Giveaway days at Saratoga Race Course begin Sunday, and for many, they are the highlight of the 40-day meet.
For more than 15 years, patrons have flocked to the track on giveaway days. While the race course has a good turnout nearly every weekend anyway, around 50,000 people are expected for each giveaway day this year, according to Rodnell Workman, vice president and chief marketing officer from NYRA.
Sunday, July 28: mSaratoga T-shirt
Sunday, Aug. 11: Fourstardave bobblehead
Sunday, Aug. 18: Saratoga baseball hat
Sunday, Sept. 1: Saratoga beer stein
"The giveaways are arguably our biggest draw," he said. "We take great pride in putting together an assortment."
There will be four giveaway days during the 2013 season. One item will be given away with each paid admission, while supplies last.
The first giveaway , this Sunday, will be a Saratoga Race Course T-shirt. The T-shirt has been given out in the past, but this year features the 2013 Saratoga logo on the front and the official Saratoga 150 anniversary logo on the back.
"People can see you coming and going in terms of your fashion for Saratoga ," Workman said. "On the T-shirt, we cover both sides of the 150 celebration."
While 55,000 giveaway items are available, in the past "spinners" -- people who pay for more than one admission ticket -- sometimes leave cradling dozens of giveaways. Workman said the intent of the giveaway is one per person, but it does not always work out that way.
"The formula is paid admission," he said.
The next giveaway day will be Sunday, Aug. 11, and will be a Fourstardave bobblehead. The bobblehead commemorates the legendary thoroughbred Fourstardave, who won at least one race at Saratoga each year from 1987 to 1994.
"Bobbleheads have always been a popular giveaway ," Workman said. "This year we thought Fourstardave would be a perfect horse to acknowledge."
On Sunday, Aug. 18, a Saratoga baseball cap will be the giveaway . The decision to give out the baseball cap was made at the very last minute, after NYRA announced the Saratoga Race Course replica they hoped to give out would not be ready in time. But Workman said the hat has always been a favorite and that played into the decision to bring it back again this year. The black baseball cap features the red and yellow stitched Saratoga 150 logo on the front.
The final giveaway will be the Saratoga beer stein on Sunday, Sept. 1. The ceramic beer mug features 15 of the most legendary horses at Saratoga Race Course over the last 150 years. Workman said the stein is extra special because the fans voted on the horses.
"Just a great way to show your passion and love for Saratoga . We hope our fans love them," he said. "We always like to give back to the fans."