This Week at Saratoga, 2016: Week of August 15

It is an easy thing to have an affair with Saratoga. One knows at the onset that it will last only a week, the month of August at the most, before return to the cares and responsibilities of everydayness. But for a fleeting time, problems of a troubled world seemingly are arrested while the racing man directs his attention to such things as the way the Hail to Reason-Affectionately filly goes behind, the quality of Hand melon, the size of the Travers field, getting a seat for the sales, the proper time to leave the Hollywood Park cocktail party on the Reading Room lawn to get to the steeplechase affair under a pink-striped tent in Mrs. A.C. Randolph’s yard, the William Woodward collection of Herrings and Stubbses exhibited at the National Museum, the dearth of handicap horses, the schedule for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the space problem in a box caused by wide-armed wicker chairs substituted for bentwood numbers–a fleeting, delicious time when one can enjoy the luxury of trivia swelled into importance.

–Kent Hollingsworth, former editor of The Blood-Horse, date unknown, from The Archjockey of Canterbury and other tales

Hollingsworth’s description is a snapshot of a Saratoga time long gone, mourned by many, viewed askance by perhaps the same number. Romantic and luxurious, it captures the spirit of those of us besotted by Saratoga, if the details of our own personal love affairs here aren’t quite the same.

Holy cancellations, Batman. A Saturday cancellation at Saratoga? Yes, when you get repeatedly pounded by rain, and that’s what happened last Saturday. After the fifth race, the jockeys said the track was unsafe, so this week, we get a bonus, as the Grade II Adirondack was re-scheduled for Friday and the Grade I Fourstave for Saturday.

The track cancellation in the afternoon seemed extraordinary only until that evening, when, shortly after its start, the Fasig-Tipton sale of New York-bred yearlings also pulled the plug. Unprecedented but inevitable, given that storms caused a tree to fall onto one of the barns (all humans and equines were safe), and those of us at the pavilion were essentially captive until yet another series of ferocious storms passed through.

The meet is a little more than half over (nooooooooooooo!), but on Saturday, Songbird returns, and we can count ourselves lucky that we get a two chances to see this remarkable filly this summer.

It’s a packed week, with plenty happening on-track and off. Pace yourselves that you don’t fade before the wire…

Have an event you’d like publicized? E-mail me if it’s related to racing or Saratoga history or a good cause. I shy from commercial events, though feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk about advertising.

Happenings at the track are listed separately each day from those happening elsewhere, and events that are ongoing or recurring are noted and are listed at the end of the post.

Planning a trip? Check out our Hello Race Fans guide to Saratoga Race Course. Coming later in the summer? Here are events through until Labor Day.

Have fun! And get in touch with any questions by leaving a comment. If you’re a first-time or infrequent commenter, your post will be held in moderation, but I’ll approve it and respond reasonably quickly.

 

Tuesday, August 16

No racing

Charity golf tournament to benefit the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, held at Saratoga National Golf Club. The event includes lunch, golf cart, green fees, on-course refreshments, cocktail reception, and awards dinner. For more information, contact Nancy Kelly at (518) 226-0609 or nkelly@jockeyclub.com

Guests in the Gallery: Michael Blowen and JoAnn Pepper of Old Friends. The founder of Old Friends will appear at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame to discuss Thoroughbred aftercare and the impact of Old Friends. 11 am – 12:30 pm, free with paid Museum admission. Expected special guests are the former owners/trainers of some of the Old Friends’ retirees: H. James Bond (Behrens, Will’s Way), Rick Schosberg (Affirmed Success), Jack Knowlton (Saratoga Episode), and Tracy and Carol Farmer (Commentator).

Brian Bouyea offers an evening of local history and discuss his new book, Bare Knuckles & Saratoga Racing: The Remarkable Life of John Morrissey. 6 pm at Northshire Books on Broadway.

Horses, History and Handicapping Sponsored by Thorofan. This week’s guest is handicapper and racing manager Chad Summers. 7 – 8:30 pm; scroll to the bottom of this for more information.

