Summer is in full swing in upstate New York so it must be time for racing at Saratoga! The 155th season at historic Saratoga Race Course begins at 1:10 p.m. Thursday, July 13, 2023. This starts 40 days of the most competitive racing across North America featuring 71 stakes with total purses of $21 million.
Live racing is Wednesday through Sunday until closing day – Labor Day, Monday, September 4. No racing on Monday or Tuesday in the seven week season with the exception of Labor Day.
Downtown Saratoga restaurants are filling to capacity and throngs of visitors stroll along Broadway. The four block Caroline Street entertainment area is alive after dark. Saratoga Performing Arts Center, celebrating its 50th anniversary, marked the beginning of summer with Dead & Company’s two night performance near the end of June. The Dave Matthews Band kicks off track season with SPAC shows Friday and Saturday July, 14/15 followed by country superstar Jason Aldean Sunday, July 16.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Park begins its summer Saratoga concert season Sunday, July 16 at the Spa Little Theater and the New York City Ballet Company performs July 18 – 22 on the SPAC stage.
The Saratoga racing season brings in more than $250 million annually in area business revenue and creates more than 2,000 summer employment opportunities.
Make sure you pick up a free copy of The Saratoga Special(http://www.thisishorseracing.com) for up to date race details, trainer, jockey and stable features and previews of upcoming major races. Bona Venture Stables continues its tradition of advertising in The Special and as a sponsor of The Capital OTB Television Network’s daily handicappers report and the day’s Racing Across America broadcasts.
Helpful News about Saratoga Racing
Once again the award winning Saratoga Live and America’s Best Racing broadcast will be broadcast daily from Saratoga Race Course on Fox Sports. The SNY cable channel also broadcasts Saratoga racing.
Fans are welcome into the main track grandstand area at 7 a.m. on race days to view morning workouts. Saratoga’s famous Breakfast at the Porch is available until 9:30 a.m.
Gates into the race track open daily at 11 a.m.
Thoroughbred training is held daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.on the main track and across the street at the Oklahoma training track from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The Clare Court half mile track is used for horse jogging. Harrowing break is 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. on the main track and 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the Oklahoma track. Turf breezing is held Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the Oklahoma turf course.
Saratoga Week One
There are 10 races scheduled for opening day, Thursday, July 13 with first post at 1:10 p.m. Thursday’s highlight is the $175,000 Grade III Schuylerville Stakes for 2YO fillies at 6 furlongs on the dirt. Friday it’s the Wilton Stakes valued at $135,000 for 3YO fillies at a mile out of the Wilson Chute and the black type listed Coronation Cup 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint for 3YO fillies for a purse of $150,000.
Saturday, July 15 features three stakes: the $500,000 Grade I Diana Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, the Sanford Stakes, a Grade III opportunity for 2YO’s at 6 furlongs on the dirt with a purse of $175,000, and the Grade III $175,000 Kelso Stakes (formerly the forbidden Apple) at a mile on the turf for older geldings and horses. Sunday, July 17 hosts the Quick Call Stakes, a Grade III for 3YO’s at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf with a purse of $175,000.
Seating/Dining Options Around the Track
Saratoga averages 15,000 to 20,000 people weekdays and crowds reaching 30,000+ on weekends. Dining reservations are now being taken for Clubhouse restaurants The Porch on the first floor, The Turf Terrace, overlooking the finish line from the third and fourth floors, Club Terrace behind the box seating area on the second floor. Check the NYRA website for dress requirements at each venue.
NYRA offers seating options at The Cutwater Stretch on the second floor of the grandstand at the top of the stretch. It features a private hospitality area with upscale amenities including a private bar area, full-service kitchen and concession offering fresh, locally-sourced items including gourmet burgers, flatbread pizzas, NY style deli sandwiches, salads, Saratoga chips and more. Each lounge has touchscreen tablets for betting and ordering food/beverage. It is recommended you purchase your lounge seating far in advance.
At the top of the stretch is the Stella Artois Verandas featuring six partially covered sections offering a modern and casual outdoor experience. Each veranda holds up to 45 people. The Easy Goer restaurant on the second floor of the clubhouse is available for group outings and all-day seating can be reserved at the Miller Time Fourstardave bar on the first floor of the grandstand area. This also is the “micro/craft beer center.
The Paddock Suite, a second floor private group area, is located above the Post Bar and available for group outings.
