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Trattoria at the Lodge to open Thursday in Saratoga Springs

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Trattoria at the Lodge, the seasonal "in" dining spot located opposite the Saratoga Race Course, will open onThursday.

That will help horse racing fans usher in the Kentucky Derby as the opener of the Triple Crown chase among thorougbred horses.

Chef Marcelo Hernei has worked up an Italian-tinged menu of such notable and seasonal dishes as lobster and seafood Fra Diavolo, filet mignon,chicken Parmesan, and pan-seared Atlantic striped bass. Even though it opens from Thursday through Sunday, July 8, with a limited menu, Trattoria will offer a full list of wine, spirits and beers. It also will offer a Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday May 11.

This Saturday, Trattoria and Old Friends at Cabin Creek will team up for a Kentucky Derby Day celebration with a charity auction. All proceeds will help support the non-profit thoroughbred retirement farm located in nearby Greenfield Center. Live music and parimutuel betting will be available, and the Derby will be broadcast on large-screen TV screens.

Trattoria, at one time known as "Cedar Lodge," was constructed at the turn of the 20th Century as a residence for Harry Payne Whitney, an Americanbusinessman who at one time was chairman of the New York Racing Association. The mahogany bar is among the largest in the city, with windows facing onto the grounds.

Trattoria will debut its full menu on Thursday, July 17, and remain open through the end of racing season on September 1. The restaurant's official address is One Nelson Avenue. Phone: 584-7988.

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