The jockey colony will once again be in the spotlight at Saratoga with two opportunities for fans to show their appreciation for the racing industry's top riders.
The Jockey Autograph Book will, for the first time, be available at participating retailers and businesses in downtown Saratoga Springs and Ballston Spa. Patrons will be encouraged to pick up a copy of the 2012 Jockey Book in return for a voluntary contribution to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) (limit one per customer, while supplies last).
The 2012 Jockey Autograph Book will be available downtown as the meet gets underway on July 20.A joint initiative between the New York Racing Association (NYRA), the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga Downtown Business Association, the three-way partnership is designed to offer easy, convenient access for fans to secure a copy of the popular autograph books while generating funds for one of the racing industry's signature causes."The jockey colony at Saratoga Race Course not only thrills us each day with outstanding racing, but also provides thousands of memories for families who visit the track each year. The Jockey Autograph Book has quickly evolved into a true family tradition at Saratoga," NYRA President and COO Ellen McClain said. "We are happy to partner with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga Downtown Business Association to support a cause dedicated to providing assistance to former jockeys who have suffered life-changing on-track injuries."
"We're excited to partner with NYRA and the DBA to help drive consumers to local Chamber member businesses and to support the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund," Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said. "In addition to securing autographs at Saratoga Race Course, fans who obtain one of these autograph books can also join us on Friday, August 24, for our downtown Travers Eve Festival that features a Jockey Autograph session right on Broadway."
The colorful 24-page book features a full page for each of the top 12 leading jockeys by wins at Saratoga in 2011, along with photos and facts plus blank pages for additional autographs.
Featured riders include John Velazquez, Javier Castellano, Ramon Dominguez, and top female jockey Rosie Napravnik, among others. The book includes 10 of the current top 15 jockeys in the country by earnings, all of whom will be riding at Saratoga. Other popular Saratoga figures are also featured, including Sam the Bugler and a special page for champion retired jockey and current NYRA broadcast analyst Richard Migliore.
Also new for this year's meet, fans are invited to share a special morning with their favorite jockeys at the Times Union Trackside Breakfast. Each Thursday between 8 and 9 a.m. (EDT), one Saratoga jockey will appear at breakfast on the porch at Saratoga Race Course to greet fans, take photos and sign autographs.
Served on the porch of the Clubhouse overlooking the morning workouts of the Thoroughbreds on the main track, the Times Union Trackside Breakfast features the customary breakfast buffet ($14.95 per person, $7.95 for children ages 3-12, plus tax and gratuity).
Additionally, fans can take advantage of an all-new à la carte menu which will be available for the first time during the traditional trackside morning breakfast. The new menu will allow patrons the option to customize their breakfast outside the buffet, with individually priced items.
"While the customary breakfast buffet is a Saratoga tradition, the new à la carte menu provides diners with the chance to make their breakfast plate precisely their own creation. Guests can order anything from two eggs over easy with toast and bacon to egg white omelettes," NYRA Vice President & Director of Hospitality and Group Sales Stephen Travers said. "The buffet will still be available, but is no longer the only option for guests looking to enjoy the tranquility of mornings at Saratoga."
Breakfast is served each racing day from 7-9:30 a.m. Admission is free.
A minimum of one jockey will appear each Thursday at the Times Union Trackside Breakfast. Specific jockey appearance will be based on availability and riding schedule; information not available in advance.
For more information about Saratoga, call 518-584-6200 or log onto www.nyra.com.