Opening weekend at Saratoga Race Course to feature new attractions and returning favorites for 2017 season
by Pat McKenna and Mark Bardack
Racing fans will be greeted by a series of exciting new attractions, perennial-favorite events and world-class thoroughbred racing when they return to the Spa for opening weekend of the 2017 racing season at Saratoga Race Course, Friday, July 21 through Monday, July 24.
The 2017 season will get underway July 21 with gates opening at 11 a.m. Post time for the first race is 1 p.m. Grandstand admission is $5 and clubhouse admission is $8.
Guests in attendance for Opening Weekend will be treated to many capital improvements and upgrades, including a revitalized playground area offering families a smoke- and alcohol-free interactive play area near the Reserved Seats Box Office and the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion.
- The inaugural
Friday edition of Taste NY: Craft Beer, which offers guests a selection of
New York craft beers available for sampling on Opening Day and each
consecutive Friday of the meet. Fans will be able to sample five craft
beers for $5 at the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion from noon to 5 p.m.
- The Saturday debut of Taste NY: Food and Artisans, a lively on-track market where guests can sample and shop food and crafts in the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will for the first time expand to two days, having previously been held only on Sundays. The market will be held each Saturday and Sunday of the 2017 meet. The events will be complemented by handicapping tutorials and racing tips from the Bets Squad, as well as the opportunity to learn more about NYRA Bets and NYRA XP.
- On Sunday, fans will enjoy the first giveaway of the season – a red and white Saratoga baseball cap, presented by Saratoga Casino Hotel. All giveaways are free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season pass and season ticket plan holders are guaranteed a Saratoga premium giveaway item on the day of the giveaway contingent on the following: Season pass or season ticket plan holders must be in attendance at Saratoga Race Course, enter through the designated season ticket and pass holder lines and redeem the giveaway by 3 p.m. Redemptions will begin when gates open to the general public.
- The 26th annual Hat Contest, presented by Hat Sationa! by DEI, on Sunday, July 23. Participants are invited to compete in three distinct categories: Uniquely Saratoga; Fashionably Saratoga; and Kreative Kids. Registration for the Hat Contest will begin at noon under the grandstand. 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 provided by Hat Sationa! by DEI.
- Berkshire Bank Family Mondays, held each Monday of the meet at the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All kid-friendly games and activities, including the opportunity to pet a retired thoroughbred, are free of charge, with the exception of one designated activity which carries a suggested donation to benefit a local school or PTA. The beneficiary of the first Monday of the season is Brown School in Schenectady.
Guests can also enjoy Breakfast at Saratoga, presented by the B95.5 FM Breakfast Club, held daily (except Travers Day), during which fans are invited to enjoy breakfast on The Porch of the Clubhouse 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 available for $18.50 for adults and $10.25 for kids. Mornings at Saratoga also welcome fans to go behind the scenes with a free, guided backstretch tram tour. Tram tours begin at 7:30 a.m. and depart from the Clubhouse entrance approximately every 15 minutes through 9 a.m. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are 45 minutes in length.
The New York Racing Association reminds guests to allot extra time for arrival due to security screening at the admission gates.
Coolers are not permitted inside the building or clubhouse at any time. Coolers no larger than 12" x 18" are permitted on the trackside apron and Top of the Stretch and must be kept off seats and out of aisles. Coolers are subject to search by NYRA security at any time. Guests are reminded that these policies will be strictly enforced.
The 2017 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course begins on Friday, July 21 and concludes on Labor Day, Monday, September 4. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit www.NYRA.com/Saratoga.