This week at Saratoga, 2016: Week of August 30

Old Saratoga, famed as a resort long before the civil war, has come back into her own. A few years ago Saratoga’s obituary notices were being written. Today the most successful season of her history came to an end.

This [closing day] afternoon differed from no other Saturday of the meeting. There were the same crowd and the same excellent card. All the officials of the organization expressed themselves as well pleased with the season at Saratoga. The success of the present meeting was best expressed by one of the officials after the last race, who said:

“The racing here has been so wonderfully successful, and the officers of the association are so gratified with the encouragement given them by the public that it is not unlikely the season will be extended here next year.”

New York Times, August 27, 1916

The 1916 meeting ran 24 hours, from July 31 to August 26, and indeed, the next year, the length of the meet was extended by two days, running from August 1 to August 30. One hundred years ago, clubhouse admission was $8 for men, exactly what it is today (for both sexes).

I write this from Brooklyn, a couple of hours before faculty meetings begin for the 2016-2017 school year. Every year, the ending of one cherished time of year, the Saratoga racing meeting, blends into the beginning of another, another school year. The potential of the former is nearly spent, never failing to delight; the potential of the latter, equally satisfying, still lies ahead, alive only in our imaginations.

It’s time to get ready for school, but for now, here’s a look at closing week. Enjoy it while it you can, and I’ll see you back up there on Friday.

Tuesday, August 30

No racing

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.

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, a 35% discount on dated merchandise, including 2016 Travers collectible items at NYRA stores; a 10% discount at Shake Shack; and a 10% discount at participating vendors in the Artist’s Village.

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.

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: The Wesley Foundation

Thursday, September 1

At the races

Stakes races: $100,000 P.G. Johnson for two-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles on the turf

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

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, a 35% discount on dated merchandise, including 2016 Travers collectible items at NYRA stores; a 10% discount at Shake Shack; and a 10% discount at participating vendors in the Artist’s Village.

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)

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: Habitat for Humanity

Simulcasting at the Fourstardave Sports Bar after the races until 7 pm.

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: trainer Chad Brown, handicapper Andy Beyer, radio/TV host Steve Byk, and (tentative) jockey John Velazquez.

Friday, September 2

At the races

Stakes races: $100,000 Evan Shipman for New York-breds three years old and up, 1 1/8 miles on the dirt

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

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, a 35% discount on dated merchandise, including 2016 Travers collectible items at NYRA stores; a 10% discount at Shake Shack; and a 10% discount at participating vendors in the Artist’s Village.

Book signing with Brien Bouyea, the communications director at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the author of Bare Knuckles and Saratoga Racing: The Remarkable Life of John Morrissey, about the life of the man who established the first Thoroughbred racing meet at Saratoga. Copies of the book will be available for purchase with partial proceeds to benefit the Backstretch Employees Service Team. The porch at the jockey silks room, 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)

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.

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption

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

Saturday, September 3

At the races

Stakes races:

Grade III, $200,000 Glens Falls for fillies and mares, three years old and up, 1 3/8 miles on the turf
Grade III, $300,000 Saranac for three-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on the turf
Grade I, $600,000 Woodward for three-year-olds and up, 1/18 miles on the dirt
Grade I, $350,000 Spinaway for two-year-old fillies, 7 furlongs on the dirt

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)

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 directly above).

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, a 35% discount on dated merchandise, including 2016 Travers collectible items at NYRA stores; a 10% discount at Shake Shack; and a 10% discount at participating vendors in the Artist’s Village.

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.

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Capital Region Toys for Tots Foundation

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

Elsewhere

5K Run/Walk for the Horses and Kids’ Fun Run, to benefit the Racehorse Aftercare Charities of Saratoga coalition, which includes the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, ACTT Naturally, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, ReRun at North Country Horses, Heading for Home Racehorse Retraining and Adoption, and Saratoga WarHorse. Held at the Orenda Pavilion in the State Park, the event begins at 7 am. Registration for the kids’ run is $5; registration for adults is $25 before September 2 (no info available for what the raceday cost is). Click here to register, or call Mary Abbruzzese at (518) 226-0028, ext. 103, for more information.

Final Stretch Festival, marking the end of the 2016 racing season. Stroll downtown for free live music up and down Broadway. The event continues on Sunday, September 4.

Sunday, September 4

At the races

Stakes races: Grade II, $300,000 Prioress for three-year-old fillies, 6 furlongs 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.

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)

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, a 35% discount on dated merchandise, including 2016 Travers collectible items at NYRA stores; a 10% discount at Shake Shack; and a 10% discount at participating vendors in the Artist’s Village.

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.

Long_Sleeve_PulloverLong sleeve pullover giveaway, 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.

 In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Living Resources

Elsewhere

Final Stretch Festival, marking the end of the 2016 racing season. Stroll downtown for free live music up and down Broadway. The event continues on Sunday, September 4.

Monday, September 6

At the races

Stakes races:

Grade I, $350,000 Hopeful for two-year-olds, 7 furlongs on the dirt
Grade II, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap for three-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles on the turf

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

Saratoga Perks members and season pass holders get 10% discount on most on-track concession stands, a 35% discount on dated merchandise, including 2016 Travers collectible items at NYRA stores; a 10% discount at Shake Shack; and a 10% discount at participating vendors in the Artist’s Village.

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

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)

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 Saddlewood Elementary School.

The first 500 children, 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.

In NYRA’s community outreach booth, located near the jockeys’ silks room: Cohoes Connect Center for Youth

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.

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