SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. will pay tribute to the nation’s service members and veterans during Military Appreciation Day at Saratoga Race Course on Thursday, August 28.
The day will feature free grandstand admission for all United States military service members and veterans with valid military ID or proof of military service. Additionally, the New York Racing Association will honor a service member or veteran during each race throughout the afternoon.
The New York Racing Association will pay tribute to its service member and veteran employees with a special ceremony in the winner’s circle at 12:40 p.m. United States Military Academy Master Sergeant MaryKay Messenger will perform the National Anthem, which will be accompanied by a Presentation of Colors from members of the Navy Operational Support Center Schenectady Honor Guard and NSA Saratoga.
Veterans of World War II will be recognized in the winner’s circle following the day’s third race, named in honor of Military Appreciation Day. The veterans are beneficiaries of the Leatherstocking Honor Flight, which transports American veterans to Washington D.C. to visit national memorials dedicated to honoring their service and sacrifices.
Before the day’s third race, the participating veterans will ring the traditional Saratoga bell in the winner’s circle seven times at 17 minutes to post to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge, which both occurred in 1944 and are recognized as pivotal moments of World War II.
Cadet Messenger will return to the winner’s circle following the day’s sixth race at approximately 3:10 p.m. to perform God Bless America.
Artwork created by veterans participating in a program in partnership with Living Resources; the Department of Veterans Affairs; Veterans Housing and Services; and Soldier On will be on display at the Jockey Silks Room Porch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The art therapy program is designed to assist veterans as they adjust to life as civilians and heal the physical, psychological, or cognitive effects of time in the service.
Artist Phil Singer will create a sand sculpture featuring the United States flag, which will be positioned next to the Clubhouse/Grandstand exchange. Singer will begin constructing the sculpture on Wednesday afternoon before completing the artwork on Thursday morning.
Representatives from Leatherstocking Honor Flight, Operation Adopt a Soldier, the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center and the Saratoga County Veterans Office will provide track guests with information about their services at the Jockey Silks Room Porch throughout the afternoon.
For more information about Veterans Day at Saratoga Race Course, visit www.nyra.com/saratogaevents.