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Saratoga Race Course FAQ

When did the race track first open in Saratoga Springs?
Saratoga Race Course was the first organized Thoroughbred horse racing track to open in the United States on August 3, 1863. This makes Saratoga Race Course the oldest horse racing track as well as the oldest type of sporting venue in the nation.

Did you know? When the track first opened in 1863, the meet only lasted 4 days!

How long does racing season last?
Typically the length of the meet at Saratoga Race Course is over a span of 6 weeks, totalling 36 days (Tuesdays are "dark" days), and would always start on a Wednesday. However, the 2011 season marked the beginning of the new 40 day racing season. The meet will start on a Friday, and still be dark on Tuesdays. It was decided to expand the meet by four days at the end of the 2009 meet.

What time does the track open?
Gates open weekdays at 11 a.m. and weekends at 10:30 a.m. Post-time is 1:00 p.m. every day but two: Travers Day and Labor Day. On Travers Day, gates open at 7:00 a.m. and the first post-time is at 11:35 am. Two Fridays during the meet there is "Sunset Racing" where the first post time is at 2:30 p.m. See the complete schedule here.

What is the cost of admission?
General admission/Grandstand admission is $5, children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Clubhouse admission is $8. Travers Day admission is $10 for general and $15 for clubhouse. Reserved seating is sold separately.

When is breakfast at the track?
You can enjoy a breakfast buffet at the track every day during the racing meet from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and while you eat you can watch the horses' morning workouts. On a beautiful morning, it is a great way to start your day in Saratoga! Admission to breakfast is free, except for Travers Day when there will not be breakfast available at the track. You do need to pay for parking, but vehicles leaving the grounds before 10 a.m. get a refund. See more information about dining options at the track here!

What is "Hats Off?"
Hats Off is a music festival marks the beginning of the racing meet in Saratoga Springs. It is always held the first weekend of the track and is a weekend full of activities and musical performances in downtown Saratoga. Find more information on Hats Off Music Festival here.

Can I bring my own food/drink into the track?
Yes, you can bring all the food and drink you want! However, coolers are only permitted on the trackside and backyard picnic areas, and are not allowed anywhere in the building. Also, all glass containers are prohibited - plastic and cans are fine to bring in. Coolers are checked on the way in to the track and you will be asked to through any glass bottles or jars out. You can bring wine in, so make sure you read the Saratoga Racetrack Wine Tips before you do! The use of small propane gas grills and charcoal grills is also prohibited.

Where is the best place to go after the track gets out?
There are tons of restaurants and bars in downtown Saratoga to top your day off! Caroline Street is the hot-spot to bring you the best Saratoga nightlife, the bars line both sides of the street - it is never boring! If you are looking for a place to go next to the track, two spots to check out are Siro's and The Horseshoe which bring live music and a great party most nights after the track lets out. Broadway is the best place to head for dinner and where you will find most of the in-town restaurants. See a complete list of Saratoga Restaurants here!

How do I bet?
When you approach a betting window, where tickets are sold and cashed, you simply need to provide the following information:
1. Race Number
2. Amount of your wager
3. Type of wager
4. Program number (the number of the horse)
For example "Race 5, $2 to win on number 10."

Check out our infographic on 'How To Place A Bet at the Saratoga Race Course' »

What is the distace around the track?
The main course (dirt) is 1 1/8 mile, the turf course is 1 mile and the steeplechase course is 7/8 mile.

Where is the lost and found?
Located in the Security Office, first floor, Mezzanine, west end of the track.

See more Race Track FAQ's!

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For more Saratoga Race Course information, visit SaratogaRaceTrack.com or the NYRA website.