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Saratoga Race Course to Celebrate Official 150th Anniversary with Day of Special Events and Activities

By Eric Wing; Mark Bardack | 08/02/2013 03:10 PM ET






WHAT: The New York Racing Association, Inc. will host a series of events and activities to celebrate the official 150th anniversary of racing in Saratoga.

Coinciding with the running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap, Saturday will formally commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first organized four-day race meeting in Saratoga Springs which commenced on August 3, 1863.

WHEN:          Saturday, August 3
                        Gates Open at 10:30 a.m.
WHERE:       Saratoga Race Course
                        267 Union Avenue
                        Saratoga Springs, New York

DETAILS:     Saratoga Race Course will celebrate its official 150th anniversary with a day of exciting events and activities to commemorate the sesquicentennial.

  • 6 to 10:30 a.m. The Whitney Viewing Stand will open to the public for morning training. Overlooking the Oklahoma Training Track, the Whitney Viewing Stand offers the public the opportunity to view the morning workouts at Oklahoma for the first time in more than a decade. The viewing stand is named in honor of one of thoroughbred racing’s most prominent families and dedicated patrons, the Whitneys.
  • 10 a.m. Celebratory music will greet fans as they enter the Clubhouse and Union Avenue entrances.
  • 10:30 a.m. (Gates Open) Fans in attendance Saturday will receive a free commemorative Saratoga Sesquicentennial poster designed by equine cartoonist Pierre E. “Peb” Bellocq. The poster features legendary figures from the past 150 years at Saratoga and is free with paid admission, while supplies last.
  • 11:30 a.m. Award-winning a cappella women’s chorus Saratoga Soundtrack of Saratoga Springs will perform a special rendition of the National Anthem in the winner’s circle.
  • 2:30 p.m. Congressman Paul Tonko will present an official proclamation in honor of the 150th anniversary following the day’s fourth race in the winner’s circle.
  • 3:00 p.m. The Preservation League of New York State will present The New York Racing Association with a commemorative plaque in honor of the 150th anniversary following the day’s fifth race in the winner’s circle.
  • 3:35 p.m. The day’s sixth race will be named the Saratoga Sesquicentennial in honor of the 150th anniversary celebration. Jockeys participating in the race will wear commemorative red and white “holder caps” to honor the era in which the first meet was held.
  • Following the sixth race, The New York Racing Association will receive an official proclamation from the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declaring August 3, 2013, as Saratoga Race Course Sesquicentennial Day.
  • City of Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson will also deliver an official proclamation in honor of the 150th anniversary.
  • 3:40 p.m. A special ceremony in the winner’s circle will include a formal cutting of the specially designed cake from Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery, the setting for the popular television series “Cake Boss.” The cake, designed to replicate the historic track, is 4-by-4 feet and nearly two feet high. Saratoga Soundtrack will also return for a special rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
  • 5:35 p.m. The first participant in the $15,000 win wager contest - Kevin Brockley of Gansevoort, NY - will place his wager with a mutuel clerk in the winner’s circle.  The contest is sponsored by Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, honorary chairs of the Saratoga 150 Committee.
  • 5:45 p.m. For the first time in the history of the Whitney Invitational Handicap, a special custom-designed horse blanket, made of Marylou Whitney pink roses, and a new permanent, sterling silver, three-handled chalice trophy will commemorate the historic Grade 1 race.

Additionally, the track décor and atmosphere will assume a Victorian flair, underscored by a period Freihofer’s coach from the 1800s positioned outside the Clubhouse gates and characters dressed in Victorian-era costume strolling the grounds.

For additional information about events at Saratoga Race Course, visit www.nyra.com/saratoga/information/events.