Opening Day of the 2017 season at Saratoga Race Course saw all-sources handle of $20,332,051, a 14.47 percent increase over the 2016 opening day total.
The day of racing was highlighted by a stunning performance by Hoolie Racing Stable's Dream It Is. The 2-year-old filly romped to an impressive nine-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville. The performance was followed up by a 1 3/4 length victory by Proctor's Ledge in the Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George.
Fans on Opening Day experienced a series of capital improvements at the historic property, including technological enhancements which more than doubled the facility's Wi-Fi capacity; the Saratoga debut of NYRA XP, the new all-in-one Saratoga mobile app; the opening of a newly-revitalized children's play area; and the unveiling of a restored historic paddock mutuel building. Since 2013, the New York Racing Association has invested $29 million in capital improvements at Saratoga Race Course.
“Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course is truly one of the most special days of the year. We are very pleased to welcome back the greatest fans in the world with new cutting-edge technology and outstanding capital improvements that will continue to enhance the guest experience,” said New York Racing Association CEO and President Chris Kay. “We look forward to a great summer meet that, as always, features the best owners, trainers, jockeys and horses in the sport.”
NYRA XP is the latest result of NYRA's ongoing commitment to invest in mobile technology to enhance the guest experience with the most advanced applications in thoroughbred racing. Through NYRA XP, fans can access a host of new services on their mobile device. Fans who download NYRA XP will be able to learn about upcoming events, purchase and scan tickets, find their seat location, pin their car location, wager through NYRA Bets, live stream races, conduct wayfinding activities and, later in the meet, order food from on-track concessions and purchase reserved parking.
Saratoga Race Course also unveiled several enhancements to the property on Opening Day, most prominently the opening of the newly-renovated Saratoga Family Zone, a smoke- and alcohol-free interactive play area with an oval multi-lane running track, a miniature replica starting gate, a “selfie” photo station, spring horses and educational panels designed to teach children about the life of a race horse.
Additionally, NYRA officials celebrated the official unveiling of the historic paddock mutuel building, which received several upgrades during the off-season, including a new slate roof and rafters. The improvements are designed to ensure the continued preservation of the historically-significant building, which was built in 1902 and originally used as a saddling shed during inclement weather.
NYRA's flagship broadcast show “Saratoga Live,” presented by Claiborne Farm with supporting sponsorship from Gallery Racing and Team Runhappy, returned for its second season. The critically-acclaimed program will be broadcast to an expanded audience of 75 million households nearly every day of the meet from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, FOX Sports San Diego, and FOX Sports Ohio, MSG+, and Altitude Sports.
This summer's broadcast will feature veteran horse racing analyst and former Major League Baseball All-Star Paul Lo Duca, in addition to the talented “Saratoga Live” broadcast team that includes host Greg Wolf, handicapper Andy Serling, analyst Gabby Gaudet, paddock analyst Maggie Wolfendale, and trainer Tom Amoss.
Opening weekend of the 2017 season will continue with the meet's first Grade 1 event, the Diana, on Saturday, July 22. The action will continue on Sunday with the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks for three-year-old fillies.
On Sunday, fans will enjoy the first giveaway of the season – a red and white Saratoga baseball cap, presented by Saratoga Casino Hotel. Sunday will also feature the 26th annual Hat Contest, presented by Hat Sationa! by DEI.
Paid attendance for July 21, 2017 was 32,730.
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