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Discover the Ultimate Fan's Guide to Visiting the Racetrack

During a typical summer in Saratoga Springs, there's nothing more thrilling than the roar of the crowd as powerful thoroughbreds race around the track. A trip to Saratoga Race Course is a must for any horse racing fan, but how much do you really know about what this historic racetrack offers? From fun activities to tips & tidbits, we've compiled the ultimate fan's guide to visiting the Track.

Mark Your Calendar for 8 Weeks of Racing

race horses leaving gate

The annual summer meet at Saratoga Race Course runs for 8 weeks starting in July. Racing occurs five days a week (Mondays and Tuesdays are Dark Days, which means there is no racing).

Throughout the racing season, there are a variety of stakes races and special events at the Track, including giveaway days! It's best to plan ahead and take a look at this year's racing calendar to decide on the best time for your visit.

Enjoy Special Events & Free Giveaways

kids in a play area

Every racing fan should know about the special events and giveaways hosted by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) at Saratoga Race Course. During the 8 weeks of racing, visitors are welcome to participate in events at the Track. The highlight of the schedule of special events are the giveaway days, in which free promotional items are offered for each paid admission to the Track. Past items have included hats, shirts, and calendars.

Find Seating & Buy Your Tickets

people seated on benches by racetrack

Depending on your preference, Saratoga Race Course features free-for-all seating and reserved seating. For the price of general admission, you can enjoy sitting in the backyard picnic areas where there are televisions and tables. Each race day morning, people line up outside the Track at 7:00am. This is when the gates open and guests can go inside and unofficially claim their picnic table for later.

Not a fan of the morning rush? Get your reserved seating tickets! These are available via NYRA's website and Box Office. Single day admission tickets for the clubhouse, grandstand, and Travers Day are also sold at the gate (unless they are sold out).

In addition, there are hospitality areas and full-service dining options if you don't want to bring your own cooler full of snacks and drinks. Dining reservations can be made online at NYRA's website.

Review the Track's Dress Code Guidelines

people walking around near racetrack facility

At Saratoga Race Course, the dress code policy is based on where you plan to sit and watch the races. For the backyard picnic areas and grandstand, the dress code is casual, and many people wear t-shirts, shorts, sneakers, and other informal attire.

When you start to move into the clubhouse and then the luxury suites/box seats, that's when the dress code becomes stricter. Wondering what's appropriate and what's not? Check out our infographic about the proper attire for the most popular areas at the Track!

Get the Ideal Parking Spot Near the Gates

road leading up to entrance gate at racetrack

If you've ever been concerned about the parking situation at Saratoga Race Course, there's no need to worry! There are multiple parking options available for guests - all you have to do is find the best one for you.

The cheapest parking is at the free general parking lots off Union Avenue near the Race Course. However, these fill up fast, especially on popular racing days. To save a little money, your next best bet would be lawn parking in the surrounding streets, which is offered by local residents.

For those of you who don't want to walk as far, try to arrive early and get a parking spot at one of the paid lots; this includes Oklahoma Side Parking and Trackside Parking. There are also designated handicapped parking spaces at the main Race Course lots.

Place Your Bets!

people standing in line to place bets on horses

While just watching the races is fun, a lot of visitors test their skills and luck at betting on a horse. It may not be for everyone, but for some, it makes each race even more exciting!

At Saratoga, you must be 18 years or older to place a bet. Before you approach a betting window, you must have the relevant information ready, including the name of the racetrack, race number, dollar amount you will be placing, the type of bet, and the number of the horse. Once you've placed your bet with a clerk at a betting window, all you have to do next is watch the race and hope your horse comes out on top.

For your convenience, you can also place your bet at one of the automated betting machines at the Race Course.

Watch the Horses Work Out Before the Races

One of the most unique experiences offered in Saratoga is the opportunity to watch the majestic thoroughbreds work out in the morning. It's a great way to see the horses gallop around the track and get their final exercises before the day's races. Best of all, there are actually two places where you can go to view them.

Clubhouse Breakfast

A popular choice among racing fans is breakfast on The Porch of the Clubhouse at Saratoga Race Course. The trackside dining area at The Porch is an excellent spot to watch the horses while you enjoy a delicious breakfast.

The Oklahoma Training Track

Located right across the street from the Race Course is the Oklahoma Training Track, which is another place where the horses work out in the morning. The best spot for spectators is the Whitney Viewing Stand as it provides a picturesque look at the entire track. Free parking is available at the East Avenue gate.

Tour the Historic Facilities & Stables

big red spring

Saratoga Race Course is one of the country’s oldest racetracks and major sporting venues. Learn all about the racetrack's history and facilities as you take a guided tour of the property! These tours are led by experienced staff who will be ready to answer your questions about the racetrack's past and present.

Hear the Bugle Call

The traditional bugle "Call to the Post" means that horses and jockeys will begin their walk to the starting gate for the next race. For the 2022 summer meet, the bugle call will be played by local father-son duo Tony and Carson Gambaro.

Discover More Equine Activities in the Saratoga Area

Although it's always a fun time at the Track, if you're looking for even more equine activities, you don't have to go far. The Saratoga Springs area is full of places for horse lovers to visit, from the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame to nearby horse farms.

The National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame

Take a tour of Saratoga's National Museum of Racing and discover the long and rich history of thoroughbred racing. The museum features a renowned equine art collection, trophies, and other racing memorabilia that are on display. There are galleries to explore and educational programs to check out with the family.

Saratoga Casino Hotel

The Spa City's other horse racing attraction is located at the popular Saratoga Casino Hotel, which hosts live harness racing on select dates 11 months out of the year. The property includes a night club, steakhouse, casino area, and more.

Local Horse Farms

Want to see the region's horses in a different and more relaxing environment? Drive to one of the local horse farms or stables in the Saratoga area! Some, such as Old Friends Horse Farm at Cabin Creek, are home to retired racehorses, while others specialize in horseback riding lessons.

Check out our FAQs if you have more questions about the Track »

Looking for more things to do in the area? Check out these Saratoga activities »

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