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Fans Anticipating Saratoga Race Course 31st Annual Open House
by Dick Healy

The historic Race Course on Saratoga’s Union Avenue will host its 31st annual Open House, Sunday, July 17, and I suggest you take the kids to this fun-filled outing because the New York State Racing Association is presenting several special events for visitors of all ages, especially the youngsters.

Saratoga Race Course is the oldest continuous operating thoroughbred race track in the country (it opened 1864), and aside from the Kentucky Derby, Saratoga’s Race Course schedule features the $1-million Travers Stakes- this year to be run on Saturday, August 27 - for top three-year-old thoroughbreds still competing.

The NYRA takes this opportunity each race season to showcase not only its beautiful track setting, but also to give the public a chance to see and appreciated its track-side and backstretch operations.

The gates open at 11 a. m. and close at 4 p. m., Admission and parking is free.

Among the activities packed into the five-hour open house period, are carnival games, live music, giant inflatables, circus shows, and handicapping seminars. Several venders will be offering drinks and food throughout the day. Though Saratoga is a fairly affluent town, it does have its share of needy families. You can bring along non-perishable canned goods to assist low and fixed income families that will be accepted at the gates by members of the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council and later distributed to deserving families.

There will be no pari-mutuel betting, however, the National Steeplechase Association will present hurdle races starting at 1:30 p. m, and spacing them 45 minutes apart that can be witnessed from the grandstand and clubhouse boxes.

There are many other open house features not mentioned here, yet I couldn’t finish by not mentioning one of my favorites. That is the backstretch tour where you get to see up close men and women who tend 24/7 to the horses, including hot-walkers and grooms.

Two unique demonstrations by members of the Islip Horsemen’s Association Long Island Drill Team (one at 11:15 a. m. and another at 12:45 p. m) will take place in front of the grandstands on the main race track. Some of the drill team’s history includes participation in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

If you’re are driving to Saratoga north on I-87, get off at exit 14 and head west. The Race Course is approximately one-half –mile o your left.

More by Dick Healy




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