This Week at Saratoga, 2016: The Week of August 23

2016-08-22 09.40.11“For try as their builders and sponsors may try to duplicate or even approach duplication of the picturesque Saratoga track and its incomparable atmosphere, there is only one Saratoga. New tracks may come, some of them stay and some of them go, but Saratoga goes on forever. And it will continue to exist and prosper as long as there are sportsmen and sportswomen whose pulses quicken to the beat of flying hooves and whose red blood tingles at the sight of a good-looking thoroughbred racing in the beautiful setting his royal lineage deserves.”

–Dick Powers, “Clear and Fast,” Times Union, July 30, 1939, quoted in The Spa: Saratoga’s Legendary Race Course by Paul Roberts and Isabelle Taylor

You can book it: Travers week arrives and with it the coolness of an Adirondack evening, presaging the onset of autumn even as we savor these last delicious weeks of summer at Saratoga.

Songbird. What can we say? An Alabama for the ages, history before our eyes. Our skin tingled, our hearts raced. How lucky are we to have her to ourselves this summer?

I’ve written a lot about Jimmy Toner and his barn this summer, from this pre-meet interview, to this report on Recepta’s injury to this look at the teenager who brought him into the world of social media to today’s column in the Saratogian on his stakes win on Sunday.It’s quite possible that Time and Motion’s Lake Placid will emerge as my favorite race of the summer.

Twelve racing days left. We ask, as always, how it went so fast. Enjoy it, the events and the mornings and the races, in this week of a New York-bred showcase and the Mid-summer Derby. If only it were truly mid-summer, with the whole meet still lying before us.

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 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 the Adirondacks. Activities will include log stamping, shoe making, basket weaving, mountain bike demonstrations,  craft beer tasting, and local food sampling. NYRA customers can have their photographs taken in an authentic bobsled and experience the sights of the Adirondacks through virtual goggles. Live entertainment will be provided by local musician Brad Hester. 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 (6-12), teens (13-17), adults (18+). Winners receive gift certificates for free Stewart’s ice cream–which is the best ice cream in the area, and ludicrously inexpensive. Registration begins at 11 a.m. on the Jockey Silks Room Porch and the contest takes place after the third race, approximately 2:10 p.m.

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.

Travers Tips and Sips with Dave Litfin. Learn about handicapping ahead of the weekend’s big race. The Diamond Club Grill inside the Embassy Suites on Congress Street, 7:30 – 8:30 pm.

Thursday, August 25

At the races

Stakes races:

Grade I, $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup, four-year-olds and up, 2 3/8 miles on the turf (steeplechase)

$100,000 Riskaverse for three-year-old fillies, 1 mile on the turf

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: Gallop NYC

Thursdays at The Post features Latin music, dancing, and food and drink specials after the races.

Simulcasting at the Fourstardave Sports Bar until 7 pm.

Elsewhere

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

Greg Montgomery Travers Stakes poster signing for his 2016 Traver poster. In the lobby of the National Museum of Racing, 10 am to noon. Posters are available for purchase.

Travers Stakes preview panel at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Handicappers Tom Amello and Jeff Carle will analyze the 2016 Travers and discuss the history of the race. 11 am, cost included with paid Museum admission.

New York Thoroughbred Breeders Showcase Day lunch, on a day of stakes races for New York-breds. $50 per person, in the Paddock Tent. RSVP by August 11 at 518 587 0777 or info@nytbreeders.org

Brien Bouyea will speak about and sign copies of his book Bare Knuckles & Saratoga Racing: The Remarkable Life of John Morrissey. Morrissey is the man responsible for bringing Thoroughbred racing to Saratoga, and Bouyea is the communications coordinator at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. 7 pm at the Saratoga History Museum in Congress Park.

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 Fame jockey Ramon Dominguez; Siena basketball coach and racing enthusiast Jimmy Patsos; trainers Charlton Baker and Dale Romans.

Friday, August 26

Stakes races: Saratoga Showcase Day for New York-breds

$250,000 Albany for three-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt
$200,000 Fleet Indian for three-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt
$200,000 Funny Cide for two-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt
$200,000 Seeking the Ante for two-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs on the dirt
$150,000 Yaddo for fillies and mares, three years old and up, 1 1/16 miles on the turf
$150,000 West Point presented by Trustco Bank for three-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles on the turf

Red Jacket Ceremony honoring Cot Campbell and Bill Mott, the 2016 inductees into the Saratoga Walk of Fame. The ceremony will take place in the winner’s circle following the fourth race at approximately 2:50 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 County Economic Opportunity Council, which will host a food drive from 11 am – 5 pm. Customers who donate three non-perishable items will receive a Saratoga collectible. Suggested donation items include

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

Elsewhere

Book signing with Barry Irwin, founder of Team Valor. He’ll sign copies of his book “Derby Innovator: The Making of Animal Kingdom.”  10 am to noon in the lobby of the National Museum of Racing. Books will be available for purchase. 

Wine and Cheese Gathering at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. 5:30 – 7 pm in the Museum courtyard, free for Museum members and $10 for the general public. RSVP at 518 584 0400 ext 109 or nmrmembers@racingmuseum.net.

