America Best’s Guide to the Saratoga Race Course Meet

With more than 150 years of history, it’s no wonder that Saratoga has picked up a couple of nicknames along the way. The track’s two most used are The Spa and The Graveyard of Champions – and the latter isn’t nearly as dire as it sounds, so don’t worry! The nickname refers to the fact that some of the most famous racehorses in American history have lost races at Saratoga: Man o’ War, Secretariat, American Pharoah, and Gallant Fox, just to name a few. In fact, local lore tells us that Saratoga gifted sports with the term “upset,” since that was the name of the horse who defeated the mighty Man o’ War. It’s just one reason that bettors love the races at Saratoga so much: when favorites lose, savvy gamblers win big.

Get 10 Tips to Beating Saratoga

The track and town are colloquially called The Spa because the city sits on top of natural springs with waters rumored to bring good health to humans and horses. Saratoga became a playground for the rich throughout the Gilded Age thanks to the mineral water and the race meet, and there are still bathhouses and drinking pavilions galore throughout the town.

When: July 15 to Sept. 6

Saratoga is called the “Summer Place to Be” for good reason: the meet lasts from mid-July through Labor Day, and it draws vacationers and racing industry professionals throughout the season. Saturdays tend to have the most prestigious races, and the highlights of the 2021 meet are below…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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