Saratoga County

Saratoga Weekend: NYRA hopes fans are atwitter over Social Media Day

You may like the Saratoga Race Course, but on Sunday New York Racing Association officials hope you

You may like the Saratoga Race Course, but on Sunday New York Racing Association officials hope you will also “like” them.

If that terminology sounds familiar to you, then the first-ever Social Media Day at the historic track is definitely for you. On Sunday, the course will host the inaugural version of the event, which will be held in the back yard near the Big Red Spring, where a special reserved seating area will be established for people to meet up outside the digital universe.

This event is in keeping with NYRA’s long standing tradition as a leader in social media, whether it comes to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Youtube and Tumblr, according to the racing corporation’s spokesman Dan Silver.

The group’s Facebook page has almost 20,000 fans, hosts hundreds of photographs and inspires a lot of fan interaction. On its YouTube page, which is being updated multiple times during the day, recent videos include coverage of the draw being unveiled for the Travers and an ice cream eating contest.

“We wanted to extend that brand and wrap it all into an exciting day,” he added.

The day will include a variety of giveaways. The first 1,000 people at the track who “like” the NYRA Facebook page or sign up to follow its Twitter account will receive a free commemorative T-shirt. Additionally, the first 300 fans will also receive a free racing program.

Trivia contests, live music from Ernie Munick and other giveaways will also be offered in the specified backyard area.

Interaction with fans

Some of NYRA’s social media celebrities, like NYRA television analyst Andy Serling and NYRA paddock analyst Maggie Wolfendale, will also be making an appearance to meet and greet fans.

Silver said that Serling, whose Twitter account was recognized in 2011 as the best racing account by the Thoroughbred Times, is popular with racing fans on Twitter because he has strong opinions and likes to engage fans in a back-and-forth during the day. In general, Silver said, fans like to interact with Serling and Wolfendale.

Serling can be found on Twitter at @andyserling and Wolfendale can be found at @maggiewolfndale (spelling is correct).

In addition to these two familiar social media personalities, jockeys John Velazquez, Ramon Dominguez and Julien Leparoux and retired jockey Richard Migliore will appear.

Broader reach

Silver said he expects Social Media Day will create a national buzz around the country in the digital world. In the physical universe, he said that NYRA is hoping the emphasis on social media will help make the action on the track more accessible to racing fans. This avenue of outreach will potentially expose racing to broader audience than they typically reach.

He was quick to add, though, that they do have a dedicated base of racing fans that already use social media platforms to enhance their racing experience. NYRA already has more than 7,000 followers on Twitter.

Part of combining the physical and digital experiences was unveiled this year at the Saratoga Race Course, where free wireless Internet is being provided for the first time. He said that Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular sites accessed through that free network this summer.

You can find NYRA at, or, on Twitter under @NYRAnews and its Tumblr blog at

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