On June 7th, 1999, Sports Illustrated (SI) published an article titled “SI's Top 20 Venues of the 20th Century." In the article, SI placed The Saratoga Race Course at 10th place, joining other hallowed sporting shrines including Augusta National, Wrigley Field, and Wembley Stadium. In a sport that includes legendary race tracks like Churchill Downs and Belmont Park, the Saratoga Race Course stands alone in the sport of horseracing. Sports Illustrated recognized the Saratoga Race Course as a “bucket list” stop for sports fans across the globe.
The Saratoga Race Course's importance can be explained by its rich history and picturesque surroundings. Created exactly one month after the culmination of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 by William Travers and John Hunter, The Saratoga Race Course is the oldest horse track and sporting venue of any kind in the United States. The Saratoga Race Course is laden in tradition and played a key role in making the city of Saratoga Springs a hotbed for both tourism and gambling. The track is home to the oldest major thoroughbred stakes race in America, "The Travers." Now called "The Midsummer Derby," the race pits the fastest three-year-old horses against one another in a race with a massive one million dollar purse.
Only the best thoroughbreds in their respective divisions race on the hallowed grounds of Saratoga. Legendary racehorses have galloped the backstretch of this iconic track, including the likes of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Man O' War, and Affirmed. Racing lovers continue to fill the seats of Saratoga Race Course year after year with the hope of catching a glimpse of horse racing's next immortal star.
2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Saratoga Race Course's founding, and the Saratoga150 Festival is planned to celebrate the occassion. Many of the Saratoga150 events will offer free admission. For more information regarding the track's sesquicentennial celebrations, visit www.saratoga150.com. Racing will run from July 19 through the Summer until closing day on September 2, 2013.