The Saratoga Race Course is slated to open on Thursday, sans fans.
Due to concerns over COVID-19, spectators aren’t permitted at the Race Course this year. Instead, fans will cheer from their living rooms or the patios of restaurants around the Spa City.
Some establishments are aiming to make it feel as close to a day at the track as possible, with pop-up shops, food and drink specials, and big-screen TVs featuring the races.
For those looking for a place to view the first day of the season, here are a few restaurants in Saratoga Springs that plan to host watch parties:
Prime at Saratoga National
Not too far from the Race Course, Prime will host “A Day at the Races” on Thursday. From 12:30-6:30 p.m. people can reserve tables, watch the Simulcast Races, order lunch, cocktails and cigars.
Additionally, Hatsational will host a pop-up shop; there will be a “Winners Circle” photo opportunity and Handicapper Anthony Stabile will be a special guest. The dress code is collared shirts and shorts for men and casual attire for women.
Reservations are $50 a seat with a $30 food and beverage credit. For more information call 519-306-2330.
Racing City Brewing Company
Located on Excelsior Ave., Racing City Brewing Co. plans to hold watch parties all summer long.
To view the races, the Paddock Production Room features a 23-by-14-foot screen and the Clubhouse Tasting Room features two TVs as well.
People can make reservations via racingcitybrew.square.site for $25 for a table. Included in that cost is a token for a glass of beer or wine and a copy of the Daily Racing Form.
Attendees can bring food or order takeout to Racing City. Everyone must wear a mask.
Peabody’s Sports Bar & Grill
The popular Saratoga Springs sports bar will host watch parties on its patio throughout the track season.
They’ll open around 12:30 on Thursday with food and drink specials. Due to COVID-19, seating will be limited. For more information visit peabodystoga.com.
Right down the road from the Saratoga Race Course, Kings Tavern will open at noon for opening day, bringing in fans who are missing the action.
“Instead of being on the rail yelling ‘get up 3, get up 3!’ We will be in our favorite watering hole yelling into our phones or at the TVs,” posted Kings on Facebook.
The tavern will not take reservations and seating is on a first come first serve basis. For a look at the menu, hours and more information visit Kings Tavern on Facebook.
A bit further from the Race Course, 15 Church will host watch parties from its patio from opening day to the end of the meet.
They’ve set up extra TVs and will have “enough champagne for every winner.” People can reserve tables for the day or the entire meet. The cost is $125 per person, which includes a $100 food and beverage credit. For more information call 518-587-1515.
Known for its live music, the Putnam Street venue opens at noon on Thursday and will show the races on what they call the biggest LED video wall in downtown Saratoga.
From 5-7 p.m. there will be a happy hour, followed by live music from 7-10 p.m. on the patio from Deadbeats Duo (Mike Johnson and Dan Gerken). Live music is weather permitting.