The Saratoga Race Course opens today. Here are some new things fans will see in and around Saratoga Race Course in 2021:
- New downtown this year is Celebrate Saratoga! from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, opening day. The welcome-back event will feature live music in multiple locations and decorated storefront windows along the streets.
- The La Crema Sonoma Coast Experience is a pop-up bar showcasing California wine country.
- Another new beverage provider at the meet will be Cooperstown Distillery, which is sponsoring the Jim Dandy Bar.
- Health Care Heroes and First Responders Day, a first-time promotion presented by CDPHP, is set Friday. All health care workers and first responders will receive free Grandstand admission with proper ID.
- A new fashion contest celebrating the tradition of style in thoroughbred racing will be 1-3 p.m. Saturday, with honors for Best Hat, Best-Dressed Woman and Best-Dressed Man.
- Another new event is New York Thoroughbred Aftercare Day, July 21. It will pay tribute to organizations that find new homes and careers for retired racehorses.
- Cutwater Spirits, a maker of ready-to-drink alcoholic cocktails, holds the naming rights to The Stretch, a private hospitality area located at the Top of the Stretch. The Cutwater Stretch is expanded from its 2018 debut, with 15 additional lounge boxes in Section T of the Grandstand.
- The Fashion Saturdays of previous years are expanded for this meet to a 40-day series of pop-up boutiques featuring clothing, accessories and jewelry for women and men.
- New seating areas at Saratoga, at extra cost, include The Spa Verandas are six new partially-covered sections at the former Top of the Stretch area adjacent to the quarter pole, accommodating up to 45 guests, each with lounge furniture, televisions, betting machines and private access to the track, and The Tailgate at the Turn offers parties of up to six access to 16 picnic areas overlooking the first turn adjacent to the 1863 Club. Also, The Stretch hospitality area has been expanded with 15 new lounge areas.
- The Woodlinville Bourbon Bar will make its Saratoga debut on the second flood of the Clubhouse.
Other track information
- The New York Racing Association is again selling Saratoga season passes, good for general admission to all 40 racing days. Passes can be purchased at nyra.com or at any Stewart’s Shop, through Sunday. The cost is $50 for grandstand and $75 for clubhouse.
- General admission is free on opening day today, for New York State residents who show proof of COVID-19 vaccination via the digital Excelsior Pass, of with a CDC vaccination record card for out-of-state residents.
- The Whitney Viewing Stand at the Oklahoma Training Track was open to the public to watch workouts only on weekends prior to the meet, but now is open 7-10 a.m. daily.
- The National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week. The museum introduced the film “What It Takes: Journey to the Hall of Fame” in a new state-of-the-art interactive space last year to pandemic-limited audiences.
- Breakfast at Saratoga, a buffet from 7-9:30 a.m. on The Porch for $20 for adults and $12 for kids under 12 is available again to provide an opportunity for fans to watch workouts on the main track.
- After the 2020 Racing Hall of Fame ceremony was canceled, the public is welcome back to attend the 2021 ceremony, free of admission, at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion on East Avenue.
- The Fasig-Tipton Sale company will also resume the annual selected yearly sales on site, open to the public for free, on Aug. 9-10. The F-T New York-bred sale will be held Aug. 15-16.
- The popular free guided tram tours of the backstretch will resume on race days, available on a first-come, first-served basis. The 45-minute tours depart from the clubhouse entrance approximately every 15 minutes from 7:30-9 a.m.