Saratoga Race Course opens on Friday for its 147th racing season. Arguably the finest meet in the country, attracting top horses, trainers, and jockeys from across the country, its location in a beautiful, vibrant upstate New York resort town draws not only horse racing hardcores, but also families and casual fans who come to Saratoga Springs for reasons other than to go to the track.
But from mid-July until Labor Day, the heart of Saratoga Springs is horse racing, and while some racetracks are cutting back schedules to race four or even three days a week, Saratoga races every day except Tuesday, often with 10 or more races per day. This year’s 40-day meet (July 24 to September 7) offers $18.7 million in purses, topped by the Grade I, $1.25 million Travers Stakes on August 29.
Returning racegoers will see significant changes this year, some of which sparked hot debate among the historic track’s myriad, devoted fans, but plenty of favorites remain intact, and if the weather graces Saratoga as it has in the last few years—moderate temperatures with limited rain, not always guaranteed in this town between the Catskills and the Adirondacks—there’s plenty to draw tens of thousands of people to the town and the track before closing day.
The Hello Race Fans guide offers comprehensive information on visiting the track; my weekly list tells you what’s going on at the track and elsewhere in town.
Here’s what else you should know about Saratoga 2015…
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Photo credit NYRA