SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> The 10th anniversary of the Saratoga Backstretch Appreciation program kicks off Friday, July 21 as stable workers will be treated to free make-your-own sundaes.
Every evening, during the 40-day Saratoga Race Course meet, backstretch workers are treated to a variety of free, fun activities including ethnic dinners, movies, Bingo games with prizes, soccer nights and Learn Spanish-Learn English programs.
The program is organized and sponsored by socialite-philanthropist Marylou Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson.
Backstretch workers such as grooms and hot-walkers are the unsung heroes of the thoroughbred racing industry. They work long hard hours at relatively low pay to keep horses in tip-top condition for their owners and trainers.
Many are from Latin America and are separated from their families during the Saratoga meet. The Backstretch Appreciation program gives them positive activities to look forward to each day.
Each Sunday, from July 23 to Sept. 3, seven special-themed dinners are planned. This year’s themes are Mexican, Spanish, Italian, Caribbean, Southern BBQ, a Thanksgiving dinner and a Saratoga Gives Back dinner provided by local restaurants.
Soccer nights are planned each Monday, with the championship set for Aug. 28.
Learn Spanish-Learn English programs are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Bingo takes place each Wednesday.
A karaoke singing contest with a $400 first prize is also scheduled, plus pool and basketball tournaments at the recreation center.
Special outings are also planned such as a bowling…
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