Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 18th Annual Hat Contest “Crowns” Opening Weekend Festivities at Saratoga Race Course

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The fashionable festivities surrounding opening weekend at Saratoga Race Course will be filled to the brim with excitement as the Spa caps its first week of the 141st summer meet with the 18th annual Hat Contest on Sunday, August 2.

Supplemented by the Saratoga premium cap giveaway, the annual Hat Contest has become the highlight of the yearly “Hats Off to Saratoga” festival, a three-day event to mark the start of the Saratoga racing season.

The millinery mayhem will unfold on the track apron Sunday afternoon as adults and kids compete in three distinct categories: Uniquely Saratoga, Fashionably Saratoga, and for younger patrons, Kreative Kids.

Hat contest registration begins at noon under the grandstand where patrons will await their turn to flaunt their fabulous headpieces. The heady competition will take place after the second, third and fourth races (approximately 1:35, 2:10 and 2:40 p.m.), when participants parade in front of the judges for the chance to win a variety of Saratoga prizes including betting vouchers, lunch and gift certificates.

The first category of the afternoon, “Kreative Kids,” is reserved for 18 and under. The stylish youngsters will be competing for a $50 gift certificate for Saratoga merchandise and Clubhouse lunch for three. Runners-up will take home Saratoga merchandise.

The category appropriately entitled, “Fashionably Saratoga,” invites contestants to don their most beautiful hats. Taking place after the third race, the most fashionable female will enjoy a $100 betting voucher and Clubhouse lunch for two. Runners-up receive a glass trophy.

Following the fourth race, the most original artisans and architects will go head to head for the title of “Uniquely Saratoga.” Contestants will compete for the grand prize of a $500 betting voucher and Clubhouse lunch for two. Runners-up take home a glass trophy.

The Hat Contest takes place, logically enough, on “Cap Day” at Saratoga Race Course. All fans on Sunday, August 2, receive a tan Alabama Stakes baseball cap, free with their paid admission, while supplies last.

The Hat Contest and cap giveaway are the culmination of Hats Off to Saratoga weekend. The annual festival features live music downtown on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 to 11 p.m.; Saturday’s Satins & Silks 5K run to benefit Special Olympics New York; and a “Party at the Park” celebration with a special 2:30 p.m. post time on Friday that will conclude with a live concert after racing. Rockjunky, a New York City-based rock n’ roll quartet known for its three-part vocals and “Southern California sound,” will take the stage in the backyard at approximately 7 p.m.

The 141st season at Saratoga Race Course begins Wednesday, July 29, and runs six weeks through Labor Day, Monday, September 7. Post time is 1 p.m. with the exception of Party at the Park on Friday, July 31, and Friday, September 4, when post time is 2:30 p.m. and on Shadwell Travers Day, Saturday, August 29, with a special first post time of 11:35 a.m. There is no racing on Tuesdays at Saratoga.

For up-to-date information on Saratoga’s 18th annual Hat Contest and other special events, please visit

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