This Week at Saratoga, 2016: Week of July 25

How about that Diana? Will admit that I was rooting for Recepta (how could I not, after writing about her trainer?), and she sure seemed to run too good to lose…but Dacita got there by that tiny nose. What a way to kick off opening weekend.

And how lucky are we not only to see Songbird last Sunday, but to have her here all summer and get another chance to see her run in the Alabama?

Much to look forward to here in week 2, also, including a bunch of events to support retired racehorses, a slew of book signings (really looking forward to Ellen McHale’s presentation on her book Stable Views), a Saturday filled with graded stakes, and giveaway #2 of the meet.

Scroll down to the bottom for events that happen daily or weekly.

Have an event you’d like publicized? E-mail me— preference given to racing, historical, and non-profit events. Nothing commercial, though feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk about advertising.

And check back here often…events are added and updated almost daily.

It’s noted below, but Sunday, July 31 is your last day to purchase a season pass, which is well worth their price.

Planning a trip for later in the meet? Here are the events for the whole meet, and here’s a guide to Saratoga Race Course, for both new and returning visitors.

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

“This has always been a meeting place for those who love a good horse, and all such consider the season incomplete without a visit of a week or more. The waters benefit man and beast, and animals which are tried and worn out after hard campaigns improve in wonderful fashion.”  Richard Wilson, president of the Saratoga Association for the Improvement of the Breed of Horses, July 1916, New York Times.

 

Week of July 25

Monday, July 25

At the track

Stakes races: $100,000 Lucky Coin, four-year-olds and up, 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt

Fourstardave Sports Bar: Reserve a table and get a free Fourstardave bobblehead.

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get a 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, NYRA merchandise stores, and Shake Shack. (Does not apply to restaurant dining, group sales, or Dunkin’ Donuts) (weekly)

Berkshire Bank Family Mondays, Saratoga Pavilion on the backyard side of the grandstand, near the top of the stretch. Enjoy kid-friendly games and activities and pet a retired Thoroughbred, all free of charge, with one designated activity carrying a suggested donation for a local school or PTA. Today’s beneficiary is the Brown School in Schenectady. (Weekly)

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Albany Police Athletic League

Elsewhere

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s “Hay, Oats & Spaghetti” dinner. Owners Giuseppe and Lauren Grisio are turning over their restaurant Bravo! to this fundraiser for the TRF. Limited reserved seating is available, and ticket prices include beer, wine, and an Italian buffet. Raffle tickets will be sold, and author/historian Michael Veitch will sign copies of his Foundations of Fame: Nineteenth Century Thoroughbred Racing in Saratoga Springs and Summit of Champions: Thoroughbred Racing in Saratoga Springs 1901-1955. Bravo! is at 3246 Rt. 9. 6 – 9pm. Tickets are $75 in advance, $85 at the door. To reserve tickets or for additional information, click the link or call 518 226 0028.

 Tuesday, July 26

 

No racing

Book signing and lunch at Old Friends at Cabin Creek. Join author William Thomas, who will sign copies of The Legend of Zippy Chippy. One of Cabin Creek’s equine retirees, Zippy Chippy famously raced 100 times without ever getting to the winner’s circle. 11 am at the farm, 483 Sand Hill Road in Greenfield Center, a short drive from downtown Saratoga. Suggestion donation: $10

Book signing at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Can’t make it to Old Friends? Author William Thomas will sign copies of The Legend of Zippy Chippy at the Museum from 1 – 3pm. Free; books will be available for purchase.

Horses, History and Handicapping Sponsored by Thorofan. This week’s guest is Matt Muzikar, Saratoga native and agent for the multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano. 7 – 8:30 pm; scroll to the bottom of this for more information.

