This Week at Saratoga, August 26

Happy Travers week! The biggest week of the summer got even bigger when Zayat Stables announced on Sunday that American Pharoah would be coming to the Mid-Summer Derby to try to become only the second horse in history to win the Triple Crown and the Travers Stakes. Will he join Whirlaway, who did it in 1941?

The Travers is sold out, but there are plenty of other events to keep you busy this week, and at the bottom of the post, you’ll find a list of weekly events.

Coming to town next week? You’ll find a preview of next week’s events at the bottom of this page.

Have an event you’d like publicized? E-mail me about your non-profit racing or historical event; no commercial events, though feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk about advertising.

Wednesday, August 26

The mid-week feature is the $100,000 John’s Call for three-year-olds and up (1 5/8 miles, turf).

In the NYRA Community Outreach Booth near the jockeys’ silks room:  Racing City Chorus

Saratoga Season Pass and Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day: All Saratoga season pass and season-long reserved seat ticket holders will receive a 15 percent discount at the NYRA Store each Wednesday of the meet. 

Racing for the Children to benefit the Belmont Child Care Association, which offers low-cost child care and early education to the children of NYRA’s backstretch workers. A casual, low-key, fun event that is one of the best parties of the summer (OK, I’m biased because I’m on the board, but it’s also true), it will feature a live and silent auction, trainer and jockey auction spotters, Todd Pletcher as the auctioneer and NYRA’s Andy Serling as the host.

The event begins at 6:30 in the Hall of Springs and tickets are $250 ($150 tax deductible). For more information, contact Joanne Adams at 516 488 2103 or jadams@belmontchildcare.org.

Thursday, August 27

Travers preview at the National Museum of Racing with handicappers and racing analysts Tom Amello and Michael “The Wizard” Kipness.  Free with paid Museum admission, the event begins at 11 a.m. and will includes analysis of Saratoga’s Mid-Summer Derby, a Q&A about the Travers specifically and racing and handicapping generally, and Travers trivia, with prizes.

The feature races: the $150,000 Grade I New York Turf Writers Cup (steeplechase) for four-year-olds and up (2 3/8 miles, turf) and the $100,000 Riskaverse for three-year-old fillies (one mile, turf).

Funny Cide returns to Saratoga. Winner of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the New York-bred will appear in the paddock from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

In the Community Outreach Booth near the jockeys’ silks room: Saratoga WarHorse. Fans will receive a Funny Cide poster, courtesy of Funny Cide’s owners’ Sackatoga Stable, in return for a minimum suggested donation.

The weekly Taste NY wine/cider/spirits tastings in the Saratoga Pavilion continue. Noon to 5 pm, with a sampling fee.

Saratoga Season Pass and Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day: All Saratoga season pass and season-long reserved seat ticket holders will receive a 10 percent discount at Shake Shack each Thursday of the meet. 

Talkin’ Travers with Richard Migliore, David Grening, Karen M. Johnson and Tim Wilkin at 7 p.m. at the Saratoga Springs Public Library. Free and open to the public.

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: Eddie Olczyk and Dale Romans.

This week’s event will be partnered with a benefit concert, “Nashville Comes to the Races” featured Matt Warren and Brice Long, along Saratogian Margaret Valentine and special guests as a fundraiser for The Giving Circle. The concert will begin at 9 a.m. and the evening will feature an auction and raffle of sports memorabilia, a box on the finish line for Saturday’s sold-out Travers Stakes, and four Legends Club Seats at Yankee Stadium.

The musicians are donating their time and At The Post Live-Serling on Saratoga is underwriting all of the artist travel and production expenses so that 100% of the admission donations, auction and raffle proceeds will go directly to the charity.

Admission is a $25 donation that will include a concert ticket and a raffle entry for one of the two grand prizes. To buy or reserve your tickets, contact: marina@movesmgmt.com.

The Giving Circle (www.thegivingcircle.org) is a non-profit organization founded in 2005 with the mission to seek out communities in need and connect them with those with the resources to help; initially founded in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the organization has since expanded its efforts, working locally with the underserved in Saratoga County.

The Travers Celebration, the official party of the Travers, to support of the Backstretch Employee Service Team, Saratoga WarHorse and the Times Union Hope Fund. As always, the honorees are the connections of last year’s Travers winner; this year, that’s owner Magalen O. Bryant, trainer Jimmy Jerkens, and jockey Javier Castellano, the connections of V.E. Day.

Held at Saratoga National Golf Course, the event will feature cocktails, a formal seated dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. The event starts at 7 pm; cocktail attire is suggested and tickets are $375. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact events@nyrainc.com or call 718-659-3547.

Friday, August 28

Morning works for Travers runners. The main track will be reserved for horses entered in the Travers from 8:45 – 9 a.m., giving fans without tickets to Saturday’s race the chance to see Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. As is true every day except the Travers, gates open at 7 a.m. and admission is free, as is parking if you remove your car by 10 a.m., shortly after which time the grounds will be cleared. A $17.95 breakfast buffet will be available, as well as selected concessions throughout the track.

Brunch at Old Friends at Cabin Creek with 1996 Travers winner Will’s Way and special guest Funny Cide. Chefs Jean and John Travis will provide brunch and a silent auction, including a Funny Cide halter, will be held to raise money for the farm’s retirees. 10 a.m. to noon, with a suggested donation of $10.

Free ice cream for kids at Dairy Haus, in partnership with Donegal Racing, owner of Travers contender Keen Ice. Children 12 and under will get green and yellow-swirled cones with green and yellow sprinkles to reflect the colors of Donegal’s silks. 476 Maple Avenue, while supplies last.

Saratoga Walk of Fame Induction and Red Jacket Ceremony: This year’s honorees are owners and breeders Ogden Mills Phipps of Phipps and Marylou Whitney. The ceremony begins at 12:15 p.m. in the winner’s circle.

