Saratoga Race Course to Celebrate Conclusion of Sesquicentennial Season with Four Days of Festivities
Fans to be invited onto the main dirt track for unique photo opportunity in honor of 150th anniversary season
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Saratoga Race Course and downtown Saratoga Springs will mark the final days of the 150th anniversary season with a closing celebration featuring family-friendly activities, special fan experiences and world-class thoroughbred racing beginning Friday, August 30 through Monday, September 2.
One of the highlights of the weekend-long celebration will be a first-of-its-kind experience on Sunday when racing fans will be invited onto the main dirt track following the day’s final race for a special photo opportunity to commemorate the 150th anniversary season.
The weekend will also include four days of events and entertainment throughout Saratoga Springs, including entertainment, giveaways, and a number of special moments to mark the close of the sesquicentennial season.
“We’d like to invite our loyal fans to enjoy a final weekend of festivities as the 150th anniversary meet at Saratoga Race Course draws to a close,” said The New York Racing Association, Inc. CEO and President Chris Kay. “The sesquicentennial season has been a truly outstanding 40 days. We look forward to one more exciting weekend of racing and fantastic entertainment at Saratoga.”
Twilight Racing, Local Youth Performances and Debut of 150th Anniversary Highlight Video: Friday, August 30; Special First Post Time 2:30 p.m.
The final Friday of the racing season will get underway when gates open at noon in preparation for a late first post time of 2:30 p.m. Twilight Racing will be highlighted by a variety of on-track entertainment to launch the Final Stretch festivities.
The Empire State Youth Orchestras’ Youth Jazz Ensemble, directed by Paul Evoskevich, and Saratoga Theater will perform for racing fans in front of the bandstand near Guest Services in between the day’s races at Saratoga Race Course. The youth performances are intended to showcase the next generation of leaders as Saratoga Race Course concludes its 150th anniversary season with a look toward the future.
Officials from The New York Racing Association will join representatives from the Saratoga 150 Committee in the winner’s circle at Saratoga Race Course following the day’s fourth race named Saratoga 150: Memories to Last a Lifetime.
The ceremony will showcase some of the items selected to be buried in the time capsule following the close of the meet. Additionally, the ceremony will honor equine artist Robert Clark, who designed SPAtacular, the celebrated Saratoga 150 horse. Closing weekend marks the final days that SPAtacular will reside inside the Clubhouse gates. The artwork will be given a permanent home at the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame following the 2013 meet.
Additionally, The New York Racing Association will debut a video featuring highlights from the 150th anniversary season.
Two Grade Ones & Final Stretch Music Festival: Saturday, August 31
The final Saturday of the meet will include two Grade 1 races for the nation’s top older horses, The Forego and The Woodward. The day’s card will also include the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap. NBC Sports Network will broadcast the races live from Saratoga between 4 and 6 p.m.
After the conclusion of the day’s card, fans can make their way downtown for the start of the two-day Final Stretch Music Festival. A number of bands will provide free musical entertainment at familiar downtown locations on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. Music will fill the streets of downtown Saratoga from 7 to 11 p.m. with a mix of jazz, reggae, acoustic, funk and rock.
Fans Invited onto Main Track to Toast Saratoga with Final Giveaway of the Season: Sunday, September 1
For the first time in recent history, fans will be invited onto the historic main dirt track for a one-of-a-kind photograph to commemorate the 150th anniversary season at Saratoga Race Course. The unique photo opportunity will take place after racing concludes on Sunday (weather permitting).
Fans participating in the photo on Sunday will have the opportunity to “toast” the sesquicentennial with the final premium giveaway of the season, a Saratoga Beer Stein. The ceramic beer stein features images of some of the most legendary thoroughbreds to have competed at Saratoga Race Course (free with paid admission; while supplies last). Fans will be permitted to bring their empty beer stein onto the main dirt track for a special toast following the day’s racing schedule.
Saratoga will also host activities for children at the annual closing weekend Family Fun Fest. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the backyard. Families can enjoy pony rides, caricatures, carnival games, magic shows, jugglers, and giant inflatables. All proceeds from games, pony rides and other select activities will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region.
Sunday will also offer fans the final opportunity to visit Taste NY at Saratoga Race Course from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located at the Event Tent, the lively market features numerous vendors and artisans offering products made exclusively in New York State.
Festivities will again spill over into downtown Saratoga Springs for the second night of the Final Stretch Music Festival, a free event from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with live musical entertainment at several downtown locations.
Saratoga 150 Memorabilia Enter-to-Win, Grade 1 Hopeful, Family Fun Fest and Belmont Magnet Giveaway: Monday, September 2; Special First Post Time 12:30 p.m.
The final day of the 150th anniversary season will be marked by a special first post time of 12:30 p.m.
Fans will be invited to enter-to-win for the opportunity to take home memorabilia from the sesquicentennial that has been displayed on-track throughout the meet. Entry forms will be available at the admission gates and must be turned in at the Guest Services Information Booths no later than 2 p.m. Winners will be announced at 4 p.m. and must claim their prize at Guest Services by the end of the day.
The first 10,000 fans in attendance will also receive a magnet featuring the fall 2013 racing schedule at Belmont Park.
The final Grade 1 of the meet will be the 109th running of The Hopeful for 2-year-olds, offering racing fans a look at some of the possible stars of the 2014 Triple Crown campaign and Travers.
Families can enjoy the second day of the Family Fun Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with children’s activities returning to the backyard, including carnival games, magicians, caricatures and pony rides.
For additional information about events at Saratoga Race Course, visit www.nyra.com/saratoga/information/events.