Tips and Tricks for the Saratoga Race Course

jockey on race horse at saratoga race track

Track season at the Saratoga Race Course is almost here! Whether you consider yourself a seasoned pro at getting around the track or if this is your first year attending, there is always something new to learn. Use the following tips and tricks to plan your trip to the Saratoga Race Course and enjoy cheering on your picks as they race towards the finish!

Get to the Track Early

Most days, the first post time isn’t until early afternoon. However, the track opens at 7 AM for breakfast. At this time there is also a rush of people looking to claim their picnic table in the unreserved backyard grounds (no direct track view). You’ll also want to get to the track early to get a prime parking spot (more on this later).

There are several reserved seating options if you don’t want the stress of claiming a spot. The Miller Lite Picnic Paddock has more than 100 picnic tables adjacent to the paddock area and can be reserved in advance. These tables are limited to a maximum of six people each.

If you’d like to be inside and have a view of the track, you can purchase reserved seats in the Grandstand or the Clubhouse. Prices differ depending on the day of the week you choose to visit so plan ahead!

Know Where to Park

There are multiple parking options at the track; some free and some paid. Keep in mind that the closer you get to the track the more money you’ll pay for parking.

General parking is located off of Union Ave and is free to everyone. The large lot is first come first serve and there is a shuttle that will drop you off at the entrance. We don’t recommend washing your car before visiting as the general parking lot is dirt and grass.

Trackside parking is accessed from East Avenue and Ludlow Avenue. You’ll pay $12 on weekdays and $15 on weekends but you’ll be right by the gate to enter the track. It’s up to you if you value being close or saving some cash.

Handicapped parking is available at all NYRA lots (General, Oklahoma and Trackside). Limited valet parking is available on a daily basis. Enter through the Union Avenue parking lot and plan on paying between $25 and $35 depending on the day of the week you’re at the track.

Our last parking option doesn’t involve parking at all! Residents of  The Grove or The Washington can enjoy a quick Uber ride to the Saratoga Race Course and enjoy no stress of finding a parking spot.

Dine at the Track

If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, reserve a table at one of several restaurants at the track.

Breakfast at the Track is available each morning from 7am – 9:30am on the Porch of the Clubhouse. Enjoy a delicious breakfast while watching the horses running their morning workouts. You might even spot the horse that will help you win it all!

Full-Service dining options include the Turf Terrace Dining Room and The Club Terrace. Both offer spectacular views of the track and menus that are sure to impress. Dining reservations for all three location can be made by visiting the online reservation platform.

Bring a Cooler

If you’re looking to avoid buying food all day, bring a cooler! Coolers are allowed on the trackside apron, Top of the Stretch, and backyard picnic area. Coolers can’t be any larger than 12” x 18” on the track apron and Top of the Stretch. Coolers are subject to search and no glass is allowed. Keep this in mind if you plan on bringing beer, cider, or food in glass containers.

If you’re sitting in the Grandstand or the Clubhouse, you may not bring a cooler. However, you can still bring a lunch-sized soft bag. Pack your favorite snacks, a sandwich and a drink and plan for an exciting day!

Make A Dinner Reservation

The fun doesn’t end once the last race is over. Many people head to Broadway and the surrounding streets for dinner and drinks. We highly recommend making a dinner reservation at least a week in advance for the best chance of dining at your first choice.

Another tip – leave for dinner before the last race. You’ll get a head start on the mad rush out of the race course and will make your reservation on time!

Saratoga Favorites that take Reservations: 

A Few More Tips

Here are a few more quick tips for enjoying the day:

  • Buy a racing program and bring a pen so you can place an informed bet
  • Wear comfortable shoes – the track is large, you’ll regret the high heels
  • Wear sunscreen if you’ll be sitting outside
  • Bring cash
  • No pets are allowed except for necessary medical purposes

The historic Saratoga Race Course is full of excitement and traditions, encouraging thousands to visit the destination every year. Move to Saratoga before the track opens and enjoy the Race Course all season long. Search our Saratoga apartments today!