Saratoga Set For 156th Season With Thursday Opening
Longer Seven-Week Season, Five Days A Week For 2019 Season
By Margaret Ransom
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) and thoroughbred racing in New York moves upstate 190 miles to Saratoga Springs for the 2019 summer season at Saratoga Race Course, which gets underway on Thursday. Post time for the first race for the 156th season of racing at “The Spa” has been set for 1:00 p.m. ET.
This year the meet will operate on a seven-week run, one more week than in previous years, but with the addition of dark days on Mondays the track will operate on a Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule. A record $17.45 million in stakes purses are on the line in 2019, which covers 33 graded races and 15 grade 1s, including the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakeson August 24 and the $1.5 million Whitney Stakes on August 3.
Opening Weekend will feature six stakes, including the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (GIII) for 2-year-old fillies. Saratoga’s first grade 1 of the season will be on Saturday, July 13 — the $500,000 Diana Stakes (GIT), a nine-furlong grass route for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up.
Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28, through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.
Expanded Television Coverage
The 2019 season at Saratoga also offers an expanded television schedule for NYRA’s acclaimed show Saratoga Live, which broadcasts in partnership with Fox Sports. Saratoga Live features live coverage of the full Saratoga card on most days of the season beginning at 1 p.m. on FoxSports 2.
The expansion will result in 200 hours of live programming from Saratoga over the course of the 2019 meet and in addition to coverage each day on FS2, Saratoga Live will be available through regional sports networks including MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports San Diego and Altitude Sports.
Additionally, the Runhappy Travers will be carried live on the FOX Broadcast Network as part of a special one-hour telecast on Saturday, August 24, beginning at 5 p.m. ET.
Fans can check their local listings for availability.
Opening Weekend Events
– Mariano Rivera Day on Friday, July 12
– A performance by American Idol star Madison VanDenburg on Saturday, July 13
– Saratoga picnic cooler giveaway on Sunday, July 14
– 28th edition of the Hat Contest on Sunday, July 14
Clubhouse Expansion Project Completed
Saratoga’s newest hospitality area, the 1863 Club, will celebrate its grand opening in 2019. The updated area, which are located on the Clubhouse turn, is a 36,000-square foot, three-story, climate-controlled building which offers banquet space, extra seating for up to 500 fans and luxury suites.
The 1863 Club is named in honor of the year of the first organized Thoroughbred race meeting in Saratoga, which took place in August 1863 at the original Saratoga Trotting Course. On the first floor is the “The Rail at the 1963 Club”, which is a banquet space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and seating for up to 500 fans.
The Encore Boston Harbor is a group-event space accommodating up to 100 guests, and is designated “Legends Hall” and is an homage to the numerous famous Saratoga-based trainers and jockeys.
The third-floor luxury suites are each named for some of the most memorable and talented thoroughbreds to have raced at the Saratotga, including Rachel Alexandra, Whirlaway, Forego, Native Dancer and Lady Eli. Each seats between 30 and 45 people.
Daily reservations are currently being accepted for the 1863 Club, simply contact the NYRA Box Office by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX.