While pro baseball players might take top sports billing this time of year, another group of elite athletes—thoroughbred racehorses—are the undeniable stars of summer in one New York town. Saratoga Springs, home of the legendary Saratoga Race Course, is helping its storied landmark celebrate 150 years with a 40-day race meet (July 20 to August 25) that puts the institution’s history on display.
“The 150th anniversary season is a celebration of not only the history of thoroughbred racing but the history of the Saratoga Springs community as a whole,” says Rodnell Workman, vice president and CMO of the New York Racing Association. “The track and the city are intrinsically linked with one another.”
Iconic horses like Secretariat, Seabiscuit and Man o’ War have raced in Saratoga, which is one of the most successful thoroughbred race meets in the United States, drawing more than 900,000 fans each summer. The Race Course’s official birthday (August 3) will feature special events and the Whitney Handicap. The 144th running of the illustrious Travers Stakes—the oldest major graded stakes in the country for three-year-olds—happens on August 24, promising a possible showdown between the winners of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
And in between, city festivals, parades and special events take over the town of Saratoga itself, home to renowned mineral baths, elevated restaurants and a vibrant cultural scene (the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra spend their summers there). But when all is said and done, those 40 days belong to the horses. 267 Union Ave.; 518-584-6200; nyra.com/saratoga.