It’s Saratoga Showcase Day, with six races for New York-breds: the $250,000 Albany for three-year-olds (1 1/8 miles, dirt); the $200,000 Fleet Indian for three-year-old fillies ( 1/18 miles dirt); the $200,000 Funny Cide for two-year-olds (6 1/2 furlongs, dirt); the $200,000 Seeking the Ante for two-year-old fillies (6 1/2 furlongs, dirt); the $150,000 Yaddo for fillies and mares three years old and up (1 1/6 miles, turf); and the  $150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank for three-year-olds and up (1 1/6 miles, turf).

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.

Advanced wagering on the Travers day card is available on track.

Food and toiletries drive in the Community Outreach Booth near the jockeys’ silk room for the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council. Donate three items (food should be canned or non-perishable) and receive a free Funny Cide commemorative poster. Suggested donation items include shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, pasta, peanut butter, cereal, rice, soup and canned vegetables.

Saratoga Season Pass and Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day: All Saratoga season pass and season-long reserved seat ticket holders will receive a 10 percent discount at participating vendors in the Artist’s Village each Friday of the meet. 

Saturday, August 29

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 11 a.m. 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.

Free ice cream for kids at Dairy Haus, in partnership with Donegal Racing, owner of Travers contender Keen Ice. Children 12 and under will get green and yellow-swirled cones with green and yellow sprinkles to reflect the colors of Donegal’s silks. 476 Maple Avenue, while supplies last.

 

Travers Day!  And a slate of seven stakes races:  the $1 million Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational for three-year-olds and up (1 1/2 miles turf); the $500,000 Grade I Ballerina for fillies and mares three-years-old and up (seven furlongs, dirt); the $400,000 Grade I Ballston Spa for fillies and mares three years old and up (1 1/6 miles, turf); the Grade I $700,000 Forego for three-year-olds and up (seven furlongs, dirt); the $750,000 Grade I Personal Ensign Invitational for fillies and mares three-years-old and up (1 1/8 miles, dirt); the $500,000 Grade I King’s Bishop for three-year-olds (seven furlongs, dirt); and the $1.25 million Grade I Travers Stakes for three-year-olds (1 1/4 miles, dirt).

The Travers is sold out and customers must have a ticket to enter the grounds. 

In the Community Outreach Booth near the jockeys’ silks room: Backstretch Employees Service Team (BEST) and Racetrack Chaplaincy of America, both of which provide a variety of service to New York’s backstretch community.

Fashion Saturdays continue, with prizes for the best dressed man and woman, including participation in a trophy presentation for the Fashion Saturday race. Participating shops on-track include Bumble Beads Boutique, Good Shot Design, Lifestyles of Saratoga, The National and Rumors Salon & Spa. Lifestyles will donate a portion of its sales to Backstretch Employees Service Team (BEST).

Sunday, August 30

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 9 a.m. 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.

Summer Stroll: Post Time! Join the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation to explore the area of Saratoga Race Course along Union Avenue, featuring the Reading Room, the National Museum of Racing, the Oklahoma training facility, and the Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion at Fasig-Tipton.

Meet at 10:30 am at the southwest corner of Nelson and Union Avenues. 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.

Fan forum hosted by the New York Racing Fan Advisory Council in the Upper Carousel from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free and open to the public. The featured presenter will be Tom Durkin.

The Sunday feature at the track is the $100,000 Smart N Fancy for fillies and mares three 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.

In the Community Outreach Booth near the jockeys’ silks room: The Giving Circle

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.

Monday, August 31

The Monday feature is the $100,000 Better Talk Now for three-year-olds (one mile, 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.

Saratoga Season Pass and Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day: All Saratoga season pass and season-long reserved seat ticket holders will receive a 15 percent discount at select concession stands each Monday of the meet. More info here.

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.

Tuesday, September 1

New York State Gaming Commission Aftercare Summit, 10 a.m. at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion on the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds. Topics are expected to include the history and status of aftercare programs by New York Thoroughbred HOrsemen; accredited organizations; Standardbred aftercare; approaches to aftercare at racetracks. Click for a list of scheduled participants. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, September 2

Veterans Day at the track, along with the $200,000 Grade II With Anticipation for two-year-olds (1 1/16 miles, turf).

Saratoga Season Pass and Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day: All Saratoga season pass and season-long reserved seat ticket holders will receive a 15 percent discount at the NYRA Store each Wednesday of the meet. The discount is available to season pass holders who present their season pass and to season ticket holders who show their new season ticket holder perks card at participating on-track locations. Season ticket holders may pick up their new perks card at the NYRA Box Office at Saratoga Race Course.

 

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.

Tours of Old Friends at Cabin Creek: the Bobby Frankel division, the Thoroughbred retirement farm a short drive from Saratoga. Visit equine luminaries Will’s Way (Whitney and Travers winner), New York’s own beloved Be Bullish, and the lovable loser Zippy Chippy. The farm is open for tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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.

All Saratoga season pass and season-long reserved seat ticket holders will receive a 15 percent discount at select concession stands each Monday of the meet. More info here.

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.

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

Saratoga Season Pass and Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day: All Saratoga season pass and season-long reserved seat ticket holders will receive a 15 percent discount at the NYRA Store each Wednesday of the meet. The discount is available to season pass holders who present their season pass and to season ticket holders who show their new season ticket holder perks card at participating on-track locations. Season ticket holders may pick up their new perks card at the NYRA Box Office at Saratoga Race Course. 

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 Friday or Saturday of Travers weekend (August 28 and 29) or Labor Day.

Coming to town next week? You’ll find a preview of next week’s events at the bottom of this page.

 

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