The 1863 Club at the clubhouse turn includes The Chandon Garden Spritz Lounges on the track apron with access to a shared buffet within The Rail and dedicated drink service.
You can find details on dining, seating or rent a clubhouse box for a day at NYRA.com/Saratoga.
Featured foods at Saratoga
Saratoga Race Course is becoming an Epicurean delight. On the second floor of the grandstand, near the stretch turn, is New York City’s iconic Carnegie Deli with its high stacked fresh sandwiches and foot long hotdogs. Hattie’s of Saratoga famous fried chicken and Eddie F’s lobster rolls are located in the grandstand across from the Fourstardave bar. On the walkway in the backyard is a Mac & Cheese gourmet food truck next to the Pie on Wheels handmade pizza oven truck. The Shake Shack is located outside the paddock near the Paddock Suite.
Around the Track Opening Week
Things will sound different at Saratoga this summer. Respected track announcer Frank Mirahmadi will be at the microphone with John Imbraili stepping away from daily race calling. Mirahmadi will call Saratoga races and then head back to Santa Anita Race Track for the fall/winter seasons. Chris Griffin will be the summer backup at Saratoga and primary for Aqueduct fall/winer racing.
The Purdy’s Summer Concert Stage hosts live music each afternoon of the season located in the grandstand courtyard.
Thursday through Sunday each week features the Taste of NY Pavilion located near Gate A at The Top of the Stretch inside the courtyard area. It offers New York State foods, soft drinks, craft beers, wines and ciders.
On Sundays throughout the season the Berkshire Bank Family tent features family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities. It is located in the Berkshire Bank Pavilion near Gate A at The Top of the Stretch inside the courtyard area.
The summer tradition of breakfast on the Porch at Saratoga begins opening day and continues each racing day. Guests (no reservations) are welcome to enjoy breakfast at the outdoor (covered) clubhouse Porch Restaurant and watch morning workouts. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
BVS Saratoga Racing
Bona Venture Stables begun the 2023 summer season with thrilling wins from Ocean’s Reserve and Brennan’s War in late June at Belmont Park, along with earlier place finishes from these two horses in late May. This should set up both veterans for a strong Saratoga meet.
There are two potential opportunities for Ocean’s Reserve at the second level New York bred Allowance ranks, a 6 furlong sprint on Saturday, July 15 (Opening Weekend) or a 7 furlong NY bred sprint, Thursday, July 20. Brennan’s War, coming off a 2 length $40,000 maiden claiming turf sprint win could test open class in a starter allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs turf on Thursday, July 20 or a first level NY bred allowance 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint on Friday, July 28.
At the maiden level we await 3YO NY bred Sail With the Wind’s debut in the starting gate. There are a couple options under consideration. Saturday, July 22 has a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint for NY bred filly MSW or Saturday, July 29 (Owner’s Weekend) with a 1 1/16 mile turf contest for NY bred fillies and mares also at the MSW level. 3YO Lady Fortuna, NY bred filly, disappointed in her debut on July 2nd in an MSW dirt sprint and it was recommended to try her on the turf. Saratoga offers several possibilities with a MSW sprint at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf July 22, drop to the $40,000 maiden claiming level and test 5 1/2 furlongs turf July 23, or stretch out to a 1 1/16 mile turf contest at the MSW on July 29. All of these races are restricted to NY bred fillies and mares. These runners are trained by Leah Gyarmati.
George Weaver has two very promising 2YO fillies in his barn for Bona Venture Stables. NY bred Beautiful Thief is progressing well up at Saratoga. Her breeding indicates she could take to both the dirt and turf surfaces. Street View, a Kentucky bred filly also displays the versatility for both surfaces. Both 2YOs should be ready by the second half of the upcoming Saratoga meet.
Limited shares remain available in the impressive Kentucky bred Street View. Contact Bona Venture Stables for details on full and half share partial ownership.
What’s Happening in Saratoga and area?
There is more to Saratoga, much more, than SPAC and the race track. As previously mentioned the Dave Matthews Band takes the stage at SPAC on Friday and Saturday nights, July 14, 15 and Jason Aldean performs Sunday evening, July 16.
Over at Cafe’ Lena The Duke Robillard Band plays Thursday, July 13, Friday, July 14 its An Evening of New Fiction with Adam Beaver and Rick Moody and Saturday, July 15 Griffin House is stage bound. Sunday, July 16 its Mazel Tov Cocktail Party.
