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
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.