Updated 07/20/2012 05:28 AM
The Spa Spot: Morning Breeze
Welcome back to another season on The Spa Spot, where you will find news and features about Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs and racing around the country and the world.
- The 144th season of racing in Saratoga Springs begins at 1 p.m. today. The opening day program has 10 races, including two stakes, the Grade 3 James Marvin and the Grade 3 Schuylerville.
- Saratoga Stat Dept.: It is the 67th consecutive season of racing at the Spa since the track reopened in 1946 after World War II. Since Thoroughbred racing was introduced in Saratoga in 1863, meets have been held in all but six years: 1896, 1911-1912, and 1943-1945.
- Hall of Fame-bound jockey John Velazquez has won the last two Saratoga racing titles, but is recovering from an injury and isn't expected to begin riding until next week. Velazquez will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 10. The last jockey to win three straight Saratoga riding titles was Jerry Bailey, 1999-2001. No one has come close to matching the 11 consecutive titles won by the legendary Angel Cordero, Jr. between 1976 and 1986.
- Todd Pletcher saddled a record-setting 38 winners at Saratoga in 2011 while capturing the training title for the second consecutive year. Pletcher has been the leading trainer at Saratoga eight times, including five years in a row from 2002 through 2006.
- The New York Racing Association is offering free Wi-Fi at Saratoga Race Course, making it easy for fans to watch and wager on their hand-held devices and tablets.
- Among the changes that Saratoga fans will notice on opening day are a number of food and beverage facilities located along the back of the grandstand adjacent to the Carousel. NYRA has moved several trailers used for television services to the parking area near the main to make room for a beer garden and small restaurants.