Saturday, August 27

At the races

Stakes races: Travers Day

Grade I, $1,000,000 Longines Sword Dancer for three-year-olds and up, 1 1/2 miles on the turf
Grade I, $1,250,000 Travers for three-year-olds, 1 1/4 miles on the dirt
Grade I, $500,000 Ballerina for fillies and mares, three years old and up, 7 furlongs on the dirt
Grade II, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa for fillies and mares, three years old and up, 1 1/16 miles on the turf
Grade I, $700,000 Priority One Jets Forego for three-year-olds and up, 7 furlongs on the dirt
Grade I, $750,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares, three years old and up, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt
Grade I, $500,000 Ketel One King’s Bishop for three-year-olds, 7 furlongs on the dirt

Meet and greet and autograph signing with Tom Durkin at the Durkin Replay Center inside the Fourstardave Sports Bar. Advance tickets are required. Tickets can be picked up at the Fourstardave Sports Bar on Saturday from 10:30 to 11:45 am; the first 150 guests with tickets are guaranteed the opportunity to meet Durkin and have one souvenir item signed. A limited number of free posters will be available. Noon to 2 pm

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)

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

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

Sunday, August 28

At the races

Stakes races: $100,000 Smart N Fancy for fillies and mares, three 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 11 am near the Fourstardave Sports Bar on the grandstand ground level.

Fan Appreciation Week, with discounts and special offers, including a barbecue in the At The Rail Pavilion each day from Wednesday, August 31 to Monday, September 5; $45 for adults, $35 for kids 12 and under, which includes admission, a program, and a buffet lunch.

Customers can get a 20% discount on grandstand reserved seats through Ticketmaster using the promo code TOGA20, weekdays through Labor Day.

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: Team in Training, LLS

Elsewhere

Summer stroll with the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation: Saratoga’s Historic West Side. Meet at South Franklin Street (the Gideon Putnam Cemetery entrance) for a walk through the restored historic West Side, also known as Little Dublin, and learn about the history of Saratoga’s Irish and Italian immigrants. 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)

Ramon Dominguez autograph signing. The new Hall of Famer will sign posters by Greg Montgomery to celebrate his induction. 10 – 11 am in the lobby of the National Museum of Racing. $20 per autographed poster.  

Monday, August 29

At the races

Stakes races: $100,000 Better Talk Now for three-year-olds, 1 mile 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 on the grandstand ground level.

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

20% discount on grandstand reserved seats through Ticketmaster using the promo code TOGA20, weekdays through Labor Day.

Family Monday 4-Pack featuring four grandstand reserved seats (includes admission); four hot dogs and four sodas for $44. Call 1-844-NYRA-TIX.

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 recipient: Saratoga Academy.

The first 500 kids, ages 12 and under, to visit the Pavilion will receive a free drawstring bag filled with school supplies, courtesy of Berkshire Bank and Pediatric Dental Group of New York.

Customers can also play Pokemon Go at the track.

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)

NYRA season pass and season ticketholders will enjoy special events, activities, and offers during the closing week of racing. More details as they become available.

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

Tuesday, August 30

No racing

 Old Friends at Cabin Creek barn dance. Details to follow as they become available.

Retired Racehorse Meeting, hosted by the New York State Gaming Commission. The event will include a presentation and discussion of the Commission’s work to locate New York-bred horses that haven’t raced since 2012 and updates on developments in Thoroughbred after from a variety of retirement organizations. Participants will view a film produced by the Commission that focuses on the important of responsible aftercare and the options for retired racehorses.  Fasig-Tipton Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion on East Avenue, 11:15 am – 1:15 pm. Free and open to the public.

ReRun, Inc.’s Annual Saratoga Fundraiser, to benefit ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption. A cocktail party and silent auction at The Lodge at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, 1 Nelson Ave. 6 – 10 pm. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased here. Contact Lisa at lisa.rerun@gmail.com for more information.

Wednesday, August 31

At the track

Stakes races: Grade II, $200,000 With Anticipation for two-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles on the turf

20% discount on grandstand reserved seats through Ticketmaster using the promo code TOGA20, weekdays through Labor Day.

Craft beverage 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 the craft beer, hard cider, and wine of Central New York. 11 am – 5 pm.

Barbecue in the At The Rail Pavilion. $45 for adults, $35 for kids 12 and under, which includes admission, a program, and a buffet lunch.

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: The Wesley Foundation

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.

Ice Box on the outside

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.

NYRA photo

NYRA photo

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.

 

Be Bullish, way back when he was a three-year-old racing at Saratoga.

Be Bullish, way back when he was a three-year-old racing at Saratoga.

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.

2 thoughts on “This Week at Saratoga, 2016: The Week of August 23

  1. Teresa,

    We were there for the Alabama last Saturday and Lake Placid on Sunday. What a great weekend of racing at the Spa. Thanks so much for the heads up on Tom Durkin’s daily tour of the Museum of Racing and the chance to be in the caller’s booth with Larry Collmus, to benefit the Backstretch Employees Service Team. (What a great cause and organization led by dedicated and caring human beings.)

    Thanks to your blog, we were able to be with both callers on the same day. Thank you!
    Enjoy the Travers on Saturday and the rest of the meet.

    – Carter Wilkie, Boston

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to write that, Carter– I’m thrilled that this helped you have a terrific weekend at the Spa. Come back soon!

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