SARATOGA SPRINGS — Guests at Saratoga Race Course will notice changes this year, both at the Race Course and throughout the city, as the season kicks off Friday, continuing Wednesdays through Mondays until Labor Day.
1) The Stretch is the latest hospitality area to debut at the track since the mid-1960s, according to the New York Racing Association. It is located in the Grandstand at the Top of the Stretch and features 32 boxes that can accommodate four to 12 guests. Each box comes with an iPad, which guests can use to order food, place bets at Saratoga Race Course and other race tracks across the country, and watch television.
Ticket holders for The Stretch will be given access to a full-service bar with 20 seats, kitchen, concessions, high-definition televisions and private restrooms. There is also a two-tiered dining area alongside the bar that boasts four-, six- and eight-person tables. The front section of The Stretch has approximately 200 premium reserved seats, each flanked by a table and available for daily reservation.
The Stretch is sold out for opening day and Saturday.
Single-day tickets for premium reserved seats in The Stretch can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
2) There's a new weekly event, "Fashion Saturdays," offering a boutique-style shopping experience featuring women's and men's clothing and accessories from local retailers, as well as home décor, jewelry and beauty.
Participating vendors include: Bumble Beads Boutique, Carol Wells Collection, Complexions Spa, Lifestyles of Saratoga, Miss Scarlett Boutique, The National, and TOGA Heritage.
The event will take place 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays in the Coca-Cola Saratoga Pavilion.
3) The "Toga Toga" Daily Double on Saturday, July 21, is a new partnership between NYRA and the Saratoga Casino Hotel. There will be a cross-breed Daily Double wager comprised of the Grade 1, $500,000 Diana and the 10th annual $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace at the Saratoga Harness track. It includes a $1 minimum wager and will be available on-track at both Saratoga Race Course and Saratoga Harness, as well as through NYRA Bets, advance-deposit wagering (ADW) platforms and at simulcast facilities across the country.
5) Guests will find that the red-and-white awnings and striped canopies at the racecourse, which were added to the property in the mid-1970s, have been replaced with copper roofing. In 2015, NYRA started to restore the copper roofing, which predated the red-and-white awnings and striped canopies. It can be found on the archway over the clubhouse escalator and at other locations on the property. The copper roofing helps protect that facility from inclement weather.
6) Racing City Brewing is a new option for racing fans as they enjoy the Spa City. It debuted in March at 250 Excelsior Ave. and offers beer, wine and food. At 10:30 a.m. every Saturday, the venue serves brunch, where a guest handicapper will give attendees expert picks for Saratoga Race Course that day. The brunch event kicks off July 21, with author and horse racing analyst Kris Vemula. Racing City Brewing is open Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 7 p.m.
7) Racing fans familiar with the city may do a double take when they see the Cantina. The Mexican restaurant relocated to 408 Broadway, approximately 100 feet from their old location. The new location, which debuted in May, has two stories and boasts 1,000 more square feet of space.
8) Kaffee House opened in February at 120 West Ave. The business offers a selection of coffee and tea, sandwiches, soups and pastries, as well as German specialties like German meatballs and Bratwurst. In June, Kaffee House began offering brunch every Sunday. The business is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays.
9) The Beekman Arts District saw the debut of Taverna Novo, an Italian restaurant, in March. Taverna Novo, located at 62 Beekman St., features a selection of wood-fired pizzas, salads and entrees. Owner Patricia Pendergast Novo, a certified specialist of wine with the Society of Wine Educators, is constantly updating the wine list, which boasts more than 60 varieties. Taverna Novo is open 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
10) The re-opening of the Adelphi Hotel in the fall was followed by the debut of its restaurant, the Blue Hen, which opened at the historic hotel in December. The dinner menu features a selection of salads and entrees such as veal chop, filet mignon, salmon, duck and rack of lamb. The restaurant also offers breakfast daily and a weekend brunch featuring lemon ricotta pancakes, bread pudding french toast, steak and eggs, and more. Breakfast is served daily from 6:30 to 11 a.m., brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner is from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
11) Pig 'N Whistle is expected to debut its second location by next weekend in space formerly occupied by the Circus Cafe, at 392 Broadway. The restaurant will boast appetizers such as tuna tartare and a Bavarian pretzel. Specialties such as prime rib will be offered on Fridays and Saturdays, and there will also be Irish-American-inspired items on the menu.
12) Saratoga's Broadway Deli opened Tuesday at 420 Broadway. The business offers breakfast, including egg sandwiches and latkes, or fried potato pancakes. Lunch items include a selection of soups, paninis, salads and sandwiches such as roast beef, pastrami and tongue. Saratoga's Broadway Deli is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.