“The town is the track, and the track is the town.”

Heady words, from a man who should know. Roberts writes about the history and architecture of racetracks, recently collaborating with the New York Racing Association and the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, creating an inventory of Saratoga’s buildings and landscape. With Isabelle Taylor, he publishedThe Spa: Saratoga’s Legendary Racecourse, an architectural history of the track that opened 150 years ago this summer.

In a country where physical history is eviscerated rather cavalierly, Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Race Course embrace and celebrate it. Walk through downtown Saratoga, along Broadway and down Union Avenue, or down winding side streets, past homes built in the 19th century, meticulously maintained and preserved. Arrive at the track, and you will be at the oldest race course, the oldest sporting venue in this country, looking remarkably similar to the way it did a hundred years ago.

“The Season is developing auspiciously for Saratoga. The principal Hotels are doing first rate—more guests than ever before…Advices from Newport, Long Branch, &c., are not so favorable. This shows very clearly the pre-eminence of Saratoga, as a place of popular resort over all other water places.”

Continue reading at Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

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