The Saratoga Race Course is one of the world’s finest sports venues, and it is a fantastic day out for families as well right here in our very own city. There are many different ways to do the track as a family, and I’ve got the definitive Saratoga Guide for taking the family to a day at the races!
Opening Day is Friday, July 22nd this year, and the track is open every day except for Tuesdays (the "dark day") and there are a few different ways to “do” the track. Admission to Saratoga Race Course is free for children under 12 when accompanied by an adult any day of the meet throughout the season. You can sit in the clubhouse or sit in the backyard and both are great for kids. At the clubhouse you can reserve a table and have lunch, which is how we usually do the track. Either on The Porch (ground level in the clubhouse with a great view of the track) or up in Turf Terrace (also with a fabulous view), it’s out of the sun with a nice breeze coming through and you can have a yummy lunch and a comfortable spot to sit for the entire day. We usually pop in and out, checking out the horses getting ready in the paddock, the playgrounds and watching some races from the rail. There is a dress code for dining in the clubhouse, ranging from the more casual Porch to the more dressed up Turf Terrace.
Mondays are all about families with the return of weekly family-friendly festivals at the track. Beginning Monday, July 25, they'll have games, attractions and educational activities each Monday of the meet in the Saratoga Pavilion presented by Time Warner Cable News.
The newly enhanced Berkshire Bank Family Mondays will feature a wide variety of family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities – including the opportunity to pet a retired thoroughbred at the Horse Sense exhibit. The Berkshire Bank Family Mondays series will be held each Monday of the meet from 11 am to 4 pm in the Saratoga Pavilion presented by Time Warner Cable News. Click here for more details.
Breakfast at the track is always a hit with the kids. You can get in there nice and early (gates open at 6:45am) before it gets too hot and crowded and have a sneak peek while the horses warm up for the races.
One of the highlights of the breakfast program is the free walking tour of the famous and historic stable area (weather permitting). The first tram that takes you to the stable area, leaves the main Clubhouse entrance at 7:30 a.m. with additional trams leaving approximately every 15 minutes. The last tour departs at around 9:00 a.m. (The Tour is available every race day except Travers Day and Labor Day).
Due to the huge popularity of the tour, trams are often full to capacity way before departure time. They strongly suggest that you plan your morning accordingly. Experience has shown that the tours popularity increases as the morning progresses. No reservations are accepted. Trams are filled on a first come first serve basis. Tour is roughly 45 minutes in length from start to finish. Last tour leaves at approximately 9:00 a.m. or when the last tram is full to capacity. The last tour of the morning is the most popular and for that reason, there are times when people must be turned away.
In the backyard you can bring folding lawn chairs and a picnic blanket and stake out a spot (picnic tables are first come first served). You can bring coolers with food and drinks (glass bottles and containers not permitted) and there are tons of great food vendors there as well.
Gates open: Weekdays – 11am Weekends- 10:30am Travers Day – 7am
Post times (time the first race starts): 1 pm daily (Dark Tuesdays)
The 2016 Saratoga Racing Meet begins on July 22 with an Opening Day Celebration, and concludes on September 5th. The first races of the day begin at 1:00 pm Friday - Monday and 12:25 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, (except for Travers Day 11:45 am and Labor Day 12:30 pm).
Click here for more info, and enjoy your day at the races!