On Saturday, July 15 down at the EGG in Albany, N.Y. a Frank Sinatra tribute begins at 7:30 p.m. and Judy Collins takes the stage at 8 p.m.
The Saratoga Shakespeare Company performs “Twelfth Night” in Congress Park at 6 p.m. from July 13-16. Upbeat on the Roof at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 12 on the lawn outside the museum. In Ballston Spa the Protones open the summer concerts in the park season at Iron Springs Park beginning at 6 p.m. And the Saratoga Historical Society again offers its Haunted Saratoga walking tours Thursday and Friday, July 14, 15 beginning at 7 p.m.
The Silks ‘n Satin 5K road race returns on Saturday, July 15 at 8 a.m. The foot race typically draws near a thousands runners to benefit New York State Special Olympics.
Live music abounds in downtown Saratoga most evenings during the summer. You can find high-quality jazz at 9 Maple Avenue Thursday through Saturday evenings. Contemporary local bands on the stage at Siro’s and the Horseshoe offer after-track entertainment into the early evening hours. Live music is featured at multiple Caroline Street establishments and throughout the Saratoga entertainment district most evenings varying from traditional Irish music at both the Parting Glass Pub and Harvey’s to jazz at 9 Maple Avenue and contemporary bands around town.
The Ballston Spa concerts in the park series begins Thursday, July 13 with the Protones on the Iron Springs Park stage.
The Saratoga County Fair opens Tuesday, July 18 and runs through July 24 at the Saratoga County Fair Grounds in Ballston Spa. The Saratoga Summer Concert series in Congress Park features The Mostly Modern festival at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night this week. The Lake George Dinner Theater performs Shear Madness from July 6 through Aug. 26 at the Holiday Inn Resort.
2023 Saratoga breakfast and breeding farm tours are held Wednesday through Friday during the season at Song Hill Thoroughbreds in Mechanicville and Old Tavern Farm in Stillwater Friday, July 1 through Friday, Sept. 1. For more information and costs go to Belmont Park | NYRA
The award winning Saratoga Farmers Market at High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga Springs runs Wednesday’s from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday’s from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the racing season.
Saratoga Gala season underway
Famous for its many, almost nightly benefit galas, they are back in force this season. It begins with the 30th annual Siro’s Cup to benefit the Center for Disability Services at 6:30 p.m. July 13 at Siro’s Restaurant with live music by Ten Most Wanted. Next up is the 15th annual “An Unbridled Affair” to benefit CAPTAIN community human services on Thursday, July 20 at 6 p.m. at the Prime at Saratoga National Golf Club.
What to do on dark days?
Why not visit an area museum, historical site, mineral spring or amusement park.
Two of the areas most accomplished artists have equine exhibits all summer in Saratoga. Renown painter Frankie Flores has re-opened his equine gallery/exhibit space at 13 Maple Street while equally talented Tom Myott has public showings at Silverwood Home & Gallery on Broadway. Join them each day as they chronicle racing history and engage private commissions.
Take a walking tour of the 21 active mineral springs throughout the city and Saratoga Spa State Park. Most are naturally carbonated bringing distinctive tastes and smells to each. Saratoga’s heritage traces back to native Americans who named the area “stinky waters.”
The Saratoga National Historical Park or Saratoga Battlefield both offer driving and walking tours of the ‘turning point’ in the American Revolution. Take a look back at where American patriots defeated the British and General Burgoyne surrendered his sword and 6,000 soldiers in October of 1777.
Museums abound in the greater Saratoga area. A short drive north to Glens Falls is the Hyde Museum, an extraordinary small museum with an exceptional collection of American and European masters. Works by Botticelli, Picasso, El Greco, Rembrandt, Degas, Rubens, Renoir and other European masters are displayed. Along with American works by Dehner, Holmes, Whistler, Gilliam and others are exhibited.
At Saratoga’s Skidmore College is the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame celebrating the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s amazing Triple Crown with a stunning 360 degree immersive documentary, Saratoga Springs History Museum, New York State Military Museum, Saratoga Automobile Museum featuring 50 years of James Bond’s movie cars, and the Children’s Museum at Saratoga. In Wilton, NY there is Ulysses Grant Cottage and National Historic Landmark.
Lake George features the historic Fort William Henry re-creation, Lake George waterfront cruises, Six Flags Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor, Magic Forest and Dino Roar amusements, and Adirondack Extreme Adventures.