by Pat McKenna
The New York Racing Association, Inc. today announced a 40-day lineup of entertainment and special events for the 2018 summer season at Saratoga Race Course. The event schedule for the annual summer meet will feature a number of new happenings alongside returning traditions and perennial favorites.
New for 2018, Coca-Cola will serve as the official sponsor of the Saratoga Pavilion, the on-track venue where NYRA hosts 40 days of special events. The Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion is where fans will gather to enjoy the majority of event activities during the summer meet.
"All of us at NYRA are thrilled to welcome Coca-Cola to the Saratoga Pavilion, where we orchestrate a variety of fun events and engaging activities each summer. Our event schedule offers something for everyone and perfectly complements the 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at the Spa," said NYRA Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer Lynn LaRocca. "We look forward to welcoming fans to enjoy another season of outstanding entertainment and special events at Saratoga, and encourage them to make the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion a must-see stop during their visit."
Among the notable enhancements to this season's event lineup, the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will host Fashion Saturdays, designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing by creating a boutique-style shopping experience. The weekly event will feature an array of women's and men's fashion apparel and accessories from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items throughout the season.
The 2018 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will include the following events and happenings:
The 2018 annual summer meet will kick-off with the traditional Grade III Schuylerville and Grade III Lake George.
Taste NY: Craft Beer will allow guests the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers produced exclusively by New York State breweries. The tasting will be held 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.
Guests will be invited to stay on-track after the day's final race to enjoy bourbon cocktails and play trivia to win special prizes from Woodford Reserve at The Post Bar. The weekly event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.
Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women's and men's fashion apparel and accessories from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items throughout the season. The event will be held each Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.
Guests are invited to the Jim Dandy Bar to sample Woodford Reserve Saratoga Personal Selection, crafted exclusively for racing fans at the Spa. The weekly event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.
Fans are invited to sample the new Ketel One Botanicals from 3 to 5 p.m. and enjoy music from a live DJ and dancing under the stars following the day's final race.
Hundreds of contestants will don creative and fashionable head toppers to compete in what has become a staple of Opening Weekend at Saratoga Race Course: the 27th annual Hat Contest. Registration begins at noon under the grandstand for three categories. The contests for Kreative Kids, Fashionably Saratoga and Uniquely Saratoga will take place after the second, third and fourth races of the afternoon. Prizes are provided by Hat sationa! by DEI.
Taste NY: Food & Artisans is a lively on-track market of numerous food and artisan vendors featuring products made exclusively in New York State. The market will be held each Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will also have the opportunity to learn about NYRA Bets.
Sundays and Mondays 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. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.
The Berkshire Bank Family Mondays series will feature a wide variety of family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Monday of the meet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. All games and activities are free with the exception of one each week designated to support a local school or PTA.
Saratoga Race Course will pay tribute to active military members and veterans in appreciation of their sacrifice and service to our nation. The Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will feature exhibits and activities throughout the day. All veterans and active duty military will receive free Grandstand admission with military ID. Military Day is presented in partnership with JDog, owned and operated by local military veterans and family members.
Taste NY: Cider, Wine & Spirits will allow guests the opportunity to sample varietals of cider, wine and spirits from numerous New York State distilleries and wineries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Thursday of the meet 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.
Each Thursday, guests will have the opportunity to sample Aperol Spritz cocktails at The Post Bar from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Fans are also invited to stay on-track after racing to enjoy music from a live DJ and dancing under the stars.
Saratoga Race Course will unite with racetracks across the country on Saturday with autograph signings and photo opportunities as part of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund (PDJF) Day Across America.
Saratoga Race Course will honor police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics during First Responders Appreciation Day. The Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will feature exhibits and activities throughout the day, including free youth bicycle helmets and fittings, while supplies last. All first responders will receive free Grandstand admission with proper ID.
The Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney will pair with the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test for 3-year-old fillies, and the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for turf fillies and mares. Also on Saturday are two additional turf stakes: the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure and the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose for fillies and mares.
Some of the greatest riders in the history of thoroughbred racing will gather at Saratoga Race Course for the fourth annual Jockey Legends Day. The day's activities will feature special appearances by some of the Spa's most accomplished riders and autograph signings with a suggested donation to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund.
The charm and spirit of Italy will come trackside when Saratoga Race Course hosts Italian-American Day. The day-long celebration of Italian culture and heritage will feature traditional Italian music, dance, food, entertainment and games at the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The afternoon will also include an Aperol Spritz tasting at The Stretch, located inside the Grandstand at the Top of the Stretch.
