The Saratoga Race Course – Family Guide


The Saratoga Race Course is one of the attractions that Saratoga Springs is most known for.  Visitors flock to this historic track to watch and wager on horse racing.  Even if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, the Saratoga Race Course truly does offer an experience that almost everyone can enjoy, including your family!

The 40-day 2018 Saratoga meet begins Friday July 20th and concludes Monday, September 3rd, 2018. Special Note: Tuesday is DARK DAY so the track is not open any Tuesday during the season.

The Family Guide to the Saratoga Race Course

Here are some ideas for enjoying the Saratoga Race Course WITH kids!  Admission is free for children under 12 (with a paying adult).

Admission Gates Opening Times: 
Weekdays: 11:00 am
Weekends: 10:30 am
Travers: 7:00 am

Breakfast at the Saratoga Race Track

Horses start warming up early and you can bring breakfast (or eat at the tracks buffet breakfast for $18.50 adults/$10.25 kids 12 and under) and watch!  It’s a nice opportunity to experience the track without all the hustle and bustle.  Gates open at 6:45am, but as long as you leave by 10am, you will get your $10 parking fee back. 

Saratoga Race Course**Best Bet**– pick up breakfast on the way and arrive by 8am.  Enter through the main entrance and pay $10 to park.  Watch the horses warm up, enjoy a backstretch tour, and then leave before it gets crazy!  If you’re out by 10am, you get your parking fee reimbursed.  Breakfast at Saratoga is a long-standing tradition and a fun thing to do with the family.

Backstretch Tram Tours

Each racing day (not Travers or closing day) you can take a backstretch tour, which is a free 45 minute tram tour of the race track behind-the-scenes. The first tour starts at 7:30 and the last departs at 9am.  **Best Bet** Get there early and plan to take the earliest tours because the tours fill up! Best days to catch a tour are Monday and Wednesday because they tend to be the slowest days.

Berkshire Bank Family Mondays 

The weekly family festivals will be held each Monday of the meet at the Saratoga Pavilion, located inside the entrance to the Reserved Seats Office near the Carousel, from 11am to 4 p.m.

Admission to Saratoga Race Course is free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult any day of the meet throughout the season.

Each day-long event will include free face painting, a bounce house, arts and crafts, and mascot appearances.

Special Events

Throughout the racing season, there are several special events including Hats Off, an ice cream eating contest, and a family fun fest at the end of August.

Here are a few other important Saratoga Race Course 2018 dates and events:

  • Sunday, July 22nd – Saratoga Baseball Hat Giveaway
  • Monday, August 6th – Saratoga Umbrella Giveaway
  • Thursday, August 9 – Fabulous Fillies Day
  • Wednesday, August 15 – Adirondacks Day
  • Monday, August 20th – Saratoga Blanket Giveaway
  • Wednesday, August 22 – Irish-American Day
  • Sunday, September 2nd – Saratoga Windbreaker Giveaway

Watching the horses warmup – 8:30am

Tell us what you think!



  1. Breakfast at the track sounds like a lot of fun! And the playground for the little ones looks great too! If I wasn’t scared of the horse I would try that, but I have yet to overcome my fear 🙂

  2. Hi, we are new to Saratoga and I’ve been reading your site for tips! Thank you!
    Breakfast on the Track sounds fab! Is it open every day of the week?

  3. If I take my kids to the races for the day and arrive for the first post, how many hours are we going to be there? Are they going to turn into pumpkins before the last race?

    • Hi Kellie
      My kids typically don’t last the whole day unless we’ve arrived very early and have a picnic spot. First race is around 1pm and the last race is usually after 5pm.

Leave A Reply