It's finally here, the much-anticipated start of the 2023 Saratoga Racing Season! Whether you're here for a weekend, a week, or even longer, this is an exciting time of year and Saratoga is ready to celebrate.

Opening Day is Thursday, July 13, and marks the beginning of "Opening Weekend."  The fun begins on Thursday night when the Downtown Business Association invites you to Celebrate Saratoga! with live performances downtown from 6pm-9pm. Then, get ready for a weekend full of excitement at the track!

Crowd in Spa City parking lot for 2022 event

Celebrate Saratoga

 “Celebrate Saratoga” is a performance-driven event welcoming people to downtown Saratoga for the Opening Day of the Saratoga Race Track. The event showcases downtown retailers, restaurants, and more. Enjoy live music by The Refrigerators in the parking lot of the Spa City Motor Lodge (413 Broadway) and The Coverups performing at Flat Rock Park at 37 High Rock Ave. (next to the Saratoga City Center parking garage), along with kettle corn from Pura Vida Kettle Corn and a performance by The Dance Lab. Meet Kid Blast, a retired racehorse, and learn more about Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga, Inc.. FREE airbrush tattoos by The Art Bucket.

In combination with the Celebrate Saratoga event, storefront windows in the downtown area will be decorated as part of the celebration welcoming faces to the Saratoga Race Course. Window decorations will be judged by popular WNYT NEWS13 evening anchor Mark Mulholland, Julie Bonacio, and Jockey Ramon A. Dominguez. The winners will be announced on the mainstage Thursday night. 

Decorated window participants include the following businesses, be sure to stop by and admire them all: Caroline and Main, Celtic Treasures, Crafters Gallery, Dark Horse Mercantile, Encounter, G. Willikers, Impressions of Saratoga, Lifestyles of Saratoga, Saratoga Candy Co., Saratoga Springs City Center, Saratoga Tea & Honey Co., Tailgate & Party, Union Hall Supply Co., and Violet's of Saratoga.

Additionally, stop by one of the Saratoga Springs DBA tables located at each entertainment site and enter a raffle to win 2 tickets to the popular Breakfast & Breeding Tour on July 19th!

The Refrigerators performing on stage

Worried about parking? Not necessary, as there are plenty of options. Click here for downtown parking options.


Crowd of people standing by the fence at the track

Opening Weekend at the Track

Opening Weekend will feature the traditional opening day graded stakes, the Schuylerville, on Thursday, July 13, and the first Grade 1 of the season, the Diana, on Saturday, July 15. The gates open at 11am with first post at 1:10pm. Opening Weekend festivities will be highlighted by live musical performances throughout the weekend. Check the NYRA website for additional information.

Parking at the track can be difficult and a little chaotic. Click here for tips and tricks for finding the best (and least expensive) parking at the Saratoga Race Course. 

Most importantly, have FUN! Whether you're planning on dressing up for a day in the Clubhouse, or looking for a more informal experience, there's something for everyone and there's certainly nothing like the excitement of a heart-pounding race as you cheer your horse to victory. 

Exterior shot of museum with line of jockey statues

Other Opening Weekend Events You Do Not Want to Miss

  • July 13 - 6-8pm. Come meet Upset, Saratoga's own Miniature Dark Horse! The 33" tall mini horse loves to stroll downtown meeting fans and friends! He enjoys getting pets, having his photo taken, and teaching everyone the History of The Dark Horse! Upset will be strolling around the downtown area, stop into Impressions of Saratoga or The Dark Horse Mercantile to get updates on where he is!
  • July 13-16 - Taste New York Pavilion at the Saratoga Race Course. New York-made food and beverages will be available for sample and purchase at the Taste NY Pavilion, located inside Gate A at the Top of the Stretch, where fans can enjoy New York craft beer, cider, wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate and gelato (must be 21 and over to sample and purchase alcoholic beverages).
  • July 14 & 15 - The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) welcomes the return of the Dave Matthews Band on both Friday and Saturday nights. Lawn tickets start at $65.20 and routinely sell out. Both shows begin at 7:30pm.
  • July 15 - 8-10am. Silks & Satins 5K. Held on the first Saturday of track season, the Silks and Satins 5K is a celebration of the Saratoga Springs community and the opening of the track.
  • July 15 - 9-11am. Saturday Morning Social, presented by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will offer free admission thanks to the sponsorship from the New York Thoroughbred Breeders. There will be complimentary coffee and doughnuts courtesy of Stewart’s Shops and water courtesy of Saratoga Water. The morning program will feature a handicapping seminar and book signing by Richard Eng, author of “Betting on Horse Racing for Dummies.” Cost: Free to attend, books available for purchase.
  • July 15 - 10am-1pm. Lynnette Manuse returns to Impressions of Saratoga for another book signing! Lynnette will be in front of the store with her handmade sock monkey Bows (now fifty years old). She will have both of her adorable books, sock monkeys made with love, and a raffle to win gift cards to Impressions of Saratoga!
  • July 16 - Jason Aldean takes the stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). Lawn tickets start at $65.45. Show begins at 7:30pm.