August 4, 2017

23rd Annual Day at the Races – Another Winner

SUNY Empire “Shows” in NYRA’s First College & Alumni Day Handicapping Tournament

President Hancock and member's of the college's alumni and foundation boards, present the winning trophy to jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Driving Me Crazy to victory in the fourth race at Saratoga.

President Hancock, and members of the college's alumni and foundation boards, present the winning trophy to jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Driving Me Crazy to victory in the fourth race at Saratoga. Photo/Empire State College

Again this year, on Friday, July 28, SUNY Empire State College sponsored the fourth race at Saratoga Race Course. The day began with breakfast, an invitation to take a guided tour of the historic track and expert advice on handicapping the thoroughbred horse races.

Nearly 200 turned out – many ladies donned fancy hats in fine Saratoga tradition – for the one of the college’s best-attended events.

The Saratogian, a local paper, caught up with SUNY Empire President Merodie A. Hancock in the winner’s circle right before the fourth race, where she and members of the college’s alumni and foundation boards were on hand to present the winner’s trophy.

“It’s a great day,” said Hancock. “We bring together a lot of our alumni and donors. It’s kind of a get-together. We think about a little bit of the college and all the difference it makes for the students, what our donors do and what our alumni do in furthering the mission of the college. This is a great venue for doing it.”

For the first time this year, The New York Racing Association (NYRA), which also operates thoroughbred tracks at Belmont Park and Aqueduct, hosted a College & Alumni Day Handicapping Tournament, with prizes of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 available, as part of its ninth annual College & Alumni Day.

Groups of 10 or more who registered received a complimentary $30 wagering card from NYRA. The wagering card was utilized by each college or university group to place five $2 win/place/show bets on one horse in five different races on the day's card.

Before the conclusion of the tournament, Hancock told The Saratogian, “I’ve been thinking about going down to trash talk our competitors, but I’m being a better sport about it.”

For SUNY Empire, a $30 gift turned into $2,500 for student scholarships, thanks to NYRA. Manhattan College won the $5,000 first prize and UAlbany earned $1,000 in place money.

“It’s great,” said Hancock. “It’s actually a win-win. There are scholarships to go around. It’s a lot of fun competition. In the end, the students win, thanks to NYRA and the track ... and it’s a great way to turn fun into a good cause.”

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