Saratoga Race Course will celebrate women and their contributions to the thoroughbred industry while raising funds to support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation on Fabulous Fillies Day. This year's event will for the first-time honor local breast cancer survivors during special winner's circle presentations throughout the afternoon in partnership with To Life! The day will also feature the return of the Best in Pink fashion contest for women and men, sponsored by vineyard vines and Moet & Chandon. A highlight of the day will be the Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hat Luncheon, presented by vineyard vines and Moet & Chandon, along with Saratoga Living. This year's luncheon will honor Vivien Malloy, owner of Edition Farm and secretary and treasurer of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders.
The pair of live money challenges will occur as two separate one-day contests. The Saratoga Challenge on Friday will guarantee a first-place payout of $15,000, as well as awarding entries to the 2019 Belmont Stakes Challenge to the top finishers and the 2019 National Handicapping Championship to the top three finishers. The Fourstardave Challenge on Saturday will guarantee a first-place payout of $25,000, as well as awarding the same entries as on Friday. Both challenges will consist of wagering exclusively on Saratoga races through the following pools only: Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Quinella and Daily Double. Friday is a $1,000 minimum buy-in; Saturday is a $2,000 minimum buy-in. For more information about the Saratoga Challenges, visit www.NYRA.com/Challenge.
Saratoga Race Course will highlight the majestic Adirondacks region, including the home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid. The day-long event at the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will feature activities, exhibits and entertainment which showcase the great attractions of the Adirondacks in upstate New York.
Saratoga will honor the legacy of trainer Dominic Galluscio with a day to benefit The Lustgarten Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance scientific and medical research related to pancreatic cancer. The day will feature an autograph session with various Saratoga trainers to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation.
Saratoga will bring racing fans extra luck during Irish-American Day. The day-long celebration of culture and heritage will feature traditional Irish music, dance, food and entertainment at the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Racing fans will compete in the ultimate in chilly contests at the annual Stewart's Ice Cream Eating Contest. Contestants will be divided into three age groups - kids, teens and adults - as they battle to see who can eat a pint of ice cream the fastest. Saratoga season passes are currently on sale at more than 150 Stewart's Shops locations.
Travers weekend will kick off with New York Showcase Day, featuring six stakes races exclusively for New York-breds, including the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles and the $200,000 Funny Cide for budding New York-bred stars. Guests in the At the Rail Pavilion will have the opportunity to sample Notorious Pink Rose from 2 to 4 p.m.
The 149th running of the $1.25 million Travers will be the centerpiece of a supercharged Travers Day. Joining the Mid-Summer Derby for 3-year-olds will be five other Grade 1 stakes: the $1 million Sword Dancer Invitational at 1 ½ miles on the turf, the $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina for filly and mare sprinters, the $600,000 Forego at seven furlongs, the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, and the $700,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa for turf fillies and mares.
This year's College Day will invite college students and alumni to enjoy an afternoon at the Spa. The Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion will feature an array of special activities and giveaways for guests.
NYRA will thank its fans with a series of special events, activities and offers during closing week of the 2018 season at Saratoga Race Course.
The 2018 meet will come to a close with the traditional final feature race, the 114thrunning of the Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds, which affords racing fans a preview of potential standouts in next year's Triple Crown series and Travers.
Season ticket plans, weekly ticket plans, single-day reserved seats, premium reserved seats in The Stretch, reserved tables in the Miller Lite Picnic Paddock and the Fourstardave Sports Bar, dining and group hospitality are currently on sale and available for purchase.
Season admission passes may be purchased online and in-person at more than 150 Stewart's Shops locations throughout the Capital Region. A season pass provides fans with admission to 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course, including the Grade 1 Travers on Saturday, August 25 and the Grade 1 Whitney on Saturday, August 4. The cost of a 2018 Grandstand season pass is $40; a Clubhouse season pass is $65. Season passes do not include reserved seating and are valid for one admission.
Single-day Grandstand admission is $5 and Clubhouse admission is $8 for guests who purchase their tickets prior to the day of the event. Single-day Grandstand admission is $7 and Clubhouse admission is $10 when purchased at the gate.
The 2018 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which includes 69 stakes worth $18.8 million in purses, will run from Friday, July 20, through Labor Day, Monday, September 3. After opening weekend, racing will be conducted six days a week, Wednesdays through Mondays. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit www.NYRA.com/Saratoga.