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August 2, 2016

22nd Annual Alumni Day at the Races at Saratoga Another Winner

Grey Stark Takes Home Empire State College Cup

Keith Amparado ’88, vice president of the Alumni Student Federation Board of Governors, James Karcher ’79, member of the college’s foundation board, Christopher Feeley ’86, member of the foundation board, President Merodie Hancock, Irad Ortiz, unidentified, Ann Turner ’86, chairwoman, foundation board, John Corrou ’94, member of the foundation board, and Mitchell Nesler, a college vice president.
President Merodie A. Hancock, joined by several alumni and others, presents winning-jockey Irad Ortiz with a trophy for winning The Empire State College at historic Saratoga Race Course. Photo/Empire State College

On Friday, July 29, warm sunshine and clear blue skies greeted more than 200 alumni, family and friends, who traveled from all corners of the state to the historic Saratoga Race Course for the 22nd annual SUNY Empire State College Day at the Races.

Held every summer since 1994, the day at the races is among the most popular and enduring of the college’s many events.

“This is the 22nd year, so clearly it’s fun,” said Ann S. Turner ’86, chairwoman of the Empire State College Foundation Board of Directors. “In bringing people together who may not have known each other, you realize there are people all over the state who have benefited from this college.”

“It’s a great day to spend time with our alums, our foundation board members and all of the people who support SUNY Empire State College,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of SUNY Empire. “It’s so much more than 200 people. It’s people who graduated last year, it’s people who graduated 25 years ago, so it speaks to the ongoing connection of our alumni to the college.”

Hancock also emphasized the benefits of the “network of strength” among 78,000 alumni and the experience of camaraderie at events.

“It’s the reconnecting with each other that’s so much fun,” Hancock added. “As a whole, it’s important to come together as a college community to cheer each other on and to hear about the different aspects of people’s lives.”

The day began with breakfast and a panel of experts, who guided the college community through the day’s racing form.

Brad Telias, a writer for The Sporting News and broadcaster for CBS Radio; area writer Mike Kane, co-author of "150 Years of Racing in Saratoga: Little Known Stories and Facts from America's Most Historic Racing City," (History Press, 2013), former columnist and sports reporter for the Gazette newspapers, and many other publications including “Blood Horse;” and alumnus Michael Kaufman ’14, who won a thoroughbred handicapping contest in 2012, provided information about the strengths and weakness of the horses, jockeys and trainers for those interested in making a sporting wager.

“I’m not much of a gambler,” said John J. Corrou ’94, who also is a member of the college’s foundation board. “So, as far as winning money – a few bucks here, a few bucks there – it’s not a big deal, but I love the ambiance that comes with the races and I love meeting the folks from Empire State College.”

Boxed lunches were provided to attendees as they headed to the track.

In keeping with long-standing tradition, a race was named for the college and, this year, The Empire State College was contested over 1 and 1/8 miles on the inner turf during the third race at The Spa.

Morning-line favorite Grey Stark, with Irad Ortiz aboard, was head-to-head with Penjade and Taralena, but pulled away down the stretch to win by only one length, with Penjade and Taralena in a photo finish for show and place.

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