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Saratoga Race Course Frequently Asked Questions

Editor's Note (10/28/21): The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has announced that Saratoga Race Course's 2022 season will open on July 14 and conclude on Labor Day, September 5.

crowd at saratoga race course

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 and by many estimates, the oldest 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?

The summer meet at Saratoga Race Course is 40 days long.

What time does the track open?

A morning breakfast at Saratoga Race Course is typically held every racing day (except Travers Day and Labor Day). When breakfast is over, patrons must leave and return for that day's races when the gates open. Admission is free during breakfast hours, but racetrack admission must be paid to re-enter the track after the gates open for the racing day.

The first race (first post) isn't usually until early afternoon. Please note: Travers Day typically has an earlier open and post time, and no Clubhouse breakfast is served that day. See exact times for the current season.

What is the cost of admission?

NOTE: 2022 racetrack admission has not been announced yet. Check back for updates!

When is breakfast at the track?

During a typical racing season, you can enjoy breakfast at the track every racing day of the summer meet (except Travers Day and Labor Day).

What is "Hats Off?"

Hats Off was a music festival that marked the beginning of the racing meet in Saratoga Springs from 1991-2017. It was canceled indefinitely prior to the 2018 racing meet.

Can I bring my own food/drink into the track?

You can bring all the food and drink you want! However, coolers (max size 12" x 18") are only permitted on the trackside apron and at the Top of the Stretch. Fans are welcome to pack and bring their food and beverages with them to the Tailgate at the Turn drive-up hospitality area.

Larger coolers are also allowed in the backyard picnic area. 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 throw any glass bottles or jars out. You can bring wine and beer, but NO GLASS means you may need to find another container for transport! The use of small propane gas grills and charcoal grills is 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 with the best Saratoga nightlife. The bars line both sides of the street, so 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 »

How do I bet?

Fans can approach a betting window or automated betting machine and 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."

Learn more about how to place a bet »

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

What is the distance 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 FAQs!

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