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What’s Happening Week #5 at Saratoga Race Course

By Mark Bardack | 08/12/2014 03:25 PM ET

WHAT:           Week #5 of Saratoga Race Course

WHEN:           Wednesday, August 13 – Monday, August 18




African-American Day (International Heritage Series): The New York Racing Association, Inc. will host African-American Day at Saratoga Race Course. The event is the fourth installment of the International Heritage Series, a weekly celebration of global culture and heritage during the 2014 summer meet. The day-long festive event will feature traditional music, dance, entertainment, crafts and food from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Saratoga Pavilion.

Exhibits from the coordinating organization of Solomon Northup Day will be on display in the Saratoga Pavilion throughout the afternoon. Solomon Northup Day honors the local heritage of Northup, a Saratoga violinist who was sold into slavery in 1841 and the subject of the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave, while highlighting the African-American community of Saratoga Springs.

Step dancers and jazz musicians will greet guests at the grandstand and clubhouse entrances throughout the morning. Entertainers with Team Onyx Youth Step Dance will perform trackside at 12:40 p.m. The day’s entertainment at the Pavilion and bandstand will include: the Soul Session Duo featuring Garland Nelson;Capital District Keys for Kids Choir; Wassa Pan-Afrika Dance Ensemble; Team Onyx Youth Step Dance; and Lucy Taylor Davidic Dance.

Food samples will be available in the Saratoga Pavilion from Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen in Albany and The Flying Chicken in Troy.


New York Chaplaincy Fundraiser: The Rev. Dr. Eddie Donnally, a former jockey and journalist who received an Eclipse Award for Outstanding Newspaper Writing in 1984, will be the keynote speaker at the New York Chaplaincy Fundraiser at 11 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. The New York Division of the Racetrack Chaplaincy, led by Rev. Humberto Chavez, is a non-denominational Christian non-profit that provides physical, emotional and spiritual care to the backstretch workers at Saratoga, Aqueduct and Belmont Park. Tickets for the event are $100 per person. Donnally will sign copies of his autobiography “Ride the White Horse: a Checkered Jockey’s Story of Racing, Rage and Redemption” during the event; at Saratoga Race Course in the afternoon; and that evening at Impressions in Saratoga Springs for a donation of $15.



Taste NY: Wine & Cheese:The weekly Taste NY: Wine & Cheese tasting will return to the Saratoga Pavilion with expanded hours from noon to 4:30 p.m. The event allows track patrons the opportunity to sample varietals of wine from numerous New York State wineries. Guests will receive five tastings for $10; 10 tastings for $15; or 20 tastings for $30. This week’s event will feature Heron Hill Winery; Thirsty Owl Saratoga; Swedish Hill Winery; The Saratoga Winery; Lakeland Winery; Thousand Island Winery; Adirondack Winery; Hudson-Chatham Winery; and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards.



Fabulous Fillies Day: The New York Racing Association will pay tribute to the role of women in thoroughbred racing with the annual Fabulous Fillies Day at Saratoga Race Course. The celebration will be highlighted on-track with decorative pink bunting and flowers. The iconic Sea Hero statue in the paddock will also be draped with a pink horse blanket and all New York Racing Association staff members will wear pink ribbons. All jockeys will wear pink armbands to commemorate the occasion. Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to make monetary donations to the BCRF at numerous areas throughout the track during the day.

Guests will be invited to enter the Northeastern Fine Jewelry “Prettiest in Pink” Twitter contest. Participating fans are instructed to post a selfie photo taken at Saratoga Race Course on Twitter and tag @TheNYRA using the hashtag #NEFJPrettiestinPink for the chance to win a $100 gift card from Northeastern Fine Jewelry.

