors Salon & Spa and Serendipity.

Sunday, August 2

Summer Stroll: Saratoga’s Historic West Side. Join the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation to learn about the Irish and Italian immigrants who helped shape this neighborhood’s history.  Meet at 10:30 am on South Franklin St. at the entrance to the Gideon Putnam Cemetery.

Reservations are suggested but not required; $5 for SSPF members, $8 for non-members.  Contact Nicole Totaro at 518 587 5030 or ntotaro@saratogapreservation.org to register.

At the track, the features are the $200,000 Grade III Shuvee Handicap for fillies and mares three years old and up (1 1/8 miles, dirt) and the $100,000 Caress, for fillies and mares four years old and up (5 1/2 furlongs, turf).

Low Rollers Handicapping Contest for $40 buy-in ($30 going towards live money and $10 to the prize pool). Participants must place live $2 win, place and show wagers on five different horses in five different races. Only Saratoga races are accepted for contest play.  Register on the first floor of the grandstand by the lower Carousel before post time for the day’s fifth race. The tournament will be held each Sunday and Monday of the meet.

Taste NY: Food and Artisans will be in the Saratoga Pavilion from 10:30 am to 5 pm, offering products such as jams, honey, baked goods and hand-crafted soap.

In the Community Outreach booth near the jockeys’ silks room: the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.

Monday, August 3

Saratoga cooler bag giveaway at the track, along with the $100,000 Coronation Cup for three-year-old fillies (5 1/2 furlongs, turf).

Low Rollers Handicapping Contest for $40 buy-in ($30 going towards live money and $10 to the prize pool). Participants must place live $2 win, place and show wagers on five different horses in five different races. Only Saratoga races are accepted for contest play.  Register on the first floor of the grandstand by the lower Carousel before post time for the day’s fifth race. The tournament will be held each Sunday and Monday of the meet.

In the Community Outreach Booth near the jockeys’ silks room: the Watervliet Civic Center.

Family Monday continues this week in the Saratoga Pavilion from 11 am to 4 pm and offers a variety of activities for children, including the opportunity to pet a retired Thoroughbred.

Old Friends at Cabin Creek cocktail party honoring Thoroughbred owner Jack Knowlton for his contributions to racing and his support of Old Friends and “dignified retirement for all racehorses.”

From 6-10 pm at Siro’s, including hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and a live auction. Tickets are $100; contact JoAnn Pepper at 518 698 2377 or cabincreek4@hotmail.com for more information.

Jockey karaoke to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Back for year #5, this is one of the most anticipated events of the summer, with Saratoga’s jockey colony turning out in force for their injured colleagues.

Expected to participate are John Velazquez, Javier Castellano, Junior Alvarado, Joel Rosario, Julien Leparoux, and Taylor Rice, among many others. This year’s judges are Leah Gyarmati, Graham Motion, and Todd Pletcher. Click for video highlights of last year’s event.

VIP tickets are $150, general admission $75. Your VIP ticket gets you priority entrance at 5:30 pm, a buffet dinner with the jockeys, and reserved seating; general admission ticket holders can enter at 7 pm. Performances are scheduled to begin at 7:45.

This 21-and-up only event takes place at Vapor Night Club at Saratoga Casino and Raceway on Jefferson St.  To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, visit the PDJF website or call 630 595 7660.

Planning a visit for later in the summer? Click here for upcoming events.

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