Wednesday, August 17

At the track

Stakes races: $100,000 Bolton Landing for two-year-old fillies, 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf

Italian-American Day at the Saratoga Pavilion, on the backyard side of the grandstand near the top of the stretch, 11 am – 5 pm. This celebration of Italian-American culture and heritage will feature traditional music, dance, food, entertainment, and games. A Premio Italian food truck will be on-track,and Italian food will be on offer throughout the track, including eggplant and chicken parm, pastries and gelato; white bean/escarole soup; stromboli; and Peroni beer. Traditional Italian music and dance will also be performed throughout the day. Children can create their own Venetian masks and Italian language lessons will be offered.

 

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: Center for Disability Services

Elsewhere

Brunch to benefit the Race Track Chaplaincy, New York Division, honoring Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, at Saratoga National Golf Club, 458 Union Avenue, 11 am – 1 pm. For tickets or more information, call 516 835 0275 or e-mail rtcany@aol.com.

Thursday, August 18

At the races

Stakes races: $100,000 Union Avenue for New York-bred fillies and mares, 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: Dyer Phelps (note: the event in the linked article took place last year, but the post offers an explanation of Dyer Phelps’ mission.)

Elsewhere

Dave Litfin handicapping seminar at Siro’s, 10:45 – 11:45 am. Breakfast is available.

Quaintance HouseSupport the cats that live at the Oklahoma training facility by having dinner at the Inn at Saratoga, a great old Saratoga venue. From 5 – 10 pm, the Inn will donates 25% of all food and beverage sales to Quaintance House Animal Protective League in Greenwich, NY, which provides the veterinary care for the cats at the Oklahoma. A raffle and silent auction will also be available.

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: Hall of Famer Ramon Dominguez and Steve Asmussen; jockey Florent Geroux; owner James Riccio. (scheduled to appear, Dominguez cancelled earlier in the week)

Friday, August 19

Stakes races: The re-scheduled $200,000, Grade II Adirondack was added to the card after last Saturday’s weather cancellation, joining the $100,000 Skidmore for two-year-olds, 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf

Book signing to benefit Backstretch Employee Service Team.  From Saratoga’s beloved Hattie’s restaurant, chef Jasper Alexander will sign copies of The Hattie’s Restaurant Cookbook on the porch near the jockey silks room. Books will be available for purchase with partial proceeds going to B.E.S.T. Noon to 2 pm.

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)

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

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

Elsewhere

Book signing at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Author Eliza McGraw will sign copies of Here Comes Exterminator. 10 am – noon; books will be available for purchase.

Dave Litfin handicapping seminar at Siro’s, 10:45 – 11:45 am. Breakfast is available.

Saturday, August 20

Stakes races: Grade I, $600,000 Alabama for three-year-old fillies, 1 1/4 miles on the dirt

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 in the NYRA Bets Lounge (see below).

NYRA photo

NYRA photo

In memory of the late Dominic Galluscio, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm Saratoga trainers will sign autographs for a suggested donation of $10 to benefit The Lustgarten Foundation and support pancreatic cancer research, from which Galluscio died in 2014. The signing will take place near the paddock mutual bays near the racing office.

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.) A handicapping seminar will occur from 11 a.m. to noon with Mike Penna of the Horse Racing Radio Network, and NYRA’s Gabby Gaudet will offer wagering tips at 1 p.m.

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Backstretch Employees Service Team, The Lustgarten Foundation

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

Elsewhere

Book signing: author Brien Bouyea, the communications coordinator for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, will sign copies of his book Bare Knuckles & Saratoga Racing: The Remarkable Life of John Morrissey at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, at which Bouyea works as the communications officer. 9 am to noon in the Museum lobby; books will be available for purchase.

Sunday, August 21

At the races

Stakes races: Grade II, $300,000 Lake Placid for three-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 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 11 am near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

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 hand-crafted soap, all produced in New York State. 10:30am – 5pm. (Weekly)

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region

Elsewhere

Summer stroll with the Saratoga Springs Preservation FoundationDown in the Valley: Exploring the Gut. Meet at the southeast corner of Phila and Putnam Streets for a tour of the area known as “The Gut,” which was home to working class family businesses and one of the centers for Saratoga’s Jewish community. 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)

Book launch and signing at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame for author Vicki Dodd’s A Moose in My Starting Gate. 10 am. Books will be available for purchase.