The centerpiece of Fabulous Fillies Day will be the Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hat Luncheon presented by Escada at 11:30 a.m. in the At the Rail Pavilion. This year’s luncheon is in honor of Stella Thayer, past president and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The luncheon will feature guest speaker Larry Norton, MD, leading the discussion Breast Cancer: How We Are Winning the Race. The event will be emceed by NYRA TV Analyst Maggie Wolfendale. General tickets are $150 per person. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Ticket availability is limited; for additional information call 646-497-2615 or email lgales@bcrfcure.org.


College Day: Students will once again be invited back to Saratoga Race Course for the chance to win one of two $1,000 scholarships. Students may register in the backyard near the Big Red Spring beginning at 11 a.m. All college students who register will receive a $5 voucher.


Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider: The weekly Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider tasting will return to the Saratoga Pavilion with expanded hours from noon to 4:30 p.m. The event will allow track patrons the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers produced exclusively by New York State breweries. As many as a dozen breweries from New York State will be featured throughout the meet. Guests receive five tastings for $5. This week’s lead breweries are Olde Saratoga Brewing Company and FX Matt Brewing Co.



Alabama Day:Saturday features two stakes races for the nation’s top 3-year-old fillies – the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at the classic distance of a mile and a quarter and the Grade 2, $300,000 Knob Creek Lake Placid on the turf.


Lord & Taylor Fashion Saturdays: This weekly event is designed to highlight the tradition of style and glamour in thoroughbred racing with a Lord & Taylor pop-up shop at the Saratoga Pavilion each Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Track patrons will be invited to dress their best for the chance to be crowned Most Fashionable at Saratoga. Two winners every week will each receive a $250 Lord & Taylor gift card and have the opportunity to present a trophy in the winner’s circle.



Sword Dancer Invitational: The day’s feature race is the Grade 1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational for older horses on the turf.


Jockey Autograph Session of “Best Photo Ever” to Benefit Michael Strait: Each of the 22 members of the Saratoga jockey colony featured in the “Best Photo Ever” will sign copies from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. outside the Jockey Silks Room for a $10 donation to benefit former jockey Michael Strait, who retired in 2009 following injuries sustained in an accident at Arlington Park. The event is sponsored by The New York Division of the Racetrack Chaplaincy and the Stadium Café.


Taste NY: Food and Artisans: Taste NY: Food & Artisans is a lively on-track market of up to 19 food and artisan vendors featuring products made exclusively in New York State. The market is held each Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Saratoga Pavilion.


Travers 1864 Restaurant Week: More than 30 restaurants and eateries throughout the greater Capital Region will offer special pricing and menus in celebration of the crowned jewel of the Spa racing season during the fifth annual Travers 1864 Restaurant Week. From Sunday, August 17 through Thursday, August 21, diners have the opportunity to indulge in a three-course meal at participating restaurants for the prix-fixe cost of $18.64, the year of the inaugural running of the Travers, the nation’s oldest major stakes race for 3-year-olds. For a complete list of participating restaurants and to view the prix-fixe menus, please visit www.nyra.com/saratogaevents.



Berkshire Bank Family Mondays: Monday will be highlighted by Berkshire Bank Family Mondays – a weekly attraction held every Monday from noon to 4 p.m. inside the Saratoga Pavilion. The weekly event features a variety of free family-friendly activities for all ages, including face painting, arts and crafts, mascot appearances and bounce inflatables. This week’s featured activity will invite families to get a glimpse at what life was like for children at the end of the 19thcentury with a mobile version of the “Days Gone By” exhibit from the Scotia-Glenville Children’s Museum. The exhibit will feature various toys, game, appliances and horse-related items from the 19thcentury.  


Low Rollers Handicapping Contest: Saratoga Race Course will host a live-money Low Rollers Handicapping Contest each Monday of the 2014 summer season. The tournament allows guests the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live money and $10 to the prize pool. Participants must select five races on which to place live $2 win, place and show wagers on five different horses in five different races. Only Saratoga races are accepted for contest play. Guests are invited to register on the first floor of the grandstand before post time for the day’s fifth race.