SARATOGA SPRINGS — Need a ride to the Travers? Rick Cottone has you covered, especially if you’re leaving from Glens Falls at around 10:30 a.m.
“I’ve been lucking out,” the Uber driver said of bringing people from areas close to his hometown to Saratoga Race Course this summer. “I usually get a rider here and then drop them at the track, and I just stay here.”
Saturday marks the 145th running of the Travers Stakes. This year, it’s a $1.25 million race with a 12-horse field that features Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, Preakness champion Cloud Computing and Belmont winner Tapwrit.
And this year, the big event falls on the same day as country music star Luke Bryan’s Saratoga Performing Arts Center show. Police expect about 125,000 people to be in the city Saturday and have issued an extensive traffic guide. Police are urging drivers to get to the track early and take advantage of all entrances to the city — not just Northway Exit 14.
Uber drivers like Cottone, who works full-time as a truck driver, are ready and willing to take on the expected traffic. On Friday, Cottone was parked in the Uber-designated lot at East and Union avenues, polishing his 2017 black Nissan Pathfinder and checking his app for potential customers.
“I hate the traffic, but if I’m getting paid, it’s not as bad, because Uber pays you by the minute, too," he said.
Those seeking transportation to and from the Travers will have new options other than ride-sharing this year: Services like Uber, the New York Racing Association’s official ride-sharing service, became legal in upstate New York on June 29.
Here are the other ways you can get to and around the Spa City on Saturday — without driving — and some tips to help you navigate the options.
Take the trolley
Looking for a ride from the track to the city’s bustling Broadway bar scene? Why not take a bus designed to look like a historic street trolley?
The Saratoga Springs Summer Trolley is a free service offered by the Capital District Transportation Authority, and it will be running on Saturday.
The trolley makes stops throughout the city and includes an 8-minute ride from Nelson Avenue near the track to Broadway, as well as a ride back to the track. The trolley arrives every 30 minutes and runs from 11 a.m. to 11:20 p.m.
Rent a bike
Like ride-sharing, the CDPHP-sponsored bike-share program is also new this year in Saratoga Springs. Bikes can be rented and returned at four locations around the city: the corner of Pavilion Row and Caroline Street; the YMCA on Railroad Run; Saratoga Spa State Park; and at the corner of Broadway and Congress Street.
Renting a bike requires a visit to the cdphpcycle.com website, where riders provide payment information and are issued account numbers. It costs $5 per hour to ride.
This option is not advised for those who have been consuming alcohol. Read on for safer alternatives.
Uber and Lyft
As NYRA’s designated ride-sharing app, Uber is easy to use around the racecourse. Use it to hail a ride, which will likely be waiting for you at the designated lot by Union and East avenues — close to the main gates.
There should be no shortage of Uber drivers, if last Saturday’s entourage of cars was any indication.
“There must have been 20 Uber drivers here,” Cottone said.
Many Uber drivers double as Lyft drivers, so you can always try that service’s app, too.
Hail a cab
For those who prefer to get a ride the old-fashioned way, taxis will be waiting on Frank Sullivan Place, near Gate 7, as usual.
Google-search “Saratoga cab” for some numbers to call.
Travers: What you need to know
- Gates open at 7 a.m.
- First post-time: 11:35 a.m.
- The Travers Stakes starts at 5:44 p.m.
- The race will be broadcast on NBC
- Grandstand admission access costs $15
- Reserved seating, dining and hospitality options are sold out
- Clubhouse tickets won’t be available for purchase Saturday
- For safety reasons, guests will not be allowed to run on track grounds (This policy will be strictly enforced, according to NYRA officials)
- Only one table per person may be reserved in the backyard
- Selling picnic table space is not allowed and will result in expulsion from track grounds