As early as 1847 when a meet for trotters was held on a dirt track adjacent to Union Avenue called “Horse Haven,” horses, racing and wagering have been a winning combination in Saratoga Springs.
Horse Haven, a dirt track, was built on East Avenue near the intersection of Union Avenue. The simple board and batten stables, built to house thoroughbreds and their grooms during the meet, are still in use today. There was also a small grandstand, but many spectators chose to view the races from their elegant open carriages. Then as now, a day at the races was as much about seeing and being seen as it was about the winner’s circle!
Inspired by the growing interest in the sport, a group of private investors formed the Saratoga Racing Association. The four day meet was extended, and in 1864 a larger track was built on the opposite side of Union Avenue, the site of the current Saratoga Race Course. By the turn of the century it was firmly established as the showplace it is today.