Saratoga Springs, New York, is reputed to have America’s oldest thoroughbred racing facility. In August, the quaint and classic city becomes the focal point for this “Sport of Kings.”
Thousands flock to the races each day during the six-week season (last full week of July through Labor Day) to see and be seen. Some of the best horses in the country race here and some of the largest purses can be won. Visit the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame for an enjoyable look at the long and storied history of this popular sport.
1. The best way to experience racing at Saratoga is to picnic on the grounds, either using one of the facility’s numerous tables or your own. Be aware that weekends are extremely crowded, so prime spots are difficult to come by and require getting to the track early (7 AM or so) to stake out a spot (leave a tablecloth or other personal item behind to mark your table), then returning when the racing day begins.
2. While at the races, spend some time in the city of Saratoga Springs, strolling the busy main street, and stopping to window-shop or to find a restaurant. In particular, check out the classic, Victorian Adelphi Hotel, for a look at the decor of a grander time. More importantly, amble through Congress Park to see some of the springs which made the city famous.
The park is lovely, well-landscaped, and even has a carousel for the kids.
If possible, walk or drive a bit further, along Circular and Union Streets to admire the large and distinctive Victorian homes that abound here.