Saratoga Race Track - Facts About Saratoga Race Course

Historical and fascinating facts about the Saratoga Race Course surface as the 142nd season begins in New York.

As the 142nd season of Saratoga Race Course opens July 23rd, an interest in the track's historical facts surface. What's the history behind the majestic race course?

Historical Saratoga Facts

Saratoga sits on 350 acres of horse racing track in Saratoga Springs, New York.  The race course is the oldest one in the United States and is recognized as one of the New York state's most vital tracks.  In 1847 the first Thoroughbred race in the United States was held there and the first national race was a four-day meet which began August 3, 1863.

The meet in Saratoga was the creative genius of John Morrisey (a State Senator, gambler and prize fighter), John Hunter (who became first Chairman of the Jockey Club), and William Travers (he owned the first horse to win the Travers Stakes), and Leonard Jerome (founder of Jerome race track in Bronx, New York).  All four were in charge of the grand event that was so successful, it became an annual affair.  In order to accomodate more spectators, the facilities were enlarged by moving across the street.

The race course was the scene for defeats Man O'War, Gallant Fox, and Secretariet faced by virtual unknowns.  This dubbed Saratoga the "Graveyard of the Favorites." 

Saratoga Race Course has held strong to its position in the industry's elite establishment.  Not only is the Travers Stakes held every summer season at the famous track, but so are the New York Stallion Series, the Ballerina, Saratoga's Breeder's Cup, Amsterdam, Whitney Handicap, and Diana Handicap.  

Facts About Saratoga's Facilities

Saratoga's Main Course is exactly 1 1/8 miles in distance while the Turf Course is 1 mile.  The distance of the Steeplechase/Inner Turf Coarse is 7/8 mile.

Capacity for seating is 17,000, but the overall attendance capacity is 40,000.  In the 142nd Saratoga race event, CEO and NYRA President, Charlie Hayward, hopes to see 27,000 fans arrive at the stands on Friday's opening day.  The typical attendance is 25,000.  With the race falling on a Friday and free admission to the stands with low cost seating, he hopes that will be a huge draw for racing enthusiasts.  Giveaways of umbrellas, hats, and T-shirts, will still be available.

Over one million people usually attend the typical 36-day Saratoga races, but this year the event will extend to 40-days with 52 stakes. 

The Saratoga Race Course will host the summer event from July 23 through September 6, 2010.  The million dollar Travers Stakes take place August 28th. 

Source:  Horseracing.info , Only Kent

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