This summer continues forward with the tradition when Saratoga Race Course opens its gates for another thrilling season steeped in history, culture and exhilaration.
On Friday, July 21, the gates of Saratoga Race Course – the nation’s oldest race course – will open and begin a new chapter in the track’s history. The thoroughbreds will return for the start of the next six-week racing season. The racing meet reaches its crescendo one month later, on August 26, with the running of the $1 million Travers Stakes, the summer’s signature race – and centerpiece of the town’s social festivities.
The Spa City annually beckons locals, visitors, celebrities, world class athletes and everyday people to bask in its charm, distinction and intrigue. Since 1863, Saratoga Springs has played host to millions of racing fans by presenting a welcoming mix of tradition, history, culture and excitement. Throughout the summer, the city offers a plethora of cultural attractions for visitors, including classical performing arts, rich American history, museums, gaming, mineral springs, boutiques, and eateries.
Arguably the crowned jewel of the Victorian themed city – the Saratoga Race Course, considered “one of the world’s top ten sporting venues” by Sports Illustrated, is known to most as a mecca for thoroughbred racing, playing host to immortals such as Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Man o’War and American Pharaoh. Amidst the vibrancy and exuberance of hoof-pounding, heart-thumping thoroughbred racing, Saratoga Race Course has maintained its Victorian sophistication and glamour reminiscent of its Civil War era roots. As legendary sportswriter Red Smith once described the track’s appeal, “From New York City you drive north for about 175 miles, turn left on Union Avenue and go back about 100 years.”
Each morning of the summer racing meet, guests can enjoy the popular buffet breakfast on The Porch of the Clubhouse at the Saratoga Race Course from 7 to 9:30 am. This gives them the unique opportunity to dine trackside while watching the horses work out! Seating is first-come, first-served, but if you have a party of 20 or more, please contact the Dining office at 1-888-285-5961. Breakfast admission is free, but there is a fee to enjoy the buffet. There is no breakfast on Travers Day. There is a fee for parking which is refundable if you leave before 10 am. The Track is cleared after the breakfast program, and you will need to pay admission upon re-entry for the afternoon races.
Walking tours make breakfast at Saratoga Race Course even more enjoyable. After your meal, guests can go on a tour of the track’s historic stable area. Trams bring visitors to the stable area every 15 minutes from 7:30 am – 9 am. Tours are available every day that features live racing, with the exception of Travers Day and Labor Day. However, purchase of breakfast is not required in order to enjoy the morning workouts. For information and reservations please call 888-516-NYRA (6972
Racing enthusiasts should take time to visit the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and the Saratoga National Historic Park, known as the turning point of the Revolutionary War.The National Museum of Racing houses a diverse collection of art, artifacts, and memorabilia that seeks to document the social, economic, political, and cultural history of Thoroughbred racing in America from the eighteenth century to the present. View several pieces of equine art on exhibit, paintings b Charles H. Thieriot, and of W. Smithson Broadhead. The museum is open 10-4 Tuesday through Sunday in June and July. Admission fee is $10 for adults and $5 for students and Sr. Citizens.
Make an extended weekend getaway out of the trip and enjoy some music in the park. The Summer Concert Series is a program of the Saratoga Heritage Area Visitor Center. All concerts are FREE and open to the public and occur during the months of July and August. The July concerts are on Sunday’s and the August concerts are on Tuesday’s. Performances take place from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm at the War Memorial in Congress Park. Rain location: Heritage Area Visitor Center. For a play schedule, >Click Here.
Prime at Saratoga National is the place to be during the summer race season. Just a few minutes from the Saratoga Race Course, Prime’s outdoor patio has been voted best in the area by Capital Region Living several years in a row. Prime at Saratoga National is a rustic, yet elegant steakhouse concept in Saratoga Springs, where you can expect an unforgettable New York steakhouse experience through their chef-driven cuisine, world-class wine program and unparalleled hospitality. Reservations are recommended, but not required. Dress is business casual. Prime at Saratoga National serves lunch and dinner daily during golf season. Sunday brunch, complete with live jazz music, is a local favorite. Whether cooling off after a round of golf, or out for a night on the town, Prime at Saratoga National is your best bet for dining in Saratoga Springs.
Another restaurant for seafood lovers would be Fish at 30 Lake, which offers a variety of daily “Ocean to Table” seafood specials, utilizes an in-house herb garden to focus on “freshness.” At Fish at 30 Lake, guests can enjoy innovative entrees, an a la carte raw bar and inspired hand-crafted cocktails right in downtown Saratoga Springs.