Arts + Culture

All You Need to Know About Horse Racing in Saratoga

Saratoga Springs is known for its horse racing culture, as it's home to one of the oldest horse race tracks in the country. Along with Pimlico, Churchill Downs, and Fairgrounds, Saratoga Race Course is synonymous with thoroughbred racing in America. With the 6-week racing season kicking off July 20th, we're here with everything you need to know about horse racing in Saratoga for the next time you're on a lark to our boutique Saratoga Springs hotel. For starters, the races at Saratoga happen daily except Tuesdays starting July 20th. The race track opens at 7 a.m. with races beginning at 1 p.m. The dirt track is 1-1/8 mile long, and jockeys compete for prize money that totals over $18 million for the 2018 season. Look for special events throughout the season from bourbon and beer tastings to fashion shows and family-friendly days.

To enjoy the action up close and personal, grab a $5 ticket ($7 at the gate) for grandstand seating. The clubhouse seats are $10 and have a bit of a dress code requirement. Either one gives you unobstructed views of the track and access to the rail, but on hot summer days, you'll find the seats at the grandstand or clubhouse offer some relief from the heat. There's food and drink available for sale inside the clubhouse, and you can bring your own food in as well.

Our favorite way to explore the race track is between 7 and 10 a.m. when admission is free and you can watch the riders and horses warm up. The parking attendant will still charge you $10, but you'll get your money back if you leave before 10 a.m. Avoid the crowds, tour the park, and still take in the historic track at Saratoga without any of the hassle. And if you're still looking for more backstory on horse racing in Saratoga, visit the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.