Saratoga Springs, NY --- Looking to build on positive 2012 handle reports that featured a 13.4 percent increase in all source Saratoga Raceway wagers, Saratoga Casino and Raceway opens the 72nd harness racing season at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday (March 3).
One of harness racing’s most historic venues will feature increased purses and a lucrative “cash card” player rewards program aimed at giving back to players, as well as horsepersons, throughout the 2013 racing season.
“The Saratoga Harness Track is a historic brand with a strong following,” said John Matarazzo, Director of Racing Operations at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “We’re proud to be returning after 72 years with increased purses and a premiere product, simulcasting to over 150 venues throughout the world.”
Opening day will once again kick off with a giveaway. A complimentary commemorative baseball cap will be provided to patrons who purchase a live racing program during the matinee card. Programs are available for $2. As always, parking and admission are free.
A major addition to this season is the availability of rewards for on-track customers. Players that sign up for “cash card” account wagering at Saratoga Raceway will be eligible to earn up to five percent cash back in wagers placed on the Saratoga Raceway product.
“We worked hard leading up to opening day to ensure that incentives were in place to give back to our loyal on-property players,” said Alex Savage, Racing Development Manager at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.
For 2013, the highlight of the season has been upgraded. The fifth annual Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial will consist of one dash for $275,000 on August 17. In the past, this race consisted of a series of legs drawn out over several weeks. The Gerrity Memorial will draw the best pacers in the Northeast.
Saratoga Raceway will also schedule an earlier post time for most race dates, beginning at 6:45 p.m. For March, racing is offered at that post time on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights as well as Thursday (March 28). Matinee racing will take place at 12:45 p.m. the first three Sundays of March. As the summer hits, the racing program will expand to five days a week. The full season schedule is available online at www.saratogacasino.com.
The lucrative New York Sire Stakes program returns on June 28 with nine racing programs scheduled throughout the summer. For 2012, the Sire Stakes series contributed more than $2 million in purses, which can be expected for this season as well.
Also returning is the annual Back to the Track event, a cooperative effort among the U.S. Trotting Association, its member racetracks and horsemen from coast to coast. The event will be held on July 6, encouraging families to celebrate the track.
The Pick-5 wager that was launched by the track late last season will continue for 2013, after showing popularity among bettors. Saratoga Casino and Raceway offers New York’s only Pick-5 wager. It is available on Wednesday evenings only, and has a guaranteed pool.
Other wagering options that will continue are the 50-cent minimum wagering option on Pick-4s and trifectas, which launched in 2011, the 10-cent superfecta and the traditional wagering menu.