If I were a betting woman, I’d bet Saratoga New York would not disappoint. As a destination planner I am always chasing far flung locations for my clients which makes sharing this most recent experience even more delightful since Saratoga is right in my own backyard. What you might not know is the springs of Saratoga brought guests first for rejuvenation, then the casinos drew visitors and then horse racing. Southern plantation owners came north to escape the heat and New Yorkers to take the country air.
It may have started out trailing the field, but “the Sport of Kings” soon took the lead and still reigns supreme in Saratoga 150 years after the first thoroughbred races were held Aug. 3, 1863.
This weekend I dipped my toes into a fountain (ah-hem … or should I say a spring) of rich American history that reaches far beyond my years. Its the perfect destination for a wedding or a getaway. Turn right onto Union Avenue and turn back the clock 100 years.
The Saratoga Racetrack is a true treat and even if you are not a bettor you need to scratch it off your bucket list. We bet on a few horses and almost won tons of money. It would be a blast to go with a group and reserve a series of boxes to hold court. The old wooden structure is not only an architectural feat but it is the oldest sporting facility in the country. If you love champagne, tailgating, horses, cars and the thrill of the win…then Saratoga is the spot for you.
Hats and bow ties are a must for the track!
(Attention all people who go out looking as if you are lounging about in the privacy of your own home on a Sunday. Dress with a little pizzazz -can ya? Geez.)
After a spell at the track we headed over to watch a polo match. I had never been and frankly I’m hooked!
Polo is majestic and exciting. I can not think of a nicer way to spend the day.
After the track we headed over to Fasig-Tipton. Fasig-Tipton is an auction house for Thoroughbred horses founded in 1898 by William B. Fasig and Edward A. Tipton. It is the oldest auction company of its kind in North America. Its first headquarters were in Madison Square Garden in New York, and Fasig-Tipton initially sold high-class road and carriage horses in addition to Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing stock.
We watched the live bidding and sales champagne in hand. It’s definitely intoxicating. DO NOT RAISE YOUR HAND IN EXCITEMENT! Afterwards make sure you wander by the paddocks to see the horses.
Over the next century and a half, Saratoga’s racing season became intertwined with America’s sporting and cultural fabric, attracting generations of robber barons and blue bloods, gangsters and celebrities, professional gamblers and $2 bettors. Between Saratoga’s Victorian charms and the possibility you could run into Prince Harry or Flo Rida over a sweaty horse…well you can count me in.
I’m all tuckered out over here. Definitely time to hang my patent leather (horse proof) party shoes up!