About the Race Track & City of Saratoga Springs for Horse Racing Fans
Opening day at the Saratoga Race Track is early this year, July 11 with dark days on Monday and Tuesday. I am not a big fan of the change. Mondays were great days for racing for several reasons; first, you have a long weekend for travelers who would extend the weekend and hit the track on the way home for the early races.
Second, Mondays were a great day for locals as the track was not crowded compared to weekends. Third, it was the only major track in the country running. The handle on Mondays were off the charts. It will be interesting to how things are affected this summer.
If you have never been to Saratoga Springs, NY, you need to make the trip. It is located about 35 miles north of Albany (capital of New York State) and about 30 miles south of the southernmost point of the Adirondack State Park and Lake George.
The city of Saratoga Springs offers plenty of restaurants to dine and drink ranging from bar food to high-end steak houses. There is live music every night some place in the city. The nightlife has a variety of options as well. Besides the track, there is the Saratoga Performing Arts Center that is located in the Saratoga State Park that is less than a mile from the racetrack. Concerts go on all summer long. http://www.spac.org/events Luke Bryan is playing on opening day.
Also located in the State Park is an 18 hole Championship Golf Course https://www.saratogaspagolf.com/ as well as a nine hole par 3 course. The Championship Golf Course is over 7300 from blue tees. I play from the whites; it is challenging enough from there.
On the golf course is a beautiful hotel called the Gideon Putnam which holds natural springs baths at the Roosevelt Springs (hence the name Saratoga Springs) http://www.gideonputnam.com/explore.
No doubt though the pride and joy and the major draw to Saratoga is the racetrack. It is commonly known as “The Graveyard of Favorites.” Over the years so many horses who were predicted to win major graded stakes races have fallen and more often than not to a horse with very long odds.
I have lived less than six blocks from the track for a few years. I have lived a mile away and I have lived in an apartment where my bedroom window overlooked the first turn. I could literally hear the horses run by on the dirt course.
That was over 25 years ago; those homes are now rented for the summer and for quite a bit of money. I know a woman who rents her house to Rick Petino for $60,000 a season. I have friends who rent there house to track workers for a season for $10,000. Saratoga just thrives on the track.
Saratoga started racing over 151 years ago and is considered the oldest sporting venue in the country. The track hosts the oldest stakes race in the country named, “The Travers Stakes.” The race is for the best three-year-old male horses in the country. It is also known as the Mid -Summer Derby.
Saratoga also hosts the following stakes races;
- Grade I Stakes races:
- Grade II Stakes races:
- Grade III Stakes races:
as well as several ungraded races.
The track is just one big party – Dixie Land jazz is playing all day in the public areas. There is all types of foods and activities to keep the kids busy with playgrounds and entertainment.
For a few additional dollars, you can enter the clubhouse. This year the track added a new enclosed area just passed the finish line called “1863 Club”. I cannot wait to check it out. You can also get tickets in the grand stand or try to get box seats. I go to the box seats a few times a year.
There is a dress code for the box seating; no jeans and sport coat required for men. You can end up sitting next to celebrities. Bill Parcells lives in Saratoga, he is at the track often and I have run into Joe Pesci, Mark Walburg, Stevie Nicks, and Johnny Drama from Entourage.
Paul LaDuca makes his rounds as well. The local news stations report from the track all season long having a set on the promises.
I cannot emphasize enough just how much fun the City of Saratoga Springs is in the summer. I bartended at a place called 9 Maple Avenue for 12 years (the address is the name). I have seen the city explode in population first hand for the racing season. The city that is electric and happening.
If you enjoy the horses, if you enjoy site seeing and beautiful women in sundresses you need to make a stop at Saratoga for race season. The meet is extended to seven weeks, but still 40 days of racing.