You can think of Saratoga Race Course as a theater.
There’s the backstage area, known in racing as the backstretch. In the morning, horse owners mingle with trainers, exercise riders and grooms as they prepare for the afternoon show. The horses are washed and brushed. The tours came with curious fans looking at the whole scene.
On the other side of the curtain is the racetrack, where expensive thoroughbreds race for tens of thousands of dollars, or more, 10 times a day, and the grandstand, with its own mix of hard-core horseplayers along local families at low cost. day out
Fans arrive in the wee hours to stake out a picnic table, the value of which is almost priceless by the time the race begins. On a big day, space is at a premium, with the well-heeled and dressed-up sitting in private boxes with names like Whitney and Phipps on them and the less fortunate scrambling. for a place on the railway.
Once a four-week sprint, the Saratoga race meeting became so popular that it was expanded to nearly eight weeks, including the nation’s most important summer race. The biggest race, the Travers Stakes on August 26, was won by Arcangelo, the Belmont Stakes winner, beating Mage, the Kentucky Derby winner, and National Treasure, the Preakness winner.
However, the celebratory mood was dampened by the death of a dozen horses, which prompted medical reforms and consideration of a change to the track’s surface.
The meeting concludes Monday with the Hopeful Stakes, for 2-year-olds whose owners are dreaming of the Triple Crown and Travers next year.