Address: 267 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Meeting: Saratoga typically runs from mid-July to early September, with Labor Day the traditional terminus for the popular meet. Originally just four days, the Saratoga meet now lasts 40 days, and along with Del Mar in San Diego, CA, is considered one of the marquee meetings in the country. In 2019, NYRA kept the same amount of race dates but spread the racing out over nearly two full months, with a five-day race week instead of six, as it had been in the past. The centerpiece of the meet is the Travers Stakes, also known as the Midsummer Derby, which pits the best 3-year-olds against one another going 1 ¼ miles on dirt. The Whitney and Woodward are the major events for older horses. Unlike most meets, there is rarely a day when a graded stakes race is not contested at Saratoga, and the track is unmatched in the consistency with which it provides high-caliber racing.
History: Located in scenic upstate New York, Saratoga opened its doors just a month after the Battle of Gettysburg — on Aug. 3, 1863 — and is the fourth-oldest racetrack in the United States, behind Pleasanton, Fair Grounds Race Course and Freehold Raceway. Nicknamed “The Spa,” Saratoga was named one of the world’s great sporting venues by Sports Illustrated. Though the win rate for favorites at Saratoga is in line with the national average (about 33 percent), the track earned a reputation as the “Graveyard of Favorites” largely due to three races - the great Man o’ War’s only loss to the appropriately named Upset in the 1919 Sanford Stakes, Triple Crown champ Gallant Fox’s loss to Jim Dandy in the 1930 Travers Stakes, and Triple Crown winner Secretariat’s stunning loss to Onion in the 1973 Whitney Handicap.
Facilities: Racing at Saratoga is conducted over three different tracks: a 1 ⅛-mile dirt main track, a one-mile outer turf course and a seven-furlong inner turf course. The charming track has many different areas to watch the races, from general admission to clubhouse boxes to the ever-popular picnic tables that are found throughout the backyard. In 2019, the track added a new luxury hospitality building adjacent to the clubhouse turn called The 1863 Club. There are an abundance of dining options on track, from general concessions to finer dining, such as the Turf Terrace and the Club Terrace.