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Thursday, 01 August 2013 15:05

A Day of Exciting Events and Activities

By Staff Report | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announce the rundown of events to celebrate the official 150th anniversary of racing in Saratoga on Saturday, August 3. 

Coinciding with the running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap, the day will formally commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first organized four-day race meeting in Saratoga Springs on August 3, 1863.

“The 150th anniversary season is a true celebratory moment for NYRA and the entire Saratoga Springs community. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of enthusiasm we have received from fans during this milestone moment,” said NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay. “Saturday will be a truly memorable day not only for Saratoga, but for the entire racing industry as a whole. We look forward to sharing the special occasion with our loyal fans.”

The celebratory day will be highlighted by the first in a series of five $15,000 win-wager opportunities, courtesy of Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson, honorary chairs of the Saratoga 150 committee. Beginning August 3 and continuing each Saturday for the remainder of the meet, five lucky individuals will have the opportunity to place a $15,000 win-wager on the day’s featured stakes race. 

Fans in attendance on Saturday will receive a free commemorative Saratoga Sesquicentennial poster designed by equine cartoonist Pierre E. “Peb” Bellocq. The poster features legendary figures from the past 150 years at Saratoga including Rachel Alexandra, Angel Cordero, Allen Jerkens, John Morrissey, John Velazquez and Marylou Whitney. The poster is free with paid admission, while supplies last. 

The celebration will continue with a specially designed cake from Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery, the setting for the popular television series “Cake Boss.” The cake, which is designed to replicate the historic sporting venue, will be displayed in the winner’s circle following the day’s sixth race named the Saratoga Sesquicentennial in honor of the 150th anniversary celebration. The special ceremony will include a performance from Saratoga Soundtrack, an award winning a cappella women’s chorus from Saratoga Springs.

The track décor and atmosphere will assume a Victorian flair, underscored by a period Friehofer’s coach from the 1800s positioned outside the Clubhouse gates and characters dressed in Victorian-era costume strolling the grounds. Celebratory music will also greet fans as they enter the Clubhouse and Union Avenue entrances. 

Fans will have the opportunity to capture an image from the historic day against the backdrop of Saratoga Race Course in a Victorian-themed photo booth. 

Additionally, the video boards on the main track will feature a special video series highlighting memorable moments from the past 150 years at Saratoga Race Course. 

For the first time in the history of the Whitney Invitational Handicap, the winner will be feted with a special custom-designed horse blanket made of Marylou Whitney pink roses and a new permanent, sterling silver, three-handled chalice trophy featuring the Whitney crest to commemorate the historic Grade 1 race. The trophy, which will debut this Saturday, will be awarded each year to the winner of the Whitney Invitational Handicap.

For additional information about events at Saratoga Race Course, visit www.nyra.com/saratoga/information/events.

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