Next year, Saratoga
will go back 150 years to celebrate the birth of Thoroughbred racing, with technology and
activities that could never have been imagined when Saratoga
racing was founded in 1863.
Organized by Saratoga
150 and a myriad of volunteers, the five-month-long celebration will extend from May through September 2013, and will
offer more than 100 events for area residents and visitors to the region, as well
as special Win, Place and Show medallions for Saratoga
150 “Friends”; a Hoof Prints Walk of Fame; a walking tour operated from a smart phone; old-fashioned
events like Cakewalks, ice cream socials, Summer Sunday Strolls and a porch
contest; a promotion providing $15,000 in cash that a lucky fan will put on
Saturday’s featured stakes race; a flag-strewn Broadway; a pops concert; and there-opening of the Oklahoma Track in 2013 for public viewing of morning workouts.
Saratoga 150 is chaired by Adirondack
Trust President and CEO Charles V. Wait. Wait has put together a team of Founding Members and
volunteer experts in their respective fields to serve on a steering committee
and to chair various subcommittees. The Adirondack Trust Company was the
first Founding Member of Saratoga 150.
Honorary Chairs of Saratoga 150 are Marylou Whitney and John
renowned philanthropist, horse owner/breeder and Saratogian, Marylou
was active in the
community’s last tribute to the Spa’s equine history during the
Centennial Celebration in 1963.
Her husband John Hendrickson has spearheaded several projects that
will be featured
150, including a Hoof Prints Walk of Fame to be located near the Clubhouse
entrance of Saratoga Race Course. Additionally,
Hendrickson conceptualized the idea of a committee to develop a countdown of the best races in the
history of Saratoga
to be shown between races on the in-field screens, and he is underwriting an
unusual fan promotion for the sesquicentennial year – a lucky fan, on five Saturdays of the 2013
meeting, will have an opportunity to lay down $15,000 cash on the featured race of the day,
beginning with Whitney Day, which is also the official 150th anniversary date –
August 3, 2013. The promotion is pending appropriate New
Wait and former Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Dalton have put together a strong group
of Saratoga 150 Founding Members: The Adirondack Trust Company, The New
York Racing Association, Stewarts Shops, Skidmore College, Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, Saratoga Casino and
Raceway, DeCrescente Distributing Company, and Ron and Michele Riggi. Each Founding
Member has contributed an
initial $25,000. Sponsorships are available, and the
levels and benefits are detailed on
the Saratoga150.com website. Sponsorship inquiries should
be directed to email@example.com.
150 website has recently been re-launched with a number of written,
photo and video informational segments, and an interactive feature to
read and share personal memories called “Your Stories”. The public will be
invited to assist with the collection of photos, film, information and memorabilia through the website, and
during a special Saratoga 150 collection event, to be announced soon.
The new website includes a timeline showcasing more than 350
Saratoga Race Course and Saratoga
Springs for the past 150 years, historic photos, videos
and a continuously-changing calendar of 150th events.
In addition, visitors can easily share content from the 150th site via social media. Short videos on
the website, to date, are narrated by internationally renowned Track Announcer Tom Durkin.
Tom’s narrative introduces visitors to Saratoga Race Course, covering facilities and services during the
annual meeting. Hall of Fame Trainer Nick Zito takes visitors through A Day In The Life Of A
Horse, and Hall of Famer Jerry
Bailey creatively depicts the activities of a jockey from dawn until
dusk. Handicapper Trotter Furlong welcomes visitors to the world of betting and handicapping.
More than 65 Saratoga
organizations will offer over 100 events.
Those that have established specific themes and plans are listed on
the website, and this calendar --as well as the entire website -- will continuously be
updated as events and information are added.
The National Museum of Racing and the Saratoga
Springs History Museum
offer extensive exhibits commemorating Saratoga
150, with the Racing
Museum offering an artifacts-dominated exhibit on the horses and farms that have played
key roles in the history of the track. The History
Museum will focus on the
players who founded the races, the people who come for racing, and the roles each has played in the city’s
history. Other museums participating in Saratoga 150 exhibits
or events include the New York
Museum, the Tang Teaching
Museum, the Brookside
Museum and the Hyde
The Ulysses S. Grant Cottage is hosting an old-fashioned event and
great great grandson who will come to Saratoga.
A series of encampments will be held on the last four Saturdays in June, encompassing the Revolutionary War, the
War of 1812, the French and Indian War and the Civil War. Meetings are currently
being held in New York City
with the Armed Forces Public Affairs Office in charge of engagements to book
music and drill teams in June, 2013.
The celebration’s major kickoff event, now in the preliminary planning
scheduled for Sunday evening, May 26, 2013, (Memorial Day weekend) on
the grounds of the Spa State Park/Saratoga Performing Arts
community event will include music spanning a wide range of tastes, an old-fashioned picnic supper, youth
dance groups, storytellers, walk-around entertainment like stilt walkers and
clowns, and a variety of family activities and contests; concluding with a spectacular Saratoga
150 fireworks display. Those with medallion lapel pins will be admitted free.
During the week of the actual anniversary, Saratoga Race Course will
be the scene of a
Bettors Ball to be held on Monday evening, July 29, 2013.
Dance bands will offer music from five different decades – from the 1940’s swing era, up through music
of the 1980’s. The $5 admission will benefit backstretch workers, and those with Friends medallion
lapel pins will receive free admission.
Beginning next week, the new Saratoga 150 Friends lapel pins and
benefits will be
offered through the website and the $15 medallions may be purchased at
all Adirondack Trust Company banking locations. Those who choose to be a
Friend in the Win category could have an opportunity to attend each of the Triple Crown events, with
tickets, hotel accommodations and airfare for two. Additionally, the Win category will provide
Friends with two commemorative crimson and gold lapel medallions; two admissions to the
track on specified dates; two double-sided static window/door promotional decals; two
admissions to the Bettors Ball; two official poster-art t-shirts; one official polo shirt;
listing in the official program; and two-for-one admission to Saratoga
museums. The Win category price will be $150 initially, and will increase to $200 late this Summer. Place category
Friends are priced at $50 and Show
lapel pins are $15.
An educational component of the celebration will involve students from
Districts. High school students are creating a tour of
historical sites, that can be done on one’s own, through the use of a smart phone app. The
Middle School Video Production Club will be assisting in the coordination of Saratoga
150 video projects, and high school seniors will undertake a project entitled “This Day in History” where they will
provide information to the Saratogian, to be used on the front page, daily. A
QR code would then allow readers to link to more detailed information and photos. An elementary school
component will also be offered.
A myriad of promotional elements will be utilized by Saratoga
150 – thirty one horse
vans will be wrapped with Saratoga
150 art. I Love NY
is partnering with Saratoga
150, and downtown stores will decorate for the celebration. Beverage
containers will commemorate the milestone, and an official program will be published.
Advertising materials will include posters, banners, billboards, monthly calendars, corporate mail inserts, trade
media advertising, and the Saratoga 150 website will be linked to
dozens of other websites.
The first race was held on August 3, 1863, at the Horse Haven track on
side of Union Avenue.
Lizzie W was the first Thoroughbred to cross the finish line at Saratoga, before a crowd of about 5,000. The track was built in
1947, and used as a trotting track until the start of Thoroughbred racing 16 years later.
Businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individuals requesting
sponsorships, event hosting or general information may contact Saratoga
150 through the website, www.Saratoga150.com.
Music reminiscent of Saratoga Race Course, then and now, was provided
Saratoga 150 kickoff news conference by
Reggies Red Hot Feet Warmers.