Opening Day to be highlighted by debut of new hospitality area: the 1863 Club
Mariano Rivera Day, Madison VanDenburg concert and picnic cooler giveaway among highlights of Opening Weekend
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will welcome fans back to the Spa for an action-packed four days filled with world-class thoroughbred racing and outstanding special events during Opening Weekend of the 2019 season at Saratoga Race Course, Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14.
The 2019 season will get underway when gates open at 11 a.m. on Opening Day, Thursday, July 11. Gates will open at 11 a.m. each day of the meet, including weekends, with the exception of Travers Day, Saturday, August 24. Post time for the first race on Opening Day is 1 p.m.
“The summer season at Saratoga is always special and this year will be no exception. From the best racing in the world, including the 150th running of the Runhappy Travers and the Spa debut of the Turf Triple Series, to the much-anticipated opening of the 1863 Club, to exciting events and entertainment, Saratoga continues to offer an outstanding experience for all racing fans,” said NYRA CEO & President Dave O’Rourke. “We look forward to welcoming back the owners, trainers and jockeys and encourage fans to join us for what is shaping up to be a truly spectacular season.”
Grandstand admission is $7 and Clubhouse admission is $10. 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 NYRA Box Office at Saratoga Race Course. Fans can save $2 on grandstand admission for Opening Weekend (valid July 11-13) with a voucher available at participating Stewart’s Shops and Saratoga Downtown Business Association locations.
Opening Weekend will feature six stakes, including the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies on Opening Day. Saratoga’s first Grade 1 of the season will be contested on Saturday, July 13: the $500,000 Diana for turf fillies and mares.
Fans nationwide will have an even greater opportunity to enjoy the 2019 season with an expanded broadcast schedule for NYRA’s acclaimed television show Saratoga Live in partnership with Fox Sports. Saratoga Live will feature live coverage of the full Saratoga card on most days of the season beginning at 1 p.m. on FS2.
Fans in attendance on Opening Weekend will enjoy a series of special events designed to highlight the excitement surrounding the 2019 season, including: Mariano Rivera Day on Friday, July 12; a performance by “American Idol” star Madison VanDenburg on Saturday, July 13; and the Saratoga picnic cooler giveaway, presented by NYRA Bets, on Sunday, July 14, which will also feature the 28th edition of the Hat Contest, presented by Moet & Chandon and Hat Sationa! By DEI.
New hospitality venue 1863 Club to debut on Opening Day
The 2019 season will be marked by the debut of Saratoga’s newest hospitality area: the 1863 Club. Located on the Clubhouse turn, the 1863 Club is a 36,000-square foot, three-story, climate-controlled building featuring differentiated hospitality options and modern amenities. The 1863 Club is named in honor of the year of the first organized thoroughbred race meeting in Saratoga, which took place over the course of four days in August 1863 at the original Saratoga Trotting Course. Still in existence today, the original trotting course is near the area known as Horse Haven, located on the Oklahoma Training Track, across from Saratoga Race Course.
The first-floor is home to The Rail at the 1863 Club, a banquet space which features floor-to-ceiling windows and offers table seating for up to 500 fans.
The second-floor, presented by Encore Boston Harbor, features a group event space which accommodates up to 100 guests, and is designated Legends Hall in tribute to the numerous well-known trainers and jockeys who have made a mark at Saratoga.
The third-floor luxury suites, which feature sweeping views of the main track and capacities ranging from 30 to 45 guests, are each named for some of the most memorable and talented thoroughbreds to have raced at the Spa, including Rachel Alexandra, Whirlaway, Forego, Native Dancer and Lady Eli.
Additionally, the building is equipped with a full-service kitchen.
Daily reservations are currently being accepted for the 1863 Club. All reservations are available by contacting the NYRA Box Office by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX.
Opening Weekend to feature baseball great Mariano Rivera, pop star Madison VanDenburg and first giveaway of the season
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:
- Season Pass & Season Ticket Holder Giveaway on Thursday, July 11: NYRA will offer an exclusive giveaway for season pass and season ticket holders who are in attendance on Opening Day: a white cooling towel featuring the red Saratoga logo, available while supplies last.
- Taste NY: Wine & Spirits on Thursday, July 11: Fans will have the opportunity to sample varietals of wine and spirits from numerous New York State wineries and distilleries during this weekly event. Live music will accompany the tasting each Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.
- Low Roller Challenge on Thursday, July 11: Every Thursday will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Entrants will also have an opportunity to qualify for the Saratoga Challenge on Friday, August 9. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.
- Mariano Rivera Day on Friday, July 12: NYRA will host National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and legendary New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera at Saratoga as part of Opening Weekend festivities. The visit comes one week before Rivera heads to Cooperstown where he will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the first unanimous selection in history. NYRA will honor Rivera with a special ceremony in recognition of the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader.
- Taste NY: Craft Beer & Cider on Friday, July 12: The Friday edition of the popular weekly tasting event will offer guests the opportunity to sample numerous craft beers and ciders produced exclusively by New York State breweries and cideries. Live music will accompany the tasting each Friday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.
