Opening Day to be highlighted by debut of new hospitality area The Stretch
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – 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 2018 season at Saratoga Race Course, Friday, July 20 through Monday, July 23.
The 2018 season will get underway July 20 with gates opening at 11 a.m. Post time for the first race is 1 p.m. Single-day Grandstand admission is $5 and Clubhouse admission is $8 for guests who purchase their tickets prior to the day of the event. Single-day Grandstand admission is $7 and Clubhouse admission is $10 when purchased at the gate. Limited reserved seating is available for Opening Weekend.
Grandstand and Clubhouse admission may be purchased in advance online at Ticketmaster.com or in-person at the New York Racing Association (NYRA) Box Office at Saratoga Race Course.
Season admission passes are available for purchase at NYRA.com and in-person at the NYRA Box Office at Saratoga Race Course, as well as at more than 150 Stewart’s Shops locations throughout the Capital Region. The cost of a 2018 Grandstand season pass is $40; a Clubhouse season pass is $65. A season pass covers admission all 40 days of the meet; reserved seating is not included.
“A visit to Saratoga Race Course is a summer tradition for racing fans. We are pleased to continue to invest in this historic and much beloved sporting venue as we provide the best experience possible for both our current guests and the generations of racing fans to come,” said NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay. “We look forward to welcoming the best fans in the sport back to Saratoga this summer for another tremendous season, highlighted by thrilling racing, new preservation efforts merged with modern and upgraded hospitality areas, and exciting entertainment.”
Opening Weekend will feature five graded stakes, led by the 80th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana on Saturday, July 21 and the 102nd running of the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks on Sunday, July 22. The 2018 graded stakes action kicks off on Opening Day, July 20, with the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville and Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George. In addition to the Diana, Saturday’s card will also include the 104th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford.
The 2018 season will be marked by the debut of Saratoga’s newest hospitality area: The Stretch, located in the Grandstand at the Top of the Stretch. The major capital improvement project, which is the first significant enhancement to the structure since the mid-1960s, will offer fans an all-new private hospitality area featuring modern and upscale amenities in a casual environment with breathtaking views of thoroughbreds rounding the final turn as they enter the dramatic stretch run.
The Stretch will offer a total of 32 new modern boxes, each offering unique configurations accommodating parties ranging from four to 12 guests. Guests will also enjoy an upscale bar which is bordered by a drink rail facing the main track with a total of 20 bar seats. Additionally, a two-tiered dining area alongside the bar will feature four, six and eight-person tables. The front section of The Stretch will contain approximately 200 premium reserved seats, available for daily reservation, which are each flanked by a table.
Ticket holders to The Stretch will enjoy exclusive access to a full-service bar, kitchen and concessions, high-definition televisions and video screens, special events, and private restrooms. Guests will also enjoy a relaxed dress code at The Stretch.
Single-day tickets for premium reserved seats in The Stretch may be purchased through Ticketmaster.com. Additional hospitality within The Stretch may be available on an extremely limited basis, including boxes, dining tables and bar seats.
NYRA will offer several special wagering opportunities for racing fans on Opening Weekend, including the return of the NYRA Bets Lake Pick 5. The multi-race wager, which quickly became one of the most popular bets in the nation last summer, covers the last five races of every card of live racing at Saratoga. It features a minimum single-ticket payout of $150,000 daily and $300,000 on Saturdays to NYRA Bets customers nationwide online and on-track in New York. The offer is only available to NYRA Bets customers.
On Saturday, July 21, NYRA will partner with Saratoga Casino Hotel to offer a special day/night, cross-breed Daily Double wager comprised of the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana and the 10th annual $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial Pace, the premier race for standardbreds at Saratoga Harness. The “Toga Toga” Daily Double, hosted by NYRA, includes a $1 minimum wager and will be available on-track at both Saratoga Race Course and Saratoga Harness as well as through NYRA Bets, ADW platforms and at simulcast facilities across the country.
Opening Day will also welcome the return of NYRA’s flagship television show Saratoga Live, presented by Claiborne Farm. Launched to critical acclaim in 2016, Saratoga Live will reach a national and regional audience of 75 million homes every live race day from Saratoga on FS2 and through regional sports networks including MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports San Diego and Altitude Sports.
Saratoga Live’s 2018 broadcast team includes host Greg Wolf, handicapper Andy Serling, analysts Gabby Gaudet and Paul Lo Duca, paddock analyst Maggie Wolfendale, and trainer Tom Amoss. To access the full 2018 schedule, visit www.NYRA.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
Guests at Saratoga Race Course will once again enjoy 40 days of special events and activities this summer, highlighted by the following during Opening Weekend:
- 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 Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion from noon to 5 p.m.
- The Saturday debut of Fashion Saturdays, a weekly event offering a boutique-style shopping experience featuring women’s and men’s fashion apparel and accessories from local retailers, as well as a selection of home décor, jewelry and beauty items. The event will be held each Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.
- On Sunday, fans will enjoy the first giveaway of the season – a black Saratoga baseball cap featuring the traditional Saratoga logo emblazoned in red, presented by Saratoga Casino Hotel. All giveaways are free with paid admission, while supplies last. Guests who purchase a season pass or season ticket plan are guaranteed to receive the Saratoga baseball cap and each premium Saratoga giveaway item based on the following guidelines: Season pass or season ticket holders must be present at Saratoga Race Course on the day of the giveaway; enter through the designated season ticket holder lines; and redeem the giveaway by no later than 3 p.m. Redemptions will begin on Sunday when gates open to the general public at 10:30 a.m.
- The 27th annual Hat Contest, presented by Hat Sationa! by DEI, on Sunday. 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 Coca-Cola 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 Lisha Kill Middle School.
Guests can also enjoy Breakfast at Saratoga, presented by the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), 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 available on a first-come, first-served basis from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The morning buffet is available for $18.50 for adults and $10.25 for kids ages 12 and under. Mornings at Saratoga also welcome fans to go behind the scenes with a free, guided backstretch tram tour, courtesy of CDTA. 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.
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.
Season ticket plans, weekly ticket plans, single-day reserved seats, premium reserved seats in The Stretch, reserved tables in the Miller Lite Picnic Paddock and the Fourstardave Sports Bar, dining and group hospitality are currently on sale and available for purchase at NYRA.com.
The 2018 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course, which includes 69 stakes worth $18.8 million in purses, will run from Friday, July 20, through Labor Day, Monday, September 3. After opening weekend, racing will be conducted six days a week, Wednesdays through Mondays. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com.