The New York Racing Association will host National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Mariano Rivera at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Friday, July 12 , as part of its opening weekend festivities for the 2019 summer meet.
The special visit to Saratoga comes one week before Rivera, a five-time World Series-winning relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, heads to Cooperstown, N.Y., where he will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the first unanimous selection in history.
NYRA will honor Rivera with a ceremony in the winner’s circle in recognition of the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader.
“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,” said NYRA CEO and President Dave O’Rourke. “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 sendoff to Cooperstown.”
Fans will have an opportunity to meet Rivera during a luncheon in the Paddock Tent from noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The event will feature an exclusive meet and greet and Q&A session with Rivera, photo opportunities, and an auction featuring authentic Rivera memorabilia.
Tickets to the luncheon are $250 and are limited to the first 100 fans. The tickets include a buffet lunch and non-alcoholic beverages in the Paddock Tent, which overlooks the historic paddock at Saratoga. They are available for purchase online (click here) 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, regarded my most baseball historians and fans as the best closer in the sport’s history, spent all 19 of his years in the big leagues 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 excelled in postseason play, compiling 42 saves and a 0.70 ERA as the Yankees won seven American League pennants and five World Series titles.
Saratoga Race Course unveils its 2019 meet on Thursday, July 11, which kicks off a four-day opening weekend featuring six stakes races. Following opening weekend, racing at Saratoga will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run through Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2. The historic track’s signature race, the 150th running of the Runhappy Travers Stakes, will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24.