Opening Weekend of Saratoga Race Course
by Pat McKenna/Mark Bardack
Opening Weekend of Saratoga Race Course
Opening Day, Thursday, July 11 - Sunday, July 14
WEEK 1 HIGHLIGHTS
• Gates open at 11 a.m. each day of the 2019 season, including weekends.
• Opening Day to feature special giveaway exclusive to season pass and season ticket holders: Saratoga cooling towel, while supplies last.
• National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera to be honored Friday, July 12 at approximately 2 p.m.
• American Idol star Madison VanDenburg to perform Saturday, July 13.
• Sunday Giveaway July 14: Saratoga collapsible picnic cooler, free to all fans with paid admission, while supplies last. In order to create a more equitable process and provide as many fans as possible with the opportunity to secure a popular Saratoga giveaway, the multi-purchase lane will no longer be offered during the 2019 season.
OPENING DAY: THURSDAY, JULY 11
• Opening Day: The 2019 season will get underway when gates open at 11 a.m. and with first post time at 1 p.m. The first stakes race of the season is the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies. Fans can save $2 on grandstand admission for Opening Weekend (valid July 11-13) with a voucher available at participating Stewart's Shops and Saratoga Downtown Business Association locations, while supplies last. Limited reserved seating is available for Opening Weekend.
• Season Pass & Season Ticket Holder Giveaway: NYRA will offer a giveaway exclusive to season pass and season ticket holders who are in attendance on Opening Day: a white cooling towel featuring the red Saratoga logo, available while supplies last. Season admission passes may be purchased online at NYRA.com and in-person at nearly 150 Stewart's Shops locations. A 2019 Grandstand season pass is $50. A Clubhouse season pass is $75. Season passes do not include reserved seating.
• 1863 Club: Opening Day will feature the debut of Saratoga's newest hospitality area: the 1863 Club. Located on the Clubhouse turn, the 1863 Club is a three-story, climate-controlled building featuring differentiated hospitality options and modern amenities. The first-floor is home to The Rail at the 1863 Club, a banquet space which features floor-to-ceiling windows and offers table seating for up to 500 fans. The second-floor, presented by Encore Boston Harbor, features a group event space which accommodates up to 100 guests. The third-floor features luxury suites with sweeping views of the main track. All reservations are available by contacting the NYRA Box Office by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX.
• Breakfast at Saratoga, driven by CDTA: Fans are invited to enjoy Breakfast at Saratoga, driven by CDTA, on the Clubhouse Porch while the thoroughbreds train on the main track. Breakfast is held from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The morning buffet is $18.50 for adults and $9.25 for kids ages 12 and under. Breakfast and free tram tours are available daily; excluding Travers Day, Saturday, August 24.
• Taste NY: Wine & Spirits: Fans will have the opportunity to sample varietals of wine and spirits from New York State wineries and distilleries during this weekly event. Live music will accompany the tasting each Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.
• Saratoga Live: NYRA's acclaimed television show Saratoga Live will make its 2019 debut on FS2 beginning at 1 p.m. In partnership with Fox Sports, the 2019 broadcast will feature live coverage of the full Saratoga card on most days of the season. The schedule is available atwww.NYRA.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
• NYRA Bets: Fans who sign up for NYRA Bets using promo code "SPA" and wager $200 within the first 14 days will receive a $200 new member bonus. Details at NYRABets.com. The Bets Squad will be available to teach fans about the various aspects of wagering and will be stationed near the following locations: upper Grandstand (adjacent to Clubhouse exchange); Big Red Spring; Paddock Mutuel Bay and track apron on the Grandstand.
• Low Roller Challenge: Every Thursday will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Entrants will also have an opportunity to qualify for the Saratoga Challenge on Friday, August 9. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.
FRIDAY, JULY 12
• Forbidden Apple: Friday's feature race will be the Grade 3, $150,000 Forbidden Apple for turf horses.
• Mariano Rivera Day: NYRA will host National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera as part of Opening Weekend festivities. NYRA will honor Rivera with a special ceremony prior to and following the third race at approximately 2 p.m. The visit comes one week before Rivera heads to Cooperstown where he will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the first unanimous selection in history.
• Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider: The Friday edition of the popular weekly tasting event will offer guests the opportunity to sample craft beers and ciders produced exclusively in New York State. Live music will accompany the tasting each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.
SATURDAY, JULY 13 - Gates open at 11 a.m.
• Diana and Sanford: Saturday's highlights include the first Grade 1 of the meet: the 81st running of the $500,000 Diana; and the 105th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day of the 2019 season, including weekends.
• Madison VanDenburg: The 17-year-old singer from Cohoes, NY, who thrilled viewers nationwide with her vocal talents on the popular singing competition "American Idol," will entertain fans at the track. VanDenburg will perform at the Don Julio stage, adjacent to guest services, following the day's first race at approximately 1:10 p.m. Additional performances will follow throughout the afternoon.
• Saratoga County EOC Food Drive: NYRA will host its annual food drive to benefit the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC). Fans who donate at least three non-perishable items at the Community Outreach Booth will receive a free Saratoga giveaway from years prior, while supplies last, and will be entered to win tickets to the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers and other great prizes.
• Fashion Saturdays: Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women's and men's fashion apparel from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items. The event will be held each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.
SUNDAY, JULY 14 - Gates open at 11 a.m.
• Coronation Cup: Sunday will feature the $100,000 Coronation Cup for 3-year-old turf fillies. Gates open at 11 a.m. each day of the 2019 season, including weekends.
• Saratoga Picnic Cooler Giveaway: Fans will enjoy the first giveaway of the 2019 season: a collapsible, red picnic cooler featuring the Saratoga logo emblazoned in white, presented by NYRA Bets. The picnic cooler is free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season pass and season ticket holders are guaranteed a Saratoga premium giveaway on the day of the giveaway so long as they are present at Saratoga Race Course and redeem the giveaway by the designated time. All fans visiting on giveaway days will receive one voucher with paid admission upon entry. This voucher can be redeemed for a premium item, while supplies last. In order to create a more equitable process and provide as many fans as possible with the opportunity to secure a popular Saratoga giveaway, the multi-purchase lane will no longer be offered during the 2019 season.
• The Rail at the 1863 Club: Fans are invited to experience The Rail at the 1863 Club, the first-floor banquet space at the all-new hospitality venue, for only $50 per person as part of an Opening Weekend special. Reservations are available by calling the NYRA Box Office at 844-NYRA-TIX.
• 28th annual Hat Contest: Sunday's festivities will include the 28th annual Hat Contest, presented by Moet & Chandon and Hat Sationa! By DEI. Fans will compete for prizes in three categories: Kreative Kids, Fashionably Saratoga and Uniquely Saratoga. Registration for the Hat Contest begins at noon underneath Section A of the grandstand. Hats will be judged after the second, third and fourth races.
• Berkshire Bank Family Adventure Sundays: The popular kid-oriented weekly event, now held on Sundays, will feature a wide variety of free family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. The theme for Opening Weekend is "A Day at the Beach" featuring a surf simulator, sand art station and hermit crab racing.
• Low Roller Challenge: Every Sunday will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Entrants will also have an opportunity to qualify for the Saratoga Challenge on Friday, August 9. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.
All events and activities are subject to change at the discretion of NYRA.