Monday, August 27, 2012


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Saratoga Race Course and downtown Saratoga Springs will mark the closing days of the 2012 summer racing meet with a Final Stretch festival that will feature multiple activities and special events beginning Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3.

The 2012 racing season will culminate in four days of events, food and entertainment throughout Saratoga Springs. Beginning with a “Party at the Spa,” presented by Coors Light, and closing with the annual Family Fun Fest, the weekend will include music, giveaways, family-friendly activities and first-class racing.

“We’d like to invite racing fans and the Capital Region community to a final weekend of fun as the 2012 meet at Saratoga Race Course draws to a close,” said New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) President and COO Ellen McClain. “The 2012 meet has been a truly outstanding 40 days. We look forward to one more exciting weekend of racing and family fun at Saratoga.”

Party at the Spa, presented by Coors Light: Friday, August 31; first post time 2:30 p.m.

The final Friday of the racing season will get underway with its traditional 2:30 p.m. first post time; gates open at noon.

Fans are invited to stay after the races as the fun continues on-track with “Party at the Spa,” presented by Coors Light. Party at the Spa will take place at Saratoga hot spot, The Post. The festive evening will feature a mix of great food, drinks, and live music from the band Two Tenors of Rock. Shake Shack, El Verano Taqueria, Box Frites and The Bar at The Post will remain open after hours for track guests to enjoy.

NYRA will also mark the anniversary of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee with a donation and on-track collection efforts to assist the ongoing recovery efforts of local communities impacted by the storms.

Track patrons will be invited to make monetary donations to benefit the Prattsville Relief Fund; Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT) Recovery; Schenectady County Rebuilding Families; and Middleburgh Village Relief Fund. Donations will be collected throughout the day at the Clubhouse, Union Avenue and Reserved Seats entrances and will be split evenly among the four community relief organizations.

Additionally, NYRA will make a $5,000 donation to assist with rebuilding efforts during a ceremony in the winner’s circle following the day’s third race, which will be named “Remembering Irene & Lee – The Recovery Continues”.

Two Grade Ones & Final Stretch Music Festival: Saturday, September 1

The final Saturday of the meet will include two exciting Grade 1 races for the nation’s top older sprinters and routers, The Forego and The Woodward. The day’s card will also include the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap for older male turf horses. NBC will broadcast the races live from Saratoga beginning at 5 p.m. EST.

After the conclusion of the afternoon, fans can make their way downtown for the start of the two-day Final Stretch Music Festival. Ten bands will provide free musical entertainment at familiar downtown locations on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. Music will fill the streets of downtown Saratoga from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with a mix of jazz, blues, acoustic, funk and rock.

Fleece Blanket Giveaway, Times Union Labor Day Weekend Barbecue and Family Fun Fest: Sunday, September 2

The final Sunday marks the last premium giveaway of the season, a Saratoga fleece blanket. The red fleece blanket features the 2012 Saratoga logo and is free with paid admission, while supplies last.

Saratoga Race Course will present the Times Union Labor Day weekend barbecue on Sunday, September 2 and Monday, September 3.

For $25, fans can enjoy a selection of barbecue favorites, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salad, dessert and more in the At the Rail Pavilion. The price includes Clubhouse admission and an official “Post Parade” program. Reservations are required. For tickets, call 1-888-516-NYRA.

Saratoga will also host activities for children at the annual closing weekend Family Fun Fest. The excitement on Sunday runs from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the backyard. Families can enjoy pony rides, caricatures, carnival games, magic shows, jugglers, giant inflatables and the Leaping Lizards and Rocking Reptiles exhibit from The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology. All proceeds from games, pony rides and other select activities benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region.

Festivities will again spill over into downtown Saratoga Springs for the second night of the Final Stretch Music Festival, a free event from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with live musical entertainment at several downtown locations.

Three Chimneys Hopeful and Family Fun Fest: Monday, September 3; first post time 12:30 p.m.

The final day of the 144th racing season will get underway with a special first post time of 12:30 p.m.

The day’s feature race is the 108th running of the Three Chimneys Hopeful for 2-year-olds, a potential prelude to the 2013 Triple Crown campaign and Travers Stakes.

The Times Union Labor Day barbecue will return for its second day in the At the Rail Pavilion.

Families can also enjoy the second day of the Family Fun Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with children’s activities returning to the backyard, including carnival games, magicians, caricatures and pony rides.

For up-to-date information on all Final Stretch activities, please visit

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