Looking to build on positive 2012 handle
reports that featured a 13.4 percent increase in
all-source Saratoga Raceway wagers, Saratoga
Casino & Raceway opened the 72nd harness racing
season on 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 horse people,
throughout the 2013 racing season, according to
officials at Saratoga Casino & Raceway.
“The Saratoga Harness Track is an historic brand with a strong following,” said John Matarazzo, director of racing operations at Saratoga Casino & 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.”
A major addition to this season is the availability of rewards for on-track customers, officials said. Players that sign up for “cash card” account wagering at Saratoga Raceway will be eligible to earn up to 5 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.
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, the 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 takes 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.
Officials said 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 over $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, officials said, 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-fours and trifectas which launched in 2011, the 10-cent superfecta and the traditional wagering menu.
Operating hours for the gaming facility are 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day. Simulcast races can be viewed seven days a week and live harness racing runs March through mid-December. For a full racing schedule and additional information, visit www.saratogacasino.com or call 800-727- 2990. Customers must be 18 or older to play video gaming machines or wager on horses and at least 21 to enter Vapor.