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Rivera to be honored at Saratoga

Rivera to be honored at Saratoga

Yankees great will make an appearance at the races on Friday, July 12
Rivera to be honored at Saratoga
Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera throws the ceremonial first pitch before game at Yankee Stadium on May 28.
Photographer: BRAD PENNER/USA TODAY SPORTS

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Even if front-end speed holds up all day during the races at Saratoga Race Course on Friday, July 12, at least one closer will make it to the winner's circle.

New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, a dominating closer as a relief pitcher, will be honored with a variety of ceremonies and appearances at Saratoga as part of the Opening Weekend festivities for the 2019 meet.

The visit will come one week before Rivera heads to Cooperstown for the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The all-time saves leader was the first unanimous selection in the history of the Hall of Fame.

"We are thrilled to welcome Mariano Rivera to Saratoga Race Course for what is sure to be an exciting and memorable day for sports fans," New York Racing Association CEO and President David O'Rourke said in a NYRA statement.

"Mariano is truly one of the most beloved and respected players of all time and his visit will only further enhance the festivities surrounding Opening Weekend. We encourage racing and baseball fans to join us as we congratulate Mo on his unparalleled accomplishments and give him a rousing send off to Cooperstown for his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame."

NYRA will honor Rivera with a ceremony in the winner's circle in recognition of the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader.

Fans will have an opportunity to meet the 13-time All-Star, regarded as the best closer in baseball history, during a luncheon in the Paddock Tent from noon to 1:30 p.m.

The event will feature an exclusive meet and greet and Q&A session with Rivera, photo opportunities and auction featuring authentic Rivera memorabilia.

Tickets to the luncheon are $250 and limited to the first 100 fans. Tickets include a buffet lunch and non-alcoholic beverages in the Paddock Tent which overlooks the historic paddock at Saratoga Race Course. Tickets are available for purchase online at NYRA.com/Rivera or by calling the NYRA box office at 844-NYRA-TIX.

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit one of Rivera's numerous charitable endeavors.

Rivera spent all 19 years of his major league career with the New York Yankees, retiring after the 2013 season with a record 652 saves. He finished with a 2.21 ERA, the lowest in the Live Ball era among pitchers who threw at least 1,000 innings.

Rivera shined the brightest during the post-season where he compiled 42 saves and posted a remarkable 0.70 ERA in helping the Yankees win five World Series titles and seven American League pennants.

Opening Weekend at Saratoga Race Course will get underway with Opening Day on Thursday, July 11 and run through Sunday, July 14.

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