The New York Racing
Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the lineup of family-friendly
entertainment and special events at Saratoga Race Course for the 2012 season.
A wide variety of special events,
including perennial favorites, will engage fans throughout the meet beginning
with Opening Day on Friday, July 20.
The 144th racing season will
feature Family Fun Fridays – a series of weekly family festivals each
Friday during the summer in the backyard picnic area. The day-long event will
include a number of activities, games, bounce inflatables, and arts and crafts
for all ages. Additional activities will include a live reptile show, a mad
science show and FOX 23 News’ karaoke booth on Opening Day and on the
final Friday of the season, August 31. All Family Fun Fridays’ activities
are free with paid admission; children under 12 are admitted free to Saratoga
Race Course when accompanied by an adult.
One of the most popular non-racing
elements of the meet, giveaway days will again be a feature in 2012. Four
Sunday giveaways are planned this year: a Saratoga
baseball cap on Sunday, July 29; a Saratoga
picnic mat on Sunday, August 12; a Saratoga
pilsner glass on Sunday, August 19; and a Saratoga
fleece blanket on Sunday, September 2. All giveaways are free with paid
admission, while supplies last.
The summer will hit a high point with Saratoga’s
signature race: the 143rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers
Stakes. The “Mid-Summer Derby” for three-year-olds at the classic
distance of 1 ¼-mile will be held on Saturday, August 25.
The anticipation for the summer’s biggest race will build with
over a week of festivities to celebrate Saratoga’s
crown jewel. The 17th annual Travers Festival will offer nine days
of special events and activities from Saturday, August 18 through Sunday,
August 26. Special events
throughout the festival include the Stewart’s Shops annual Ice Cream
Eating Contest (Wednesday, August 22); the 14th annual Ronald
McDonald House Fashion Show (Thursday, August 23); the 12th annual
Travers Celebration (Thursday, August 23); the Battle of the Brews to benefit
the American Red Cross (Friday, August 24); and the third annual Travers Eve
party in downtown Saratoga Springs (Friday, August 24).
The festival will also include the return
of the third annual Travers 1864 Restaurant Week, which celebrates the year of
the inaugural running of the Travers Stakes. From Sunday, August 19 through
Thursday, August 23, restaurants throughout the greater Capital Region will
once again offer a three-course meal for the prix fixe cost of $18.64.
As has become customary, Saratoga Race
Course will host two “Party at the Spa” celebrations on Friday,
July 27 and Friday, August 31. Presented by Coors Light, each day features a
2:30 p.m. post time. Fans are invited to stay after the races as the fun
continues with live music and food at The Post.
The highly successful Battle of Saratoga Handicapping Challenge will
return on Wednesday, August 8 and Thursday, August 9. One hundred and fifty
players will be invited to compete in the handicapping contest for the chance
to win $150,000 and a trip to the Daily
Racing Form/NTRA Las Vegas National Handicapping Tournament. Entry
forms will be available at nyra.com in late June.
The meet will conclude with the three-day
Final Stretch Festival, held Saturday, September 1 through Monday, September 3.
On-track events will include the annual Family Fun Fest and Times Union Labor Day BBQ on Sunday,
September 2 and Monday, September 3.
Additionally, dozens of returning
favorites dot the Saratoga calendar including: Open House (Sunday, July 15);
Hats Off to Saratoga (Friday, July 20 – Sunday, July 22), featuring the
popular Hat Contest on Sunday, July 22; College Day (Friday, July 27);
Mid-Summer Saint Patrick’s Day (Thursday, August 2); the Fasig-Tipton
Festival of Racing (Saturday, August 4 – Sunday, August 5); Galloping
Grapes: A New York Wine Event (Sunday, August 5); Fabulous Fillies Day (Friday,
August 17); and Veterans Day (Wednesday, August 29).