|Saratoga Race Course is not only
known for its historic value and mineral baths, but it was also named
one of the world's greatest sporting venues by Sports Illustrated. Every
summer, the Graveyard of Favorites (so known for the racing incidences
that have occurred here), rouses for six exhilarating weeks, as
enthusiasts indulge in the Travers Stakes - the oldest and foremost
thoroughbred horse race in the United States, and discover the unrivaled
ambiance and charisma of Saratoga Springs.
The first thoroughbred meet took place on 3 August 1863, just a
month after the Battle of Gettysburg, and was hosted by John "Old Smoke"
Morrissey. In the beginning, the meet took place over four days and
today it enjoys a six-week meet.
In 1864, following the success of the first meet, the Saratoga
Association was formed, and its immediate undertaking was to build a
new, permanent grandstand on the existing location of the Saratoga Race
Course. The ?old course? became the barn area known as Horse Haven, with
the remnants of the original track still encompassing the stables.
On 2 August 2006, the track was closed due to a heat wave.
Previously during World War II and in 1911 and 1912, it closed for three
whole seasons, when all forms of wagering on horse racing were outlawed.
This makes it only four times in 115 years that the track has been
In the early 1960's, there was a movement to carry out summer
racing solely at the new and contemporary Aqueduct Racetrack, but in
1962, New York State Governor W. Averill Harriman, signed "The Harriman
Law," which declared a bare minimum of 24 race days at Saratoga every
"Health, history, and horses" - a sure bet motto for the race
track of Saratoga.