SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. will honor the tradition of millinery in thoroughbred racing with two events on Sunday, July 24, as part of a series of festivities during opening weekend of the 2016 season at Saratoga Race Course, presented by NYRA Bets.

Hundreds of contestants will don creative and fashionable millinery to compete in what has become a staple of opening weekend at Saratoga Race Course: the 25th annual Hat Contest. Registration begins at noon under the grandstand for three categories. Hats will be judged after the second, third and fourth races on the track apron.

Kreative Kids marks the first category of the afternoon and is reserved for those 18 and under. Participants will vie for the first, second and third place prizes of fascinators from Hatsational by DEI, as well as gift certificates for Saratoga Race Course merchandise.

The Fashionably Saratoga category invites contestants to don elegant and stylish hats after the third race. Following the fourth race, the most original artisans will compete in the Uniquely Saratoga category.

The first place winner in both the Fashionably and Uniquely Saratoga category will each receive a $100 gift certificate to Hatsational by DEI. Second and third place winners will receive $50 and $25 gift certificates from Hatsational by DEI, respectively. All gift certificates to Hatsational by DEI are valid at both of the hat retailer’s store locations in Saratoga Springs at 322 and 510 Broadway.

The opening Sunday of the Saratoga season will also include the first giveaway – a Saratoga baseball cap, presented by Saratoga Casino Hotel, free with paid admission, while supplies last.

For the first time, all season ticket plan and season pass holders will be guaranteed to receive a premium giveaway if they redeem the item by 3 p.m. Season pass and season ticket plan holders will be required to utilize the line designated for them at each entry gate in order to be guaranteed a baseball cap.

Sunday also marks the return of Taste NY: Food and Artisans, which welcomes guests to sample and shop food and craft items made exclusively by New York producers, including jams, baked goods and hand-crafted soap, amongst other items. The weekly market is held every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Saratoga Pavilion, presented by Time Warner Cable News.

Sunday will feature the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. The purse for the Coaching Club will increase to $500,000 from $300,000 contingent upon Songbird, the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champion, starting in the race.

Season ticket plans and season passes are available for purchase online at or at the Saratoga Race Course Box Office on Union Avenue. Saratoga season passes ($35 Grandstand, $55 Clubhouse) may also be purchased at more than 200 Stewart’s Shops locations. Season passes are valid for admission all 40 days of the meet. For a complete list of retail locations, visit

All season ticket plan and season pass holders are eligible to take advantage of an expanded Saratoga Season Perks program, which includes 10 percent discounts at most on-track concession stands, NYRA merchandise stores and Shake Shack on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and the Artist’s Village on Fridays. The discount is valid with proof of a season pass or perks card. Discount does not apply to lottery, tobacco, restaurant dining, group sales or Dunkin’ Donuts.

Season perks members also receive 10 percent discounts at dozens of off-track locations, including Live Nation concerts at SPAC, Saratoga shops, restaurants, entertainment and other sporting events. For a complete list of participating Saratoga Season Perks partners, visit

All season pass holders are required to provide a photo in order to activate their season pass. Activation instructions, including information on how to upload a digital photo, are available at Pass holders may also activate their season pass at the Saratoga Race Course Box Office on Union Avenue. The New York Racing Association strongly encourages season pass holders to upload their digital photos to expedite processing at the box office which will be closed on Tuesday, July 19 and will not process season passes during opening weekend.

The 2016 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course begins on Friday, July 22 and concludes on Labor Day, Monday, September 5. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, call (518) 584-6200 or log onto 

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