Monday, August 22

At the races

Stakes races: $100,000 Summer Colony for fillies and mares, three years old and up, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt

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.

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 Stevens Elementary School of Burnt Hills. (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: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region

Tuesday, August 23

No racing

Golf at McGregor Links to benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund, hosted by Richard Migliore. Registration is at 10 am with a shot-gun start before noon and an awards luncheon and cocktail reception starting at 4:30 pm. $225 per golfer, which includes a round of golf, tee-favors, breakfast and awards ceremony, and the luncheon and cocktail reception for you and a guest. Tickets for the cocktails and awards luncheon only, beginning at 4:30 pm, are $50. Prizes will be awarded for holes in one; the longest drive for men and women; win/place/show for the top three teams; and a special award for the most honest team. Reserve online or call 518 226 0028. For more information, contact Mary at the TRF (518 226 0028 ext 103) or Nancy at the PDJF (630 234 6691).

Will’s Way 20th Anniversary Travers lunch at Old Friends at Cabin Creek, celebrating the 23-year-old stallion who won the 1996 Travers and 1997 Whitney, and who now lives at Cabin Creek. Suggested donation: $10.

“One Fine Day” luncheon to benefit Shelters of Saratoga, which assists individuals who are homeless or at risk of being homeless “by offering a path to self-sufficiency.” Co-chaired by Charlie and Mary Lou Wheeler, the luncheon will take place at Saratoga National Golf Club and feature seasonal fare by Prime at Saratoga National; live music; a pop-up shop by Lifestyles; a silent auction; and a cash bar. Tickets are $75, with 10% of all proceeds supporting homeless services in the Saratoga region. 1 – 4pm; rsvp by August 15.

Horses, History and Handicapping Sponsored by Thorofan. This week’s guest is…yours truly! 7 – 8:30 pm; scroll to the bottom of this for more information.

Author Joe Drape discusses American Pharoah and the 2015 Triple Crown in his book American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s Legendary Rise. 5 pm at Northshire Books on Broadway. 

Wednesday, August 24

At the track

Stakes races: $100,000 John’s all for three-year-olds and up, 1 5/8 miles on the turf

Adirondacks Day at the Saratoga Pavilion, on the backyard side of the grandstand near the top of the stretch, featuring activities, exhibits, and entertainment focusing on Essex, Franklin, and Hamilton counties. 11 am – 5 pm.

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: Racing City Chorus

Stewart’s Ice Cream Eating Contest, with three age groups: kids, teens, adults. More details as they become available.

Elsewhere

Circus-BCCA“Cirque du BCCA” dinner and auction, to benefit the Belmont Child Care Association (on whose board I serve). Honoring NYRA board vice-chairman Michael Del Guidice, the dinner is held at the Hall of Springs, 108 Avenue of the Pines in Spa State Park. For more information, call 516 488 2103. Tickets are $250 and support low-cost childcare and early child education for the children of backstretch workers at Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack, and Saratoga Race Course.

2 thoughts on “This Week at Saratoga, 2016: Week of August 15

  1. Re: Week of August 15 – some things never change and that’s the great thing about Saratoga. I always pick up Hand melons out by the Washington County fairgrounds and a visit last week to the Racing Museum was rewarded with sighting a venerable bounty of art works by Munnings. I was thrilled that we decided to cross the street to look around the museum when the Saturday races were cancelled due to the weather. Every year I ask, “do you have any pieces by Munnings?”. And a Monday morning stop for breakfast at the track resulted in a dash to the rail with the announcement that Songbird was coming onto the main track much later than her usual time! Can’t wait to get back up there.

    • I thought of you when I was there covering Songbird’s work and regretted that I didn’t somehow get in touch to let you know…so I am so glad that you were there, and that you had such a good visit. Was wonderful to meet you!

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