Saratoga Springs, NY --- Looking to build on positive 2013 handle results that featured a 19 percent increase in all source Saratoga Raceway wagers, Saratoga Casino & Raceway opens the 73rd harness racing season at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday (March 2).
One of harness racing’s most historic venues will feature the return of ‘Raceway Rewards,’ a lucrative “cash card” player rewards program aimed at giving back to players throughout the 2014 racing season.
“The product on the Saratoga harness track has never been better,” said John Matarazzo, Director of Racing Operations at Saratoga Casino & Raceway. “We are proud to be returning for our 73rd year in such strong standing. Horsemen will be competing once again for purses that are exceeding $16 million and our signal will be simulcast in over 150 venues throughout the world.”
Opening day will once again kick off with a giveaway. A complimentary baseball cap will be provided to patrons who purchase a live racing program during the matinee card. Programs are available for $2. Players will also have the option to earn an additional five percent back on their winning wagers through the Raceway Rewards “Opening Day 5% Stimulus” promotion. As always, parking and admission are free.
For 2014, the sixth annual Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial will consist of one dash for $260,000 on August 16. The 2013 Gerrity Memorial featured Bolt The Duer, who last year equaled the world record and shattered the harness track record by an impressive two second margin. This year’s event will once again draw the best pacers in the Northeast.
Saratoga Raceway’s spring schedule will consist of live racing on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday matinees starting at 12:45 p.m. As the summer hits, the racing program will expand to five days a week.
Also marked for return is the highly popular ‘fireworks extravaganza’ on July 3. The free fireworks show will take place after racing, which offers a special 5 p.m. post time the day of the event.
The full season schedule is available at www.saratogacasino.com.
The popular New York Sire Stakes program returns on Friday (June 20) with nine racing programs scheduled throughout the summer. For 2013, the Sire Stakes series contributed more than $1.5 million in purses, which can be expected for this season as well.
The annual Back to the Track event will also be returning this summer. The event is a cooperative effort encouraging families to celebrate the track and is organized by the United States Trotting Association, its member racetracks and horsemen from coast to coast.
The 50 cent Pick-5 wager and its potential for lucrative carryovers will be expanded into all racing dates after showing popularity among bettors throughout 2013. 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.
Also new for racing this year is an increased presence on social media. Fans are encouraged to follow the @SaratogaCasino Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as to use the #SaratogaHarness hashtag to share photos and videos of their experiences at the harness track. The Saratoga Casino Twitter and Instagram accounts will be posting videos taken on a GoPro camera that offer a new and breathtaking perspective of the harness racing action. Direct links to the Twitter and Instagram pages can be found at twitter.com/saratogacasino and Instagram.com/saratogaCasino, respectively.