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Saratoga Springs Race Track :: Seating Options

Saratoga Springs NY Hotel

It is no secret that the Saratoga horse racing is the busiest time of year and this Saratoga Springs hotel prides itself on offering guests a true Saratoga experience. We get many calls from “first-timers” looking to take part in the racing experience and they have lots of questions…

Is there a place to sit? The answer is yes… but paying admission to Saratoga Race Course does not guarantee you a seat, but there are options. Check out our video and more tips below!


Guaranteed grandstand seating, done early in the year, in January, is secured by a lottery system.  Fill in the request form, submit with a check and cross your fingers.

Picnic tables are locate in the backyard, close to the paddock area. It is an age honored tradition that a jacket, a newspaper or racing form will hold the seat for the patron.  These go fast.  Get there as early as 7am to claim your picnic table.

Saratoga Springs

Open air bench seating areas between the track and the grandstand. You must arrive early and claim your seat in similar fashion of the picnic tables.

Unsold grandstand seat tickets for the current day’s races  go on sale each race day at 9 the Union Avenue Reserved Seat Booth.  This is an option for the early rising first timer to obtain seats for the day. Please note grandstand seat tickets do not included admission. Check out the Grandstand Seating Chart.


Saratoga Springs Race Track

Dining Room Options– The Saratoga Race Course clubhouse has several dining room choices  that offer a truly genteel way of watching the races.  Relax as you are served a delightful lunch overlooking the track.  Our first choice would be the Turf Terrace on the 3rd and 4th floors of the clubhouse.  It is possible to reserve a table for two, or more on a first come basis. You may use the table as a home base, as it is yours for the day, as you cheer on your favorite horse and jockey.   Expect a minimum food charge but it is one of our favorite ways to spend a Saratoga Racing afternoon.

The Porch, an open air dining area at Saratoga Race Course, is another suggested favorite. You are dining track level and just a few feet from the outside rail.  Hear the pounding of the hoofs as you order from the a la carte menu.

Box Seating– And then there are the Boxes, the coveted, difficult to secure, Box Seating where the racing elite spend the afternoon. Most are held in private hands. The remaining are reserved for horsemen.  Any remaining boxes will be offered to the public on the day of the race, but not on Friday or Saturday.

Please note reservations are a must and are done on a first come first served basis in the dining rooms. It is not too early to reserve your table!  Call the NYRA Dining Line: 888-516-6972  NOW!


With a rare exception, a racing season reservation at Saratoga Arms includes plans for at least one visit to the race track.  Track knowledge can range from “There’s a race track in Saratoga????” to the enthusiast who knows the inside way to get to the coveted box seats.  Most lie somewhere in between. Here are few more tips to ensure a great visit!


How do I get into the Saratoga Race Course? It is easy to get into the track.  First you find a parking space.  There are a few official parking lots around the track, but we recommend paying for a spot at a entrepreneurial resident that parks cars on the grounds of their homes along Nelson Avenue.  It is then an easy walk to the “Wright Street” entrance to the track.

Then what do I do? Decide if you are going to mingle with the General Admission population or enter the Club House side of the track and pay an additional fee to be closer to the finish line to cheer on the winning horse and jockey. Pay your entry fee, go through the turnstile and you are on the grounds of the historic Saratoga race track.

Finally, book your lodging early! Racing season is one of the most popular times to visit Saratoga Springs. Make sure to secure your room for the best availability and prices at our downtown Saratoga Springs hotel!


2014 Saratoga Beer Week


Let’s cheer for Beer!

Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and is the third most popular drink consumed worldwide, right behind water and tea. Some would argue it is the oldest fermented beverage dating back to 9500 bc.  According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia “Beer is an alcoholic beverage produced by the saccharification of starch and fermentation of the resulting sugar. The starch and saccharification enzymes are often derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat.”  I guess there are folks who care about the process, but I would wager more care about the result.  Saratoga Beer Week in Saratoga Springs, NY, February 18-22, 2014 will honor all things beer from the brewing process to the imbibing ritual.

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Saratoga Springs’ All-American Celebration for July 4th!

Fireworks in Saratoga Springs

Courtesy of Matt Malette via Flickr

Independence Day, commonly referred to as July 4th, is a day we commemorate the signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence from 1776. Saratoga Springs, NY goes all out for an old fashioned all-American 4th of July celebration. Imagine flags waving, marching parades, politicians, finger-licking good barbecue, and homemade desserts along with family picnics and fireworks… all become a reality in our beautiful city. Throw in a modern day 4-mile Firecracker Race and you have one of the best ways to celebrate Independence Day anywhere. And the best part of it all, our Saratoga Springs hotel is located right in the middle of the all the festivities.

The starting line for the 5K race is just across the street from the hotel. The parade route passes right by our fabulous Saratoga-style front porch. Sit in our old-fashioned white-wicker furniture, sip your lemonade, and salute the flag as it passes by.

Stroll down Broadway to historic Congress Park and meet General Burgoyne, noted American Revolutionary War luminary. Ride on a beautifully restored carousel, admire restored classic cars, or simply watch the ducks and ducklings wander freely throughout the park. Enjoy the bliss of the evening and hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence followed by an exciting fireworks display.

