The History behind the Majestic Saratoga Race Track

Famous all around the world for the diversity of the racing and multitude of betting opportunities it offers, Saratoga spreads out on 350 acres of horse racing track in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The racecourse stands out as the oldest of its kind in the United States, has the reputation of being New York’s premier tracks, and is an increasingly popular tourist attraction.

The Saratoga was inaugurated back in 1847, when the first thoroughbred race in the United States was held there.

The first national-level race was a four-day contest, which began August 3, 1863.

From that moment on, the Saratoga race track became a regular host for prestigious horse racing events and raised the standards for all equine competitions to come.

The history-changing meet on August 3, 1863 was the brainchild of John Morrisey (a State Senator, avid gambler and prizefighter), William Travers (the owner of the first horse to win the Travers Stakes challenge), John Hunter (who later became first Chairman of the Jockey Club), and Leonard Jerome (the founder of Jerome racetrack in Bronx, New York).

Much to the surprise of the four pioneers of top class equine racing at the Saratoga, the planned event turned out to be so successful that it became an annual affair.

As the popularity of the Saratoga race track was growing exponentially, not long after the track had been inaugurated, the surrounding facilities were moved across the street and the grandstands expanded to accommodate a larger number of spectators.

The competitiveness and quality of the racing improved significantly over time, and Saratoga became the scene for incredible twists of events and legendary defeats like those conceded by Man O’War, Gallant Fox, and Secretariet to heavily underrated anonyms. As a result, Saratoga earned the reputation of being the “Graveyard of Favorites”, and the trend has carried on to this very day. Although at present Saratoga online horse betting is virtually a national sport, casual and professional gamblers alike have learned their lesson well and know how important it is to think twice before betting a favorite.
In fact, with respect to season champions, it seems that the saying “The higher they climb, the harder they fall” captures the essence of the Saratoga superbly.

The Saratoga race track has maintained its prominence in the industry’s elite establishment, and has become the usual host of the prestigious Travers Stakes, as well as the New York Stallion Series, the Ballerina, Saratoga’s Breeder’s Cup, Amsterdam, Whitney Handicap, and Diana Handicap.

Saratoga’s total seating capacity is 17,000, although the overall attendance capacity is 40,000. During each season, the average attendance revolves somewhere around 25,000, with the size of the crowds being directly proportional to the magnitude of the racing events held.
Highly prestigious, traditional events are heavily advertised, and during such races the spectators are commonly offered printed umbrellas, hats, T-shirts and various other freebies.

Although the typical racing schedule at the Saratoga is structured to take place over 36 days, this year the event extended to 40 days (starting July 23 and ending September 6), and included no less than 52 stakes.

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