What’s Going On In Saratoga: Opening Week (July 20 – 24)

Hello! Welcome back! It’s here! Summer at Saratoga–and we’re off!

I hope that you’re as excited as I am to get back to the beloved Spa–my hometown and one of the places where my heart resides. As always, there’s a lot going on, both on the track and off, and we’ll keep you up to date right up to closing day.

Within a couple of days, I’ll have a calendar of events for the whole meet. For now, we’ll get you through Week 1.

Items listed here are either directly related to Saratoga Race Course, to Saratoga’s history, or to animal/racing-related non-profits. If you know of an event that should be included, please leave a comment or e-mail me (scroll down for the address).

Good luck, have fun, and safe trips to all…

Thursday, July 19

The racing season kicks off with the return of At The Post, the radio program hosted by NYRA racing analyst Andy Serling and broadcast live each Thursday at 8 pm from The Parting Glass.

This week’s guests are trainer Nick Zito, owner Sol Kumin, and jockey Manuel Franco.

The hour-long show will be streamed and archived at ESPN Radio 104.5 in the Capital District.

Friday, July 20

Opening Day!

Today’s stakes races:

The $150,000, Grade 3 Schuylerville for two-year-old fillies at six furlongs on the dirt

The $150,000 Grade 3 Lake George for three-year-old fillies on the turf at 1 1/16 miles

Taste NY: Craft Beer. Every Friday during the meet, sample craft beers made in New York State. $5 gets you five samples at the Saratoga Pavilion just behind the grandstand. Noon to 5 pm.

In the community booth, located outside the jockeys’ silks room: ReRun Thoroughbred Aftercare. Stop by and learn about their work with horses whose racing careers are over.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon Fridays at the Post. Every Friday evening, enjoy bourbon cocktails and trivia at The Post bar near the clubhouse entrance. 6 – 8 pm.

Saturday, July 21

At the track…

Today’s stakes races:

The $500,000 Grade 1 Diana for fillies and mares three-years-old and up, nine furlongs on the turf.

The $150,000 Grade 3 Sanford for two-year-olds, six furlongs on the dirt.

Woodford Reserve and singer/songwriter Jeff Brisbin at the Jim Dandy Bar. Every Saturday except Travers Day (August 25), sample Woodford Reserve Saratoga Personal Selection bourbon while Brisbin plays. 2-4 pm.

Ketal One Saturdays at The Post. Every Saturday, sample Ketel One Botanicals from 3-5 pm. Following the races, a DJ spins dance music.

Fashion Saturdays. Every Saturday, shop local apparel, accessories, jewelry, and home décor from 10:30 am – 5 pm in the Saratoga Pavilion just behind the grandstand.

In the community booth outside the jockey’s silks room: The Wesley Community, senior housing in Saratoga Springs.


Photo Finish Tour with Dona Ann McAdams.  Photographer Dona Ann McAdams leads this photographic tour of the Oklahoma training facility. Learn about lighting, composition, and developing your eye. Reservations are required. The tour runs from 8 – 10 am and costs $25 for Museum members, $35 for non-members. Make reservations at (518) 584-0400 ext. 118.

Xpressbet Saturday Morning Social at the Museum: Every Saturday, museum staff and guests will analyze and discuss the day’s races at Saratoga and other tracks.  Complimentary light refreshments will be served and Saratoga past performances will be provided. The program runs from 9-11 am and is free of charge. Guests will be listed here when they become available.

Sunday, July 22

At the track…

The $300,000, Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs on the dirt.

Low Roller Challenge. Every Sunday and Monday (except Labor Day), play in this low-stakes handicapping tournament. Entry is $40, with $30 going towards your live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Registration begins at 11 am near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

Taste NY: Food & Artisans. Every Sunday, shop food and artisan products made in New York from 10:30 am – 5 pm in the Saratoga Pavilion, behind the grandstand.

Baseball cap giveaway, free with paid admission while supplies last. If you have a season pass or season tickets, you are guaranteed a hat if you are present on the day of the giveaway, enter through the dedicated season ticket holder lines, and pick up your hat by 3 pm.

Hat contest.  Compete in three categories: Uniquely Saratoga; Fashionably Saratoga; and Kreative Kids. Registration will begin at noon under the grandstand, and the competition will take place after the second, third and fourth races on the track apron for the chance to win a variety of prizes, including fascinators and gift certificates provided by Hat Sationa! by DEI.

In the community booth by the jockeys’ silks room:  Saratoga Springs Figure Skating Club


Saratoga & The Civil War. Join the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation for its weekly Sunday Stroll. This week, Gloria May leads a tour of Greenridge Cemetery, focusing on the “yarns and tales” of those who fought in the Civil War. The tour begins at 10:30 am and lasts approximately 90 minutes. Meet at the Civil War Monument inside the Sackett Gates on Lincoln Avenue and wear comfortable shoes. $5 for SSPF members, $8 for non-members. Tours are rain or shine and tickets can be purchased here.

Monday, July 23

At the track…

The $200,000 Caress Stakes for fillies and mares four years old and up, on the turf at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Low Roller Challenge. Every Sunday and Monday (except Labor Day), play in this low-stakes handicapping tournament. Entry is $40, with $30 going towards your live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Registration begins at 11 am near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.

Berkshire Bank Family Mondays. Each Monday of the meet, head to the Saratoga Pavilion behind the grandstand for kid-friendly games and activities, including the opportunity to pet a retired thoroughbred. All activities are free of charge, with the exception of one that carries a suggested donation to benefit a local school or PTA. This week’s beneficiary: Lisha Kill Middle School. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In the community booth by the jockeys’ silks room:  Christie’s Heartoberfest, raising money for research on Long QT, a genetic cardiac arrhythmia condition.


Hay, Oats, and Spaghetti to benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. In a new venue this year, this annual event will take place at the Saratoga Automobile Museum in the Spa State Park. In addition to all the spaghetti you can eat (prepared by Mama Mia’s Laurie and Giuseppe Grisio), the event will feature auction items to raise money for retired racehorses, tastings, music, and a raffle. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased here.

Learn about racing partnerships and syndicates at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. A variety of partnerships will be on hand to discuss getting involved with Thoroughbred ownership; there will also be prizes and presentations. 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Free of charge.


Tuesday, July 24

No racing

Zippy Chippy Day at Old Friends at Cabin Creek. Meet the lovable loser—winless in 100 races!—Zippy Chippy and his buddy Red Down South. To raise money for this home for retired Thoroughbreds, the farm will auction one of Zippy’s race-worn horse shoes, a program from one of his races, and photographers of Zippy; a second auction will offer a Zippy halter. The farm is open from 9 am – 1 pm; the auction begins at noon.

On hand will be Williams Thomas, author of The Legend of Zippy Chippy: Life Lessons from Horse Racing’s Most Lovable Loser.

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