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Saratoga Race Course Frequently Asked Questions

Editor's Note (2/19/21): The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has announced that the 2021 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will take place from July 15 through September 6. The information below reflects 2020, but we will update it with 2021 details as soon as they are released by NYRA and New York State.

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?

In typical years, there is an early morning breakfast at the track, but that is not the case in 2020. Traditionally, patrons who came to the track for breakfast had to leave and return for that day's races when the gates opened in late morning. The first race (first post) isn't usually until early afternoon. Please note: Travers Day always 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?

In 2019, Grandstand Admission was $7 and Clubhouse Admission was $10. Children 12 and under were free when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating was sold separately.

2019 Travers Day admission was $10 for General Admission/Grandstand in advance, $15 for General Admission/Grandstand at the gate, and $25 for Clubhouse Admission.

When is breakfast at the track?

In typical years, you could enjoy a breakfast buffet at the track every day during the racing meet (except Travers Day and dark Tuesdays) from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. This is not the case in 2020 as there is no breakfast at the track for the time being.

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?

When spectators are allowed at 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. 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?

During the 2020 season, fans can bet using the NYRA Bets app.

In a typical racing season, 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 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 FAQs!

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