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It’s an Eventful Season at Saratoga Race Course!

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It’s time to don your race track attire for the 2017 Saratoga Race Course Meet and bring your appetite and sense of adventure. This year, nosh your way through even more offerings of food and pairings of wine and beer than years past.

The meet and festivities began July 21 and will run through Labor Day, September 4. The schedule for this highly anticipated summer event will feature many new happenings, alongside long-standing traditions and perennial favorites. Most will take place in the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion.

This season, visitors can enjoy the popular Taste NY at Saratoga series on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The lively on-track market of New York food, fashion and artisan vendors, which was previously held on Sundays, will now expand to Saturdays as well, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Thursdays, Taste NY: Cider, Wine & Spirits returns, with live music noon to 5:00 p.m. Taste NY: Craft Beer takes over on Fridays, from noon to 5:00 p.m.

A wide variety of New York vendors will be on hand once again, including Albany Distilling Company, Albany; High Rock Distillery, Ballston Spa; The Saratoga Winery, Saratoga Springs; Adirondack Brewery, Lake George; Good Nature Brewing, Hamilton; Mad Jack Brewing Company, Schenectady; and many more.

Vendors showing their wares Saturdays and Sundays include Black Kettle Soap, Albany; The Chocolate Spoon, Saratoga Springs; Lifestyles of Saratoga, Saratoga Springs; and many more New York food, fashion and artisan vendors. For a complete listing of vendors, check the website, at Here are some favorite events.

Berkshire Bank Family Mondays
The Berkshire Bank Family Mondays series will feature family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Monday of the meet from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion.

Irish-American Day, Wednesday, August 2
Saratoga will bring racing fans extra luck during Irish-American Day. The day-long celebration of culture and heritage will feature traditional Irish music, dance, food and entertainment at the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Whitney Day and the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing, Saturday, August 5
The Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, will pair with the Grade 1, $500,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies, and the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for turf fillies and mares on the first “must-see” card of the meet. Also on Saturday are two additional turf stakes: the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure and the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose for fillies and mares.

Jockey Legends Day, Sunday, August 6
Some of the greatest riders in the history of thoroughbred racing will gather at Saratoga Race Course for the fourth annual Jockey Legends Day, featuring special appearances by some of the Spa’s most accomplished riders and autograph signings.

Saratoga Challenges, Wednesday, August 9, and Thursday, August 10
The pair of live money challenges will occur as two separate one-day contests and guarantee a minimum first place payout of $10,000, as well as awarding entries to the 2018 Belmont Stakes Challenge and the National Handicapping Championship to the top three finishers, based on selection by order of finish. Both challenges will consist of wagering exclusively on Saratoga races through the following pools only: Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Quinella and Trifecta. The entry fee into either challenge is $1,000, with a maximum number of entries at two per day, per person.

Brew Central NY Day, Wednesday, August 9
The day-long event in the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion will feature activities, exhibits and entertainment that showcase the renaissance of craft beer, hard cider, spirits and wine in Central New York and celebrate the region’s history as a prominent hops producer. Guests will enjoy five samples for $5. Must be 21 years or older to participate.

Fabulous Fillies Day, Thursday, August 10
Saratoga Race Course will celebrate women and their contributions to the thoroughbred industry while raising funds to support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation on Fabulous Fillies Day. The centerpiece of the day will be the Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hat Luncheon, presented by Vineyard Vines, beginning with an elegant champagne reception hosted by Moet & Chandon and featuring gifts provided by Spa Mirbeau. This year’s luncheon will honor Sheila Rosenblum of Lady Sheila Stable.

Adirondacks Day, Wednesday, August 16
Saratoga Race Course will highlight the majestic Adirondacks region, including the home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid. The day-long event at the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion will feature activities, exhibits and entertainment showcasing the great attractions of the Adirondacks in upstate New York.

Lustgarten Foundation Day, Saturday, August 19
Saratoga will honor the legacy of trainer Dominic Galluscio with a day to benefit The Lustgarten Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance scientific and medical research related to pancreatic cancer. The day will feature an autograph session with various Saratoga trainers.

First Responders Appreciation Day, Wednesday, August 23
Saratoga Race Course will honor police officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics during First Responders Appreciation Day. The Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion will feature exhibits and activities throughout the day. All first responders will receive free Grandstand admission with proper ID.

Stewart’s Ice Cream Eating Contest, Wednesday, August 23
Racing fans will compete in the ultimate in chilly contests at the annual Stewart’s Ice Cream Eating Contest. Contestants will be divided into three age groups, kids, teens and adults, as they battle to see who can eat a pint of ice cream the fastest.

New York Showcase Day, Friday, August 25
Travers weekend will kick off with New York Showcase Day, featuring six stakes races exclusively for New York-breds, including the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds and the $150,000 West Point, presented by Trustco Bank, on the turf.

Travers Day, Saturday, August 26
The 148th running of the $1.25 million Travers will be the centerpiece of a supercharged Travers Day. Joining the Mid-Summer Derby for 3-year-olds will be five other Grade 1 stakes: the $1 million Sword Dancer Invitational at 1½ miles on the turf; the $500,000 Ballerina for filly and mare sprinters; the $600,000 Forego at seven furlongs; the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial, formerly known as the King’s Bishop, for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs; and the $700,000 Personal Ensign for fillies and mares going 1⅛ miles. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2 $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa for turf fillies and mares.

Italian-American Day, Wednesday, August 30
The charm and spirit of Italy will come trackside when Saratoga Race Course hosts Italian-American Day. The day-long celebration of Italian culture and heritage will feature traditional Italian music, dance, food, entertainment and games at the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Fan Appreciation Week, Wednesday, August 30 – Monday, September 4
The New York Racing Association will thank its most loyal fans, season pass and season ticket holders, with an exclusive series of special events, activities and offers during closing week of the 2017 season at Saratoga Race Course.

Closing Day, Monday, September 4
The 2017 meet will come to a close with the traditional final feature race, the 113th running of the Grade 1 $350,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds, which affords racing fans a preview of potential standouts in next year’s Triple Crown series and Travers.

“Fans enjoying a day at Saratoga Race Course will again experience 40 days of special events and entertainment designed to complement the finest thoroughbred racing in North America,” noted New York Racing Association Senior Vice President, Chief Experience Officer and former HERLIFE Magazine cover feature Lynn LaRocca. “We’re excited to welcome our fans back for what is sure to be another memorable season at the Spa.” ■

Reserved tables in the Miller Lite Picnic Paddock and the Fourstardave Sports Bar, dining and group hospitality are currently available for purchase online at Limited reserved seating is also available for purchase online or at the NYRA box office located at Gate C. The 2017 Meet runs through Labor Day. There is no racing on Tuesdays.