by Pat McKenna / Mark Bardack
Rivera to be celebrated with special Winner's Circle ceremony on Friday, July 12
Limited number of tickets available for meet and greet luncheon with Rivera
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, July 12 as part of Opening Weekend festivities for the 2019 summer meet.
The special visit to Saratoga Race Course 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.
NYRA will honor Rivera with a ceremony in the winner's circle in recognition of the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader.
"We are thrilled to welcome Mariano Rivera to Saratoga Race Course for what is sure to be an exciting and memorable day for sports fans. Mariano is truly one of the most beloved and respected players of all time and his visit will only further enhance the festivities surrounding Opening Weekend," said NYRA CEO & President Dave O'Rourke. "We encourage racing and baseball fans to join us as we congratulate Mo on his unparalleled accomplishments and give him a rousing send off to Cooperstown for his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame."
Fans will have an opportunity to meet the 13-time All-Star, regarded as the best closer in baseball history, during a luncheon in the Paddock Tent from noon to 1:30 p.m.
The event will feature an exclusive meet and greet and Q&A session with Rivera, photo opportunities and auction featuring authentic Rivera memorabilia.
Tickets to the luncheon are $250 and limited to the first 100 fans. Tickets include a buffet lunch and non-alcoholic beverages in the Paddock Tent which overlooks the historic paddock at Saratoga Race Course. Tickets are available for purchase online at NYRA.com/Rivera or by calling the NYRA Box Office at 844-NYRA-TIX.
Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit one of Rivera's numerous charitable endeavors.
Rivera spent all 19 years of his major league career with the New York Yankees, retiring after the 2013 season with a record 652 saves. He finished with a 2.21 ERA, the lowest in the Live Ball era among pitchers who threw at least 1,000 innings.
Rivera shined the brightest during the post-season where he compiled 42 saves and posted a remarkable 0.70 ERA in helping the Yankees win five World Series titles and seven American League pennants.
Opening Weekend at Saratoga Race Course will get underway with Opening Day on Thursday, July 11 and run through Sunday, July 14. Opening Weekend will feature six stakes races, including the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies on Opening Day. Saratoga's first Grade 1 of the season will be contested on Saturday, July 13: the $500,000 Diana for turf fillies and mares.
Following Opening Weekend, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.
Among the highlights of the 2019 season are Opening Weekend, July 11-14; the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on Saturday, August 24; and the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on Saturday, August 3.
For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.