Last year NYRA also lowered takeout. By this year's meet, $37 million will have been returned to bettors because of the lower takeout."We constantly strive to bring in the best horses to make the best races, and that is especially apparent at Saratoga which stands as racing's showcase meet," said Terry Meyocks, NYRA president and Chief Operating Officer. "By lowering the takeout last year, our costumers were able to participate more in the sport they love."The special events begin even before the track opens--the annual open house is Sunday July 21 and includes music, pony rides, backstretch tours, and a handicapping seminar. - Opening weekend, "Hats off to Saratoga," includes the 11th annual hat contest on Saturday and free live music in downtown Saratoga Springs on Friday and Saturday nights. On Sunday the track will hold its first giveaway--a Jerry Bailey bobble head doll. Dolls are free with paid admission, as long as supplies last.
- Sunday, August 4th is NHL Day, with noted hockey players and coaches in attendance and signing autographs.
- Monday, August 5th Hall of Fame Induction ceremony at 10:30 a.m. at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilon on East Avenue. The public is invited and admission is free. Fans can meet the new inductees and some of the veteran members.
- NFL Alumni Day and Baseball cap giveaway Aug. 11.
- Travers Festival Aug. 17-25 includes street festivals, live music, arts and crafts shows, golf tournaments, contests, galas, and more. Get details at 1-(800) 526-8970 or www.saratoga.org
- Sept. 1 Saratoga t-shirt giveaway
- Sept. All-American Picnic being served up in the At the Rail Pavilion.