The festivities surrounding opening weekend will be filled to the brim with excitement during the 22nd annual Hat Contest at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday, July 21st, and I am beyond THRILLED to be one of the judges this year! This annual tradition will feature an optional Victorian theme throughout all three of the day’s categories in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first organized race meet in Saratoga Springs, which was held over the course of four days in 1863.
Registration for the hat contest will begin at noon under the grandstand. The competition will take place after the second, third and fourth races on the track apron when contestants parade in front of the judges for the chance to win a variety of Saratoga Race Course prizes.
Participants are invited to compete in three distinct categories: Uniquely Saratoga; Fashionably Saratoga; and Kreative Kids. All contestants are encouraged to incorporate a Victorian era theme into their headpieces.
“Kreative Kids” marks the first category of the afternoon and is reserved for those 18 and under. The participants will be competing for the first place prize of a Saratoga Race Course-themed chocolate bar. Second and third place winners will receive various Saratoga Race Course merchandise.
The “Fashionably Saratoga” category invites contestants to don elegant and stylish hats after the third race. The first place winner will receive a trophy frame and a $100 betting voucher. The second and third place winners will also receive trophy frames.
Following the fourth race, the most original artisans will compete in the “Uniquely Saratoga” category. The first place winner will receive a trophy frame and a $500 betting voucher. The second and third place winners will also receive trophy frames.
The Hat Contest is the culmination of opening weekend of the 2013 meet at Saratoga Race Course, which begins on Friday, July 19th. Opening weekend includes the running of the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks on Saturday, July 20 as well as the annual Hats Off to Saratoga Festival, which celebrates the arrival of the summer racing season with live music in downtown Saratoga Springs on Friday, July 19th and Saturday, July 20th.