Saratoga Springs is one of my favorite cities in upstate New York. It has a unique mix of historical attractions, cultural activities, museums, downtown ambiance, shops, restaurants, places to stay and Saratoga Race Course. It is a great place to visit. I had a couple of meetings in Saratoga this morning and I realized that in about five weeks the summer horse racing season will begin.
This summer Saratoga Race Course celebrates its 150th anniversary. In 1863, two horsemen decided that it was time to expand Saratoga’s appeal, and the way to do that was to create a permanent racetrack in America.
Saratoga Race Course is one of the most charming racetracks in the country. It was named one of the “Top 10 Sporting Venues” by Sports Illustrated Magazine and is one of the horse racing’s most beloved tracks. It attracts some of the best thoroughbred horse racing in the country. The 40 day summer meet (July 19th-September 2nd) draws the tops horses, trainers, jockeys and owners in the world to try their luck at “The Spa.” The highlight of the summer season is “The Travers” which will be run on August 24th. Each year over 1 million people attend the race at Saratoga. A summer day at Saratoga Race Course is a great experience.
Known as the “Graveyard of Champions,” Saratoga Race Course has earned a reputation for being a challenging track for favorites. In fact Man O’ War and Secretariat were both upset in Saratoga. It is the only race track in the country at which the horses walk right through the crowd, on a white-fenced path to get to the paddock for their races.
Filmmakers and other media have sought out Saratoga and the race course as both the main focus or as a set. Filming in Saratoga, and at Saratoga Race Course, assures original beauty that no set designer could reproduce. (i.e., films such as “Seabiscuit,” “Saratoga,” “The Horse Whisperer,” “The Way We Were,” “Billy Bathgate,” “Ghost Story” and “My Old Man,” to name a few.) A scene in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel, “Diamonds are Forever,” features a scene at the Saratoga Race Course.
Each year, I make a trip to Saratoga Race Course to enjoy a day at the races. It is a time for re-connecting with old friends, enjoying family, people watching, enjoying food and beverages and, of course, watching the horses.
The year, 2013, will be a year of celebration in the city of Saratoga Springs, and at the race course. The Saratoga 150 Committee is planning several months of events to celebrate the anniversary.
Have you attended the races at Saratoga?