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What you need to know for 08/24/2017

Museum in Saratoga chronicles horse racing history

Saratoga Summer

Museum in Saratoga chronicles horse racing history

Jockey Irene Weisfuse rode hard down the stretch, but couldn’t win the race at Hollywood Park.
Museum in Saratoga chronicles horse racing history
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs sits across from the Saratoga Race Course.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Jockey Irene Weisfuse rode hard down the stretch, but couldn’t win the race at Hollywood Park.

“He did the best he could,” she said, patting her mount afterward.

“I came in third,” said the woman from Yorktown Heights. “At least I got on the board.”

Weisfuse is not really a jockey, and her ride was not really a horse. It was a simulator at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame that provides visitors an approximation of what it is to ride a thoroughbred.

The museum, across Union Avenue from Saratoga Race Course, annually draws a tenth of the number of people who visit its baseball counterpart in Cooperstown. But this museum has numerous artifacts, exhibits and attractions that capture the history and the spirit of the sport both in Saratoga and throughout the United States.

Founded in 1950, the museum presents artifacts ranging from trophies to old races on film and even art. The must-see exhibit here is dedicated to Saratoga Race Course: There was much hoopla at the track surrounding last year’s 150th commemoration of racing in the city, but the museum decided to have a two-year exhibit.

“This is the second year of the 150th; we viewed it as a two-year exhibit, since 1863 was the first year of racing [in Saratoga] and 1864 was the first year of racing at Saratoga Race Course,” said museum communications coordinator Brien Bouyea.

During racing season, the museum is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students and those 55 and older; children under 5 are free.

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