Around this time every summer, the old Victorian houses that line Union Avenue in Saratoga Springs come alive, the restaurants on Broadway feel a little more full and people in large hats can be spotted all over the city. It’s summer in Saratoga, and it all begins with Saratoga Race Course’s annual open house on Sunday, July 13.
• What: Open House at Saratoga Race Course
• When: Sunday, July 13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Where: Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs
• How much: Free
• Info: www.nyra.com
For more than 30 years, the Saratoga Race Track has kicked off the season with the family event with an old country fair flair. This is the day that families fill the track to experience the mingling scents of sausage and peppers and cotton candy and the sound of carnival games and horse races in the distance.
“It’s a chance for people to get into the swing of things,” said Virginia Kellner, assistant director of communications at NYRA.
The event, now in its 34th year, is free, with all proceeds from food and activities going directly to local nonprofit organizations. Kellner said the event is also a way for the track to give back to the community.
The open house runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with family-friendly activities throughout the afternoon, including caricatures, face painting, pony rides and bounce houses. This year, kids can also take part in an equine-themed art contest and win a trophy.
Visitors can enjoy live music from Saratoga Riders, The Music Studio, Saratoga Soundtrack and Chelsea Cavanaugh.
What would Saratoga be without horses? At 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. the Islip Horseman’s Association Long island Drill Team will demonstrate its skills, as more than a dozen horses execute intricate pinwheels, circles and a V-formation on the main track. Exhibition flat runs will begin at 11:30 a.m. on the historic Oklahoma Training Track, located across the street from the main facility. The races are non-wagering.
Handicapping seminars will also take place throughout the day.
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the track? Free backstretch tours will leave every half hour beginning at 11 a.m. at the Clubhouse entrance.
The annual event also marks the first day of processing for season pass holders. All season pass holders who activate their season pass at the open house will receive a free scoop of ice cream from Stewart’s Shops.
The open house takes place on Sunday, July 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Ave. in Saratoga Springs. Admission and parking is free.
The summer meet at Saratoga Race Course begins on Friday, July 18 and concludes on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit www.nyra.com.