In stakes racing at Saratoga Race Course, we’ll see the 97th running of the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks. The name originates from the club itself, where men needed to prove they could handle a coach and four horses with a single pair of reins before they were granted membership. It’s also the very first running of the $100,000 Lucky Coin. Post time is 1 p.m.
The $5 price tag for today’s admission is redeemed — and then some — by the Saratoga baseball cap you can take home for free. It’s the first of four giveaway days. If you’re not a hat person, you can avoid both hats and long lines at the track’s East Avenue admission gate.
But if you are a hat person, good, because today is all about the thing you love. The 23rd Annual Hat Contest pays homage to an old Saratoga tradition. Registration begins at noon. Race course merchandise and gift certificates to Lord & Taylor go the winners. Prizes go to the top three hats in each category: best contestant under 18, most beautiful hat and most “uniquely Saratoga.” In this domain, minimalism is not a virtue. Count on seeing some highly amusing and eccentric entries.
According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the food 19 vendors are selling in the Saratoga Pavilion is “the best of New York.” Taste NY: Food & Artisans is a sampling haven. There will be kale and walnut pesto. There will be cheese. There will be ice cream. Oh, and there will be crackers to go with the pesto. The Saratoga Pavilion will host the event from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Catch the Mid Summer Celebration Cup at 5:30 p.m. at the Saratoga Polo Association. Clubhouse seating costs $20 to $40, and each tailgating space costs $30 to $50. Info at saratogapolo.com.
Bask in the Terry Gordon Quintet’s signature mix of straight-ahead jazz, blues, ballads, samba and funk during tonight’s free show by the War Memorial in Congress Park. It begins at 7 p.m. weather permitting. Admission is free.
Saratoga Springs is like an old, wise woman, full of memories. You have to spend your time with her to get to know her stories. The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation “Summer Stroll” program gives you the chance to do exactly that. The tour meets on South Franklin Street by the Gideon Putnam Cemetery entrance at 10:30 a.m. Your stroll leader, Susan Brooks, will walk you through Saratoga’s “Little Dublin” as she tells of the Irish and Italian immigrants who once lived there. The tour lasts 90 minutes and costs $5 for SSPF members or $8 for non-members. Reservations are encouraged.
A new stage production of “Pinocchio” plays at 1 p.m. at the National Museum of Dance. Adult tickets cost $10, while children under 12 pay $7. Reserve tickets by calling 584-7780 or brownpapertickets.com.