Saratoga Race Course to host 32nd annual open house

— The New York Racing Association, Inc. will host its 32nd annual Open House, a tradition held prior to the start of racing season at North America’s most historic thoroughbred racetrack, Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 15, and benefit dozens of local non-profit organizations.

The free-admission sneak-peek into the popular summer meeting includes live music, food, pony rides, behind-the-scenes tours, handicapping seminars and the ninth-annual mascot race, which pits famed mascots from local sports teams and well-known brands against one another in a one-of-a-kind race down the main track. Post time is noon.

The National Steeplechase Association will present four hurdle races and one turf race as qualifiers for the regular Saratoga meet, without pari-mutuel wagering, every 45 minutes beginning at 1 p.m.

Fans will have the opportunity to purchase a 2012 Saratoga season pass at the Grandstand Customer Service Center during Open House. The passes, $75 for clubhouse admission and $35 for grandstand, are good for the entire 40-day Saratoga meet, including Travers Day on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Saratoga’s Open House raises nearly $15,000 every year for local not-for-profit groups through the sale of deeply discounted food and beverages; additionally, the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council will be holding a non-perishable food drive at the gates. The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., giving donors a coupon for a free carton of ice cream or sherbet at any participating Friendly’s restaurant.

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