NYRA honors service members and veterans

During the annual Military Appreciation Day in Saratoga

Free grandstand entry for all veterans and active duty members

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will honor veterans and active duty service members at its annual Military Appreciation Day on Thursday, August 25.

All veterans and active duty military will receive complimentary grandstand admission with proper identification. Doors open at 11 a.m. and first post is at 1:05 p.m.

“The New York Racing Association is honored to recognize the dedication and sacrifices made by the brave men and women who serve our country,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “We look forward to welcoming them for this special day at Saratoga Racetrack and thank them for their service.”

NYRA will honor its own military and veteran employees at a special ceremony in the winner’s circle following the national anthem, which will be performed by SSG Francisco Aisporna of the West Point Band at 11:30 a.m.

Veterans will be recognized in the third race of the day, including two members of the Schenectady Marine Corps League: Bob Becker, 83, who served from 1960 to 1968 and formed Marine Corps League Detachment Electric City #222 in 1973; and Al Shemo, 94, who served from 1945 to 1951 in World War II and the Korean War. Before the third race, Mr. Shemo will ring the bell seven times at 17 minutes to signal that the horses have entered the paddock.

The fifth run of the day will honor active duty members of New York’s military services, including Naval Support Activity (NSA) Saratoga Springs and the National Guard. Prior to the fifth race, service members of the New York National Guard will announce the ceremonial call for “Riders Up” in the Saratoga paddock.

The West Point Parachute Team will be one of the many highlights of Military Appreciation Day. Team members will perform a pair of jumps on the infield at 11:45 a.m. and then again around 4:40 p.m.

Operation Adopt a Soldier will collect monetary donations at the Community Outreach Booth. The organization supports American soldiers around the world by sending care packages, gifts and letters to make them feel at home while stationed overseas.

The National Guard and the NSA’s Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) will each be present at the Jockey Silks porch. NSA Saratoga Springs FFSC provides support services to members of the Capital Region Naval Forces.

The Gerald BH Solomon National Cemetery in Saratoga and the Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard Association will collect monetary donations and provide information about their services. The Gerald BH Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery is the sixth National Veterans Cemetery in New York City. The Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard Association conducts military funerals for honorably discharged veterans.

Highlighted by the 153rd renewal of the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 27, the 2022 summer meet at the historic Saratoga Racetrack continues through Monday, September 5. Races are held five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, except for the week finale, when the meet ends on Labor Day.

For more information, visit NYRA.com.

NYRA Press Office

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