There is no finer setting for thoroughbred racing than historic Saratoga Race Course. It was named one of the world’s top 10 sporting venues of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.
This year, of course, things are a little different. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Saratoga Race Course will begin its first-ever meet with no spectators on site, Thursday, July 16th.
The 2020 summer meet at Saratoga will continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 7th. Following the four-day opening weekend, live racing will be conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays.
The Saratoga 40-day boutique race meet regularly draws (on average) more than 20,000 loyal racing fans to the track each day. That won’t be the case this year however, but most if not all taverns and restaurants in town will have live television coverage of the days races.
There will be no revisiting the past this season in the historic grandstand. No walking the hallowed grounds taking in the unmatched ambiance and charm that is The Spa.
But rest assured the excitement, beauty, and passion of America’s best Thoroughbred racing will be on display for all those who tune in to watch.
Saratoga is of course the oldest track in America, and its ways are old-fashioned. The grandstands being without spectators is unprecedented, but the track has survived worse.
So this year (dumpster fire) relish the fact that there is live racing, and that it represents, at the very least, a sliver of normalcy.
The Daily Racing Blog (along with you) will not be in attendance on opening day. But on or about 12:45 Thursday afternoon with a subtle smile and a silent nod we will acknowledge the history.
At that time the Paddock Judge will walk around the tree lined dirt ring, see the beautiful, powerful thoroughbreds with their hot-walkers, check on the jockeys, clad in their bright colored silks, and yell; “Riders Up !”
To paraphrase James Taylor; Yes, I’m gone to Saratoga in my mind.