Saratoga kicking off 150th season

SARATOGA SPRINGS – This year’s Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers, at Saratoga Race Course may be a showdown of the winners of this year’s Triple Crown races, New York Racing Association officials said Monday.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Preakness champion Oxbow and Belmont winner Palace Malice are expected to be stabled on the track grounds this season. All three competed at Saratoga last year as 2-year-olds.

NYRA officials say they hope the three will be entered in the $1 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 24 at the historic Saratoga course.

NYRA kicked off the 150th anniversary meet Monday with a news conference at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion, across from the Oklahoma training track.

The 40-day meet opens July 19 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2.

A special day of celebration will be conducted Aug. 3, the official birthday of the track. The event will include a specially designed birthday cake from Cake Boss Buddy Valastro.

The event coincides with the running of the Whitney Handicap. Fans will receive a commemorative 150th anniversary poster with a paid admission.

Giveaways will be offered July 28, Aug. 11, Aug. 18 and Sept. 1.

Patrons will receive a Saratoga short- sleeve T-shirt July 28 and a Fourstardave bobblehead Aug. 11. A replica model of Saratoga Race Course will be given away Aug. 18. The course will give patrons a ceramic beer stein displaying many of the great horses that have run at Saratoga on Sept. 1.

Along with special events such as the Hats Off to Saratoga (July 19-21), Family Fridays (beginning July 19) and Battle of Saratoga Handicapping Challenge (Aug. 7 and 8), NYRA announced the return of the 45-minute walking tours of the track at a cost of $3 for individuals and $10 for groups of four.

Funny Cide will return to Saratoga on Aug. 4 as part of Equine Retirement Day. The day will include a meet and greet in the paddock with Funny Cide, while his jockeys, Jose Santos and Richard Migliore, will be on hand to sign autographs.

Last week, NYRA announced it has named Christopher Kay as its next president and CEO as of July 1.

The 33rd annual open house will be July 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The horses will be on the track that day for the non-wagering Newman E. Wait Jr. trials. The open house will include a free concert featuring Zendaya from Disney Channel’s series “Shake It Up!”