As you reflect on the importance of celebrating Independence Day and living in or at least visiting this wonderful country, maybe the words of Lee Greenwoods, “Proud to Be an American” will play over and over in your head. Come share the joy of patriotism with others for a true blue all-American Independence Day celebration! To add to the events of the day, we are just a short drive from The Saratoga National Battlefield and Historic Park, turning point of the American Revolution, a must see memorial to a battle hard fought and ultimately won.

For a complete list of events visit Saratoga’s All American Celebration. Happy 4th of July from the Smith Family and staff at Saratoga Arms Hotel.

On this day in Saratoga Arms history

On December 19, 1997, Kathleen and Noel Smith purchased a dilapidated old rooming house on Broadway. It took great vision (and a very helpful local bank) to renovate, restore and reopen this 1870 building as Saratoga Arms a sixteen-room hotel in 1998. As we reflect upon the past 14 years, we are thankful for the changes that our Saratoga Springs Hotel has brought into our lives.

  • In 1999, The Preservation Foundation recognized the restoration effort as a positive contribution to the preservation of the historic downtown district.
  • In 2002, Amy Smith, the eldest Smith daughter, joined the family business as General Manager.
  • In 2005, a new addition that doubled the size of Saratoga Arms to 31 rooms was opened with an executive meeting room and workout facilities, just in time to welcome Skidmore graduation parents and families.
  • In 2009, Sheila Smith Sperling, the middle of the three Smith daughters, joined the family business as Group Sales Manager.
  • Interspersed over the years, 6 grandchildren have expanded the family, possibly assuring that the family business will continue for a third generation.
  • Over 60,000 guests have walked through our doors, some famous, some infamous and many not so famous guests including politicians, celebrities and horse breeders. Those who return year after year are more than just guests, they have become good friends.
  • We have seen the changing times from CD players to iPod alarm clocks, old tube television to flat screens, corded high speed internet access to wireless throughout, and a user-friendly interactive website with all the bells and whistles of the digital age.
Although the past 14 years have brought many changes to our Saratoga Springs Bed and Breakfast, those that have remained constant are the most important–Noel still makes the breakfast each morning, Kathleen remains the quintessential social engineer and Judy takes great pride in making every guest’s stay a special one.
Thanks to all of our guests, the Saratoga Springs community and a hardworking Saratoga Arms family for making the first 14 years such a success. Just imagine what the next 14 years will hold for Saratoga Arms.
Saratoga Springs Hotel

Top 10 Interesting Tidbits About the Saratoga Lip Dub

On September 1, 2011, residents from Saratoga Springs, NY participated in a citywide Lip Dub. People in costume (many with props) lined the downtown street to lip sync to 3 Train songs. On September 27th, the premiere of the finished product was shown on the big screen of The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) and we have the full video below for your enjoyment.

We have tabulated our list of the 10 things you might not know about the Saratoga Lip Dub…interesting behind the scenes morsels, a little idea of who these people are, and just a few reasons why Saratoga Springs is a great place to live and a better place to visit. Our list is in chronological order. So as you watch, read our list and follow along.

1. Shauna Sutton, Deputy Mayor of Saratoga Springs, had the “Hey Soul Sister” lyrics taped to her back for anyone behind her to read. She is located at the beginning of the video at the Saratoga Springs City Center, dressed in a blue suit.

2. The folks seen crossing the street from the City Center to the Stewarts Ice Cream cow are actors from the Saratoga Shakespeare Company, a great summer theatre in Congress Park.

3. The porch of Saratoga Arms was filled with many, many, many family members, friends, neighbors, classmates and members of Saratoga Pride.

4. The large wagon filled with garden fresh vegetables (the woman was singing into a zucchini) was from local farms that participate in the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, just voted the 2nd best medium sized farmers market in the country.

5. The Victorian Era dressed people walking across the street participate every year at the Saratoga Springs Victorian Street Walk. The Street Walk will be held this year on Thursday, December 1, 2011.

6. No people or animals were injured during the making of this video. The boy on the stretcher was an actor and we have a wonderful city hospital. 🙂

7. The white t-shirts and people holding beer steins represent the annual Chowderfest and our citywide Brewfest. And remember, Saratoga Arms offers Ultimate Winter Beer Weekends!!

8. What is the poster of the crazy-haired lady with all of the squigglies? Why, it’s the Saratoga Springs Annual First Night, a New Year’s Eve event with music all over the city…and fireworks at midnight.

9. I have looked but I have never seen a human slot machine or life sized dice at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.  I’m still looking though.  What would be the return?

10. Over 1,000 people attended the finale in historic Congress Park. What a great way to spend a summer afternoon.



Owners of Saratoga Arms Learning from the Next Generation

“Mom, you’re going to write a blog.” my thirty something daughter said to me. She had just spent eight months convincing her seventy year old father and sixty year old mother that we were going to spend a small fortune to redesign our hotel’s website and give a young woman in Hawaii the job of promoting it. Hard for me to swallow. We were getting so much of our reservations from our old website, and besides, everyone knows that no one actually works in Hawaii. The new Saratoga Arms’ website went live a month ago. Within ten days we had pulled in enough online reservations and a conference to pay for it. It must be very difficult to be a smart, sharp, tech savvy daughter of the founders of Saratoga’s very best lodging property and have to combat twentieth century parents with whom you work.

The next hurdle is to educate her old mother to blog protocol. Like Betty Davis said, fasten your seatbelts. It could be a bumpy ride.