Race Track > Saratoga Polo
Break out your binoculars and enjoy a thrilling match of polo!
With Saratoga’s irrevocable association with horses, it is no wonder that since 1898 the city has hosted a polo club – the old Persian game of horses, mallets, and daring riders. The season usually lasts from July to Labor Day, don't miss out next year!
Don’t know anything about polo?
It doesn't take long to learn a basic knowledge of the game, and after that no spectator needs to be an expert to enjoy watching – even an amateur can feel thrilled by the fast, adrenaline-pumping danger and action.
Just be aware of this much: there are four players to a team, each with numbers on their backs. Each team is attempting to hit the ball in a “goal” on the opposite side of the field. Once a goal is scored, the players switch goals.
Players can be penalized for blocking the right of way or hooking a player with a mallet (but players are allowed to “hook” other mallets – use their own mallet to keep another player from swinging and hitting the ball). There are three types of penalties: penalty #2, where the shot is taken from 30 yards, penalty #3, with 40 yards, and penalty #4, with 60 yards. There are two umpires on the field, and a third man on the sideline.
Spectator Code of Conduct
After you learn the game of polo, a newcomer also has to understand how to be a spectator of polo. Safety comes first – this is a very action-packed game, with horses and riders often coming very close to the sidelines. Balls are also known to be hit awry and sail off the field. A distance of at least ten feet from the marked edge of the field is recommended.
The match takes place on a field that is roughly the same size as a football field, so a good pair of binoculars can be instrumental to fully enjoy the game. Remember to come early to enjoy a late lunch, tea/snack, or early dinner before the match, and to take the time to go and admire the ponies and players as they warm up and gear up for the sport ahead.
Don’t be alarmed if the spectators “swarm the field” at half-time: people on the sidelines watching the game are invited to walk on the field and help the players by filling in divets – small holes in the ground caused by horses’ hooves or hitting the ball, which can be filled in by flipping the displaced dirt back into the hole, and patting it down (if there is a golfer in your attendee party, he or she can show you the technique).
For spectators in the clubhouse, there is a dress code. Women should appear in cocktail dresses or summery skirts, possibly with the traditional billowy hats which block the sun, and colorful espadrilles or otherwise comfy but tasteful footwear. Men are required to dress in business casual wear with a sporty edge, or if they so choose, in a formal suit and tie.
Daily Ticket Admission:
Clubhouse Lawn & Bleacher: $20 per person / Free kids 12 & Under
For more information please call the Saratoga Polo Association at (518) 584-8108.