WINNERS CROWNED AT 23RD ANNUAL HAT CONTEST, PRESENTED BY LORD & TAYLOR, DURING OPENING WEEKEND FESTIVITIES AT SARATOGA RACE COURSE

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The festivities surrounding opening weekend at Saratoga Race Course were filled with excitement as the Spa today capped off its first weekend of the 146th racing season with the 23rd annual Hat Contest, presented by Lord & Taylor.

The millinery action unfolded on the track apron Sunday afternoon when scores of participants turned out to compete in the contest’s three distinct categories: Uniquely Saratoga, Fashionably Saratoga, and for younger patrons, Kreative Kids.

Following the day’s fourth race Julie Potter of Duanesburg, NY, was crowned the winner of the day’s most celebrated category, “Uniquely Saratoga,” which recognizes whimsical and creative hats. Potter received the grand prize of a $100 Lord & Taylor gift card and a silver trophy frame. Rounding out the category’s finalists was the second place winner Mikayla Schaefer of Schenectady, NY; followed by third place winner Annemarie Mitchell of Stillwater, NY. The finalists received $75 and $25 Lord & Taylor gift certificates, respectively.

The day’s most popular category, “Fashionably Saratoga,” featured dozens of stylish contestants each donning their most beautiful hats. Following the third race, Kristen Motyl of Scotia, NY, was named the day’s most fashionable contestant and awarded a $100 Lord & Taylor gift card and a silver trophy frame. Maurita Smith of Fort Johnson, NY, came in second place and Donna Cerasuolo of Gloversville, NY, ranked third. The finalists received $75 and $25 Lord & Taylor gift certificates, respectively.

Cassidy Pawul, 14, of South Hadley, MA, claimed the title of most stylish youngster during the first category of the afternoon, “Kreative Kids,” which is reserved for those 18 and under. Pawul received the prize of a custom made candy bar from Saratoga Sweets and a silver trophy frame. Isabella Potter, 8, of Duanesburg, NY, daughter of “Uniquely Saratoga” winner Julie Potter, finished in second place followed by Shay Tracy, 11, of Greenfield, NY, in third place, to each win treats from Saratoga Sweets.

The day’s winners were selected by a panel of judges, including Kaitlin Resler, fashion editor of AllOverAlbany.com; Heidi Kelly, co-host of the Daily Double Morning Show on The Jockey 101.3 FM; and Leigh Hornbeck, staff writer for the Times Union. The contest was emceed by Heather Kovar of NewsCenter 10 ABC.

The Hat Contest is one element of a season-long partnership with Lord & Taylor, which also includes the all-new Lord & Taylor Fashion Saturdays at Saratoga Race Course. Lord & Taylor will host a pop-up shop at the Saratoga Pavilion each Saturday of the meet from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Additionally, each Saturday, track patrons will be invited to dress their best for the chance to be crowned Most Fashionable at Saratoga. Two winners every week will each receive a $250 Lord & Taylor gift card and have the opportunity to present a trophy in the winner’s circle.

The annual Hat Contest is among the highlights of the three-day “Hats Off to Saratoga” festival which celebrates the arrival of the Saratoga racing season.

For more information about Saratoga Race Course, call (518) 584-6200 or log onto www.nyra.com. For additional information about events at Saratoga Race Course, visit www.nyra.com/saratogaevents.