Wednesday, July 27

At the track

Stakes races: Grade II, $200,000 Honorable Miss, fillies and mares three years old and up, 6 furlongs on the dirt

This week launches the track’s 2016 New York Heritage and Tourism series, which will celebrate a variety of designated groups each Wednesday. The kick-off celebration features attractions from the City of Saratoga Springs, including members of the Downtown Business Association that are participating in the NYRA’s Saratoga Season Perks program. Visitors can enjoy live entertainment from popular local performers, enter to win gift certificates from Saratoga Season Perks partners, and shop downtown businesses. Participating businesses include Caffe Lena; Celtic Treasures; Children’s Museum at Saratoga; National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame; Northshire Bookstore; and Stinky Dog (the last two of which I heartily endorse).

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get a 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, NYRA merchandise stores, and Shake Shack. (Does not apply to restaurant dining, group sales, or Dunkin’ Donuts) (weekly)

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Watervliet Civic Chest

Elsewhere

“The Healing Powers of the Springs,” a 45-minute morning walk through neighborhoods near the Saratoga Springs Public Library with local tour guide Ellen Steinberger. Meet in the Library’s Glasby Room at 10 am. Register here or by calling reference librarian Chris Alexander at (518) 584-7860, ext. 248. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle.

 Thursday, July 28

At the track

Stakes races: $100,000 John Morrissey for New York-breds, three years old and up, 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt

Taste NY, wines, ciders and spirits in the Saratoga Pavilion on the backyard side of the grandstand, towards the top of the stretch. At this weekly event, customers can purchase five samples of adult beverages made in New York for $5. Noon – 5pm. (Weekly)

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get a 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, NYRA merchandise stores, and Shake Shack. (Does not apply to restaurant dining, group sales, or Dunkin’ Donuts) (weekly)

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Saratoga Regional YMCA

Elsewhere

 Andy Serling’s At The Post Live returns to the Parting Glass in downtown Saratoga for an hour of live radio featuring a variety of guests from the racing world. The show airs 8 – 9pm weekly and is produced before a live audience at one of Saratoga’s best-loved watering holds. Can’t make it to Saratoga? You can listen at ESPN Radio 104.5 or online. Video segments will also be posted and shown on NYRA.com, the NYRA Network, and NYRA’s Youtube channel. This week’s guests: trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Jimmy Toner; owners Frank and Patricia Generazio. (Weekly)

Friday, July 29

At the track

Stakes races: $100,000 Curlin for three-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt

Taste NY: Craft Beer, in the Saratoga Pavilion on the backyard side of the grandstand, towards the top of the stretch. At this weekly event, customers can sample five New York craft beers for $5. Noon – 5pm. (Weekly)

College and Alumni Day. Students and alumni from the University at Albany and Siena College are invited to wear their school colors and participate in a variety of games and activities at the track.

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: North Country Wild Care

Season pass and season ticket plan holders will receive discounts at the Artist’s Village. (weekly)

Party at the Post, the bar near the paddock and Shake Shack, with a DJ and dancing after the races.

Elsewhere 

Racing Trivia Night at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Teams of two to five people will test their racing knowledge for a chance to win prizes; light refreshments, beer, and wine will be served.   $10 per person for Museum members and $15 for non-members to play; free for Museum members, $10 for non-members to watch. 5:30 – 8pm. To RSVP, call 518 584 0400 ext 109 or e-mail nmrmembers@racingmuseum.net.

Saturday, July 30

At the track

Stakes races:

Grade I, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, three-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs on the dirt
Grade II, $200,000 Amsterdam, three-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt
Grade II, $600,000 Jim Dandy for three-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt
Grade II, $250,000 Bowling Green Handicap, four-year-olds and up, 1 3/8 miles on the turf

Low Roller Handicapping Challenge. Take your shot with a $40 buy-in ($30 goes to your own live bankroll, $10 to the prize pool). Registration begins at 10:30 am in the NYRA Bets Lounge.

