The Calendar: What To Do In Saratoga Springs Opening Weekend At Saratoga Race Course

All the top events in the Capital Region on Friday, Saturday and Sunday—including all the featured races, giveaways and more!

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This week’s Calendar pick was a fairly obvious one. This Friday (July 20) is opening day at the Saratoga Race Course! (Cue the fireworks and fancy hats.) It’s not officially summer in Saratoga until the announcer at the track says, “And they’re off!Besides all the obvious fanfare surrounding the track’s opening in and around town (see below), there’s a lot going on at the track itself (including the unveiling of saratoga living‘s “The Races!” issue; make sure you pick up a copy!). The first races will get underway Friday at 1pm with The Schuylerville Stakes and the G3, $150,000 Lake George Stakes. Saturday will feature the G3 Sanford and the 80th running of the G1 $500,000 Diana. And Sunday will be the 101st running of the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks, a Grade 1 stakes race.

There’s going to be a lot more than just all-day racing at the Saratoga Race Course this weekend. It wouldn’t be Opening Day without hats, and lots of ’em. The 27th Annual Hat Contest is a staple at the Saratoga Race Course and has become so popular that this year it will accept entries for three separate categories: Kreative Kids (for the 18-and-under crowd), Fashionably Saratoga (elegant hats) and Uniquely Saratoga (the hat, or invention, that most embodies Saratoga and its many attractions). Winners of the Fashionably and Uniquely Saratoga categories will receive a $100 gift certificate to Hatsational, while second- and third-place winners will receive $50 and $25 gift certificates.

Everyone wins on Sunday, July 22, when the track does its first über-popular “Giveaway Day” of the season. Purchase a ticket in, and you’ll receive a free, souvenir baseball cap, courtesy of the Saratoga Casino Hotel. (Don’t miss the other “Giveaway Days” scattered throughout the track season.) And certainly make sure to check out these other great events celebrating the track and Saratoga this weekend.

Friday, July 20

Saratoga Polo Association: Veuve Clicquot Challenge Tournament – Friday & Sunday, 5:30pm, Whitney Field.
Shakespeare in the Pines – Free adaptations of the Bard’s work, 12:30 – 3pm, SPAC.
65 Roses: The Opening Day Soirée – 6 – 11pm, Saratoga National Golf Club, 458 Union Avenue.

Saturday, July 21

Photo Finish Tour – 8 – 9:30am, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Ballet Gala: The Four Seasons – Final day of the NYC Ballet’s summer season, 5:30pm, SPAC.
22nd Annual Silks & Satins 5K Run – 8am at Fasig Tipton, 415 East Avenue.
“The White Party” Gala – 6 – 11pm, Saratoga National Golf Club, 458 Union Avenue.
NYS Summer Writers Institute: “Fears & Night Thoughts” – a panel discussion with actor & writer Wallace Shawn and others at 7pm, Davis Auditorium, Skidmore College.

Sunday, July 22

Summer Concert Series in Congress Park: Marc Berger & RIDE – 7pm at the War Memorial in Congress Park.
Saratoga & The Civil War –  10:30am – 12pm, a historic tour through Greenridge Cemetery at Lincoln Avenue.
Grant Remembrance Day – Free event, 1 – 2pm, Grant Cottage, Wilton.
Saratoga Unites’ Picnic in the Park – A day of progressive positivity and family-friendly activities, 10am – 5pm, Orenda Pavilion, Spa State Park.

Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.

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