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. Saratoga Springs is home to the oldest race course in North America, that celebrated 150 years in 2013.
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.
We get many calls from “first-timers” looking to take part in the racing experience and they have lots of questions
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.
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 and below are our suggestions.
GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING
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.
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 a.m.at 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.
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!
For an inside look at your seating options at the Saratoga Race Track, take a look at our video!