NYRA Bets Lounge: Visitors to the track can visit this new addition, located in the Saratoga Pavilion on the backyard side of the grandstand, towards the stop of the stretch, for handicapping tips and betting advice from the new “Bets Squad.” The Lounge will also feature a champagne bar and Lifestyles clothing boutique (Lifestyles is a popular women’s clothing store in downtown Saratoga.) (weekly)

Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund Awareness Day. Joining racetracks across the country, Saratoga Race Course will offer jockey autograph signings, photo opportunities, and a jockey foot race to raise money for and awareness of the PDJF. Autograph signing: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm on the porch at the jockeys silks room, with a suggested donation to the PDJF. See Sunday’s listing for information on the jockey foot race.

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.

Party at the Post, the bar near the paddock and Shake Shack, with a DJ after the races.

Sunday, July 31

At the track

Saratoga season passes: your last day to buy one this summer.

Stakes races:

Grade III, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap, fillies and mares three years old and up, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt

$100,000 Caress, fillies and mares four years old and up, 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf

Low Roller Handicapping Challenge. Take your shot with a $40 buy-in ($30 goes to your own live bankroll, $10 to the prize pool). Registration begins at 10:30 am near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

Jockeys foot race on the main track at 12:10 pm.

Taste NY, Food and Artisans, in the Saratoga Pavilion on the backyard side of the grandstand, towards the top of the stretch. At this weekly event, customers can sample and shop for food and crafts such as jams, baked goods, and handcrafted soap, all produced in New York State. 10:30am – 5pm. (Weekly)

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Ladies of Charity-Diocese of Albany Saratoga Vicariate

Elsewhere

Summer stroll with the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation: Historic Fifth and Madison Avenues. One of a series of Sunday morning tours, this begins at the northeast corner of Nelson and Fifth Avenues and will feature the architecture and history of these avenues near Saratoga Race Course. 10:30 am. Reservations are suggested but not required at 518 587 5030 or Nicole Babie at nbabie@saratogapreservation.org. $5 for SSPF members, $8 for non-members. (Weekly, with different tour routes each Sunday)

Monday, August 1

At the track

Stakes races: $100,000 Coronation Cup, three-year-old fillies, 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf

Duffle_Bag_1Giveaway #2, a Saratoga duffle bag, while supplies last. This year, all season ticket and season pass holders will be guaranteed a cap if they redeem their coupons by 3pm; they will be required to use a designated gate at each entrance.

Low Roller Handicapping Challenge. Take your shot with a $40 buy-in ($30 goes to your own live bankroll, $10 to the prize pool). Registration begins at 11 am near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

Fourstardave Sports Bar: Reserve a table and get a free Fourstardave bobblehead.

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get a 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, NYRA merchandise stores, and Shake Shack. (Does not apply to restaurant dining, group sales, or Dunkin’ Donuts) (weekly)

Berkshire Bank Family Mondays, Saratoga Pavilion on the backyard side of the grandstand, near the top of the stretch. Enjoy kid-friendly games and activities and pet a retired Thoroughbred, all free of charge, with one designated activity carrying a suggested donation for a local school or PTA. This week’s beneficiary is the Scotia-Glenville Education Foundation. (weekly)

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Commission on Economic Opportunity

Elsewhere

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 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.

Tuesday, August 2

No racing

Folklorist Ellen McHale presents on Stable Views, her behind-the scenes look at the Thoroughbred racing industry. Through 14 years of field research, McHale interviewed backstretch workers at racetracks across the country; her book is the result of these conversations about race and gender, changes in the industry, and other topics. 6 pm at Northshire Books on Broadway.

ACTT Naturally Open House, every Tuesday at Long Shadows Farm, through Aug. 30. Meet Albany Stakes winner Traffic Chief and Withers winner Harlem Rocker, both now retired and in re-training at Long Shadows. Noon to 4 pm, with demonstrations at 2 pm. 84 Dr Brown Lane, Cambridge, NY. Details and contact info at the farm’s website. (weekly)

Long Shadows Open House

 

Horses, History and Handicapping Sponsored by Thorofan. This week’s guest is trainer Gary Contessa. 7 – 8:30 pm; scroll to the bottom of this for more information. (weekly)

Wednesday, August 3

At the races

Stakes races: $100,000 Shine Again, fillies and mares three years old and up, 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf

Military Appreciation Day. All veterans and active duty military receive free grandstand and clubhouse admission with military ID.

