Riding into the sunset

The Saratoga Race Course has opened for its 138th season with post time at 1 p.m. every day except Tuesday. Two exceptions to that rule will be Travers Day, Saturday, Aug. 26, when post time is at 12:30 p.m., and a new event called Sunset at Saratoga Friday, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 1 ,when post time will be at 3 p.m.

We have enjoyed great success in recent weeks with Friday twilight racing at Belmont Park and decided the Friday of Labor Day weekend is a great opportunity to adopt this strategy at Saratoga, said Bill Nader, senior vice president of the New York Racing Association. "It provides tourists with a final chance to return to Saratoga, arrive in time for Friday racing and then stay in town for a power-packed lineup of quality stakes over closing weekend."

The twilight event will be the first of several events marking the Final Stretch Weekend at Saratoga, a community-wide celebration. Music will be featured on Broadway on Saturday and Sunday nights while a Family Fun Fest will take place on the track Sunday and Monday. Benefiting Ronald McDonald House charities of the Capital Region, the funfest will include pony rides, caricatures, games, face painting and clowns.

"The later post time on Friday, Sept. 1, should get local fans motivated to attend the kick-off to their last Saratoga racing weekend of the season and have some fun with twilight racing," said Nader.

The scheduled twilight event will see admission gates opening at noon as well as a happy hour featuring food and drink specials beginning at 5 p.m. and lasting through the end of the card. Regular admission prices of $5 clubhouse and $3 grandstand will apply.

A new addition to the Final Stretch Weekend has been the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up at nine furlongs scheduled to be run on Saturday, Sept. 2. This will be the first time Saratoga Race Course has hosted the event, which is typically run at Belmont Park. Also scheduled for Saturday is the Grade 1, $250,000 Forego Handicap at seven furlongs.

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