- Madison VanDenburg on Saturday, July 13: The 17-year-old singer from Cohoes, NY, who thrilled viewers nationwide with her vocal talents on the popular singing competition “American Idol,” will entertain fans at the track. VanDenburg will perform at the Don Julio stage, adjacent to guest services, following the day’s first race at approximately 1:10 p.m. Additional performances will follow throughout the afternoon.
- Saratoga County EOC Food Drive on Saturday, July 13: NYRA will host its annual food drive to benefit the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC). Fans who donate at least three non-perishable items at the Community Outreach Booth will receive a free giveaway from prior years, while supplies last, and will be entered to win tickets to the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers and other great prizes.
- Fashion Saturdays on Saturday, July 13: Designed to showcase the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing, the weekly event will feature women’s and men’s fashion apparel from local retailers such as The Pink Paddock, Miss Scarlett Boutique and The National, as well as a selection of home décor and jewelry items. The event will be held each Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.
- Saratoga Picnic Cooler Giveaway on Sunday, July 14: Fans will enjoy the first giveaway of the 2019 season: a collapsible, red picnic cooler featuring the Saratoga logo emblazoned in white, presented by NYRA Bets. The picnic cooler is free with paid admission, while supplies last. Season pass and season ticket holders are guaranteed a Saratoga premium giveaway on the day of the giveaway so long as they are present at Saratoga Race Course and redeem the giveaway by the designated time.
- 28th annual Hat Contest on Sunday, July 14: Sunday’s festivities will include the 28th annual Hat Contest, presented by Moet & Chandon and Hat Sationa! By DEI. Fans will compete for great prizes in three categories: Kreative Kids, Fashionably Saratoga and Uniquely Saratoga. Registration for the Hat Contest begins at noon underneath Section A of the grandstand. Hats will be judged after the second, third and fourth races. This year’s judges’ panel will feature Miss New York 2019 Lauren Molella. The 24-year-old from Millbrook, NY, who is a college professor, will also assist in the presentation of prizes to this year’s winners.
- Berkshire Bank Family Adventure Sundays on Sunday, July 14: The popular kid-oriented weekly event, now held on Sundays, will feature a beach theme during Opening Weekend with free activities such as a surf simulator, sand art station and hermit crab racing. The event will take place each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.
- Low Roller Challenge on Sunday, July 14: Every Sunday will include the Low Roller Challenge which allows aspiring handicappers the opportunity to experience the thrill of tournament play for $40, with $30 going towards live bankroll and $10 to the prize pool. Entrants will also have an opportunity to qualify for the Saratoga Challenge on Friday, August 9. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the Fourstardave Sports Bar.
Popular television show Saratoga Live to expand during 2019 season
NYRA’s acclaimed television show Saratoga Live will widely expand its programming in partnership with Fox Sports during the 2019 meet, with live coverage of the full Saratoga card on most days of the season beginning at 1 p.m. on FS2.
This expansion will result in approximately 200 hours of live programming from Saratoga over the course of the 2019 meet. In addition to coverage each day on FS2, Saratoga Live will be available through regional sports networks including MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports San Diego and Altitude Sports.
In addition, the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers will be carried live on the FOX Broadcast Network as part of a special one-hour telecast on Saturday, August 24 beginning at 5 p.m.
Recognized for its combination of daily racing coverage and analysis, handicapping insights and feature stories, the Saratoga Live broadcast team includes hosts Greg Wolf and Laffit Pincay III, Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, handicapper and racing analyst Andy Serling, handicapper and former Major League Baseball all-star Paul LoDuca, champion jockey Richard Migliore, handicapper Jonathon Kinchen, paddock analyst Maggie Wolfendale and trainer Tom Amoss. Larry Collmus, NYRA announcer and voice of the Triple Crown, will provide live race calls throughout the season.
To access the full 2019 Saratoga Live broadcast schedule, visit www.NYRA.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
Late Pick 5 now available to all wagering platforms
NYRA will offer several special wagering opportunities for racing fans on Opening Weekend, including the new Late Pick 5. Previously offered as the NYRA Bets Late Pick 5 and available exclusively to NYRA Bets customers, New York on-track bettors, and those betting with a New York simulcasting facility, the Late Pick 5 will now be available to all wagering platforms.
The Late Pick 5, featuring a low 15 percent takeout rate and 50 cent minimum, will be offered on every card at Saratoga Race Course. The popular multi-race wager, first offered at Saratoga Race Course in 2016, will also feature the same carryover provision of 100% of the net pool into the next day’s Late Pick 5 if there are no winning tickets.
Bets Squad continues to educate fans
The Bets Squad will once again be available to teach fans about the various aspects of wagering, including how to read a program book, understand different types of bets and use a self-service betting terminal.
The Bets Squad will be open daily during the 2019 season and stationed at or near the following locations: upper Grandstand (adjacent to the Clubhouse exchange); Big Red Spring; Paddock Mutuel Bay; track apron on the Grandstand; and inside both The Stretch and the 1863 Club (for ticketed guests only).
The Bets Squad is also available to register fans for NYRA Bets. Fans who sign up for NYRA Bets using the promo code “SPA” and wager $200 within the first 14 days will receive a $200 new member bonus. Details are available at NYRABets.com .
Security and Hospitality for 2019 Season
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/Saratoga.
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.
Following Opening Weekend, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.
For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com/Saratoga.