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get a 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, NYRA merchandise stores, and Shake Shack. (Does not apply to restaurant dining, group sales, or Dunkin’ Donuts) (weekly)

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Saratoga Springs VFW

Elsewhere

If Wishes Were Horses, “an evening of celebration for Thoroughbred aftercare and a fundraiser for ACTT Naturally. Featuring OTTB and 2008 Grade III Withers winner Harlem Rocker, this evening of wine, pizza, and demonstrations will benefit ACTT Naturally’s mission of helping finding Thoroughbreds find a new career while participating in the program’s Equine Facilitated Learning Programs for women, teenagers, veterans, and corporate teams. At Saratoga Winery, 462 Washington Street. $45, two tickets for $80 in advance; $50, two for $90 at the door. Call 570 578 6377 for more information; purchase tickets here.

ACTT Naturally

 

Ongoing/recurring events and activities

Backstretch tours at Saratoga Race Course. Every day except Tuesday, 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.

Walking tour of the Oklahoma training facility. Offered by reservation every day except Tuesday by the National Museum of Racing. Tours begin at 8:30 am 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 12 or Travers weekend, August 27-28.  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-mailnmredu2@racingmuseum.net.

Tom Durkin tours of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. New this year, the famed retired racecaller brings his prodigious knowledge of the sport of Thoroughbred racing to its premier historical institution from July 22 to September 5. Tours are from 11 am to noon most race day and are limited to 12 people on a first come, first served basis. Each participant will receive an autographed photograph of Durkin. The cost is $20 for Museum members, $25 for non-members and includes the cost of Museum admission.

Tour reservations can be made by calling the Museum at 518 584 0400 ext. 109. There will be no Durkin-led tours on August 10, 12, 17, 20, and 27.

Tours of Old Friends at Cabin Creek Thoroughbred retirement farm. From July 26 to September 3, tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. Visit Commentator, Be Bullish, Cool N Collective, and Will’s Way among others, learning about their racing days and how they’re enjoying being spoiled in retirement.

ACTT Naturally Open House, every Tuesday at Long Shadows Farm, through Aug. 30. Meet Albany Stakes winner Traffic Chief and Withers winner Harlem Rocker, both now retired and in re-training at Long Shadows. Noon to 4 pm, with demonstrations at 2 pm. 84 Dr Brown Lane, Cambridge, NY. Details and contact info at the farm’s website.

Join NYRA racecaller Larry Collmus in his booth for the third race to support Backstretch Employees Service Team. Up to nine people can participate each day for $100 per person, with all proceeds going to support BEST’s work with backstretch workers. To reserve a spot, call Faith Resignolo at (516) 488-3434 ext. 100.

Horses, History and Handicapping Sponsored by Thorofan. The Academy for Lifelong Learning is offering a 4-week summer program on Tuesday evenings. Handicapper Tom Amello will make special appearances, and each week features a different guest.

August 2: trainer Gary Contessa

August 16: handicapper and racing manager Chad Summers

August 23: turf writer Teresa Genaro (yours truly!)

The session is open to the public, and admission is $55 for all four sessions, or $15 at the door.

For members of the Academy of Lifelong Learning or Thorofan, admission is $50 for four sessions, or $15 at the door.

Seating is limited.

The press release said that registration for the four-session package is required by July 19…but it’s always worth a call if you’ve missed that.

For more information or to become an Academy member ($60), contact vera.kasson@esc.edu or 587-2100 x2415.

Sessions take place at Longfellows Conference Center, 500 Union Avenue, from 7 – 8:30 pm.

 

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