The Saratoga Race Course opens for the 2019 Season on Thursday, July 11th and Mini City is here to give you the info on the kid and family friendly track options so you can plan your visit to this historic sporting venue!
Opened over 150 years ago, the Saratoga Race Course was named one of the world’s greatest sporting venues by Sports Illustrated, and the past comes alive in the historic grandstand every summer as fans experience not only the best in racing, but the unmatched ambience and charm of historic Saratoga Springs. While it can get crowded and hot in the summer there are plenty of ways to create a family friendly experience that makes everyone a winner. We take the kids at least a few times every year and it is one of our favorite summer family traditions.
Breakfast at the Track
There are a couple options for breakfast at the track. First, a breakfast buffet is served on The Porch of the Clubhouse while the Thoroughbreds prepare for future races and is available every morning except Travers Day. Please note that admission must be paid to re-enter the track once live racing has begun. No reservations are accepted for breakfast. The cost for the sit down breakfast is $18.50 per person and $9.25 for children 12 and under.
You can also come and watch the horses warm up and bring your own breakfast in. Grab a couple of bagels and find a spot along the rail to watch.
One of the highlights of the breakfast program is the free tram tour of our famous and historic stable area (weather permitting). The first tram that takes you to the stable area, leaves the main Clubhouse entrance at approximately 7:30 a.m. with additional trams leaving approximately every 15 minutes. The last tour departs at around 9:00 a.m. (The Tour is available every race day except Travers Day).
To make your visit as enjoyable as possible, they offer the following Tour Tips:
Due to the huge popularity of the tour, trams are often full to capacity way before departure time. We strongly suggest that you plan your morning accordingly. Experience has shown that the tours popularity increases as the morning progresses.
No reservations are accepted. Trams are filled on a first come first serve basis.
Tour is roughly 45 minutes in length from start to finish.
Last tour leaves at approximately 9:00 a.m. or when the last tram is full to capacity. The last tour of the morning is the most popular and for that reason, there are times when people must be turned away. In the event that does occur, we hope that you will consider taking the tour on your next visit.
Whitney Viewing Stand
Mornings at the Whitney Viewing Stand offer an unprecedented vantage point to experience the enduring ritual of morning training at Saratoga. Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily during the Summer meet, the Viewing Stand overlooks the historic Oklahoma Training Track across Union Avenue from the Race Course. It models the look of the track’s original 1892 Judges’ Stand, which stood in front of the Grandstand—and honors the many contributions of the Whitneys, one of thoroughbred racing’s most prominent and dedicated families.
Berkshire Bank Family Sundays and the Family Zone
With the move to the weekend, Berkshire Bank Family Sundays is expected to draw more fans than ever before. Berkshire Bank Family Sundays will feature a wide variety of free family-friendly activities, games, attractions and educational activities each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.
Berkshire Bank Family Sundays are supplemented by the nearby Berkshire Bank Family Zone, a smoke- and alcohol-free interactive play area for children. Additional features include a complimentary phone charging station, courtesy of Berkshire Bank, and a giant Adirondack-style chair designed for photo opportunities.
The Berkshire Bank Family Zone features an oval multi-lane running track surrounding the playscape, a miniature replica starting gate, a "selfie" photo station, spring horses, and educational panels designed to teach children about the life of a race horse.
New features include a complimentary phone charging station, courtesy of Berkshire Bank, and a giant Adirondack-style chair designed for photo opportunities.
The backyard provides access to picnic tables, most of them available on a first-come, first-served basis, numerous concession stands, daily entertainment, a view of Paddock and Grandstand Apron access. Gates open at 11am each day, aside from Travers which opens at 7 am.
Coolers no larger than 12" x 18" are permitted at Saratoga Race Course. Coolers are permitted in the Building and Clubhouse, the Trackside Apron and the Top of the Stretch and must be kept off seats and out of aisles. Coolers are permitted in the Backyard picnic areas and must be kept off tables. Coolers may contain plastic bottles or cans and are subject to search by the NYRA security at any time.
Good to Know
Does everyone wear hats? No, but a lot of people do! The dress code is enforced in certain seating areas like the Turf Terrace, but for general admission people dress up in anything from casual summer wear to pretty dresses with hats, it’s up to you what you want to wear.
Are strollers allowed? Yes! Plenty of strollers at the track. It does get crowded on certain days but it’s a big place, and we have navigated strollers even on busier days.
Parking. How do we put this? Parking isn’t…great. But there are a TON of lots around the entire track that you can find good spots in, a lot of people make lots out of their backyards (yes really) and charge cash to park at and these are always usually very safe and a good deal so bring cash if you don’t want a far walk from your parking space.
Concessions. There are so many concessions throughout the track, everything from ice cream to hot dogs to local restaurants and of course Shake Shack.
For more information and questions, visit NYRA by clicking the button below: