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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

An Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Saratoga Museum of Racing: Hall of Fame, Interactive Exhibits and More!


Saratoga Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Make Time to Visit the Saratoga Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame When Visiting Saratoga Springs, NY!

If you are a horse racing fan, there is no better place to visit than the Saratoga Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, NY. If you will be coming to Saratoga Springs this June for the Belmont Stakes Triple Crown Festival you will want to be sure to schedule some time to check it out. Through May 2024, the Museum's hours are from 10 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Check here before you visit for the current hours of operation as they are extended during the busier summer season. The Museum is conveniently located right across the street from the Historic Saratoga Race Course. You will notice it right away from the decorative display of painted jockeys that line the street right in front of the Museum.


Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing Hall of Fame
Painted Jockeys Outside of the Saratoga Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Also outside of the Museum are some amazing statues you will want to snap pictures of before you venture inside, including a memorial to Seabiscuit, the famous American thoroughbred.


Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Seabiscuit
The Seabiscuit Memorial Is a Great Spot for a Selfie!
Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing Hall of Fame
Statue Capturing the Energy of Horse Racing

As soon as you enter the Museum, you are greeted with the sights and sounds of horse racing. The walls are adorned with large photographs of horse racing action. You will be greeted by friendly Museum employees who will sell you a ticket and direct you where to start your experience. For a General Admission price of $20 for adults ($15 for seniors 65+; $10 for kids 6-18/College with ID; kids under 5 are free) you get complete access to the entire Museum including all interactive exhibits and the 360 degree immersive film experience titled What It Takes: The Journey to the Hall of Fame. Please note that there are other discounted and free admissions for special groups. Check out the list here to see if you qualify.


The Saratoga Museum of Racing Galleries:


History of Horse Racing Galleries:


The Museum has several different galleries that follow the history of horse racing from its' colonial start to the present day. As you walk through the various galleries you will see a full size starting gate replica, an antique scale for weighing jockeys and an up close and personal view of the various trophies won over the years.



I also found the exhibit on the history of women and minorities in the sport of horse racing extremely interesting.


Saratoga Springs Museum of Horse Racing
History of Women and Minorities in Horse Racing

Children's Exhibit:


When we moved to upstate New York back in 2004, we knew that horse racing was a big part of the culture here. To get ourselves more acquainted with the sport, we brought our two daughters to the Saratoga Museum of Racing. We were pleasantly surprised to find a whole children's section that gives kids a chance to try on racing silks and racing goggles and ride around on stick horses like the jockeys. It is a fond memory I have of our transition to a new area. I was happy to see the children's section was just as magical as I remembered it.



Triple Crown Gallery:


Perhaps of most interest to people coming to visit Saratoga for the Belmont Stakes is the Triple Crown Gallery. This Gallery is devoted to that elite group of special horses and their jockeys who have accomplished the seemingly impossible task of winning all three Triple Crown Races-the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Only 13 horses have ever won the Triple Crown. Sir Barton was the first in 1919 and Justify was the last in 2018. It is an elusive honor and difficult to achieve. Due construction at Belmont Park, the Belmont Stakes is being held at the Historic Saratoga Race Course in 2024 (and possibly 2025). Maybe we will have a chance to see another horse reach this horse racing pinnacle at Saratoga! In the meantime, you can learn about the horses and jockeys who have accomplished this ultimate goal!


Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing
Triple Crown Trophy


Race Day Gallery:


The Race Day Gallery highlights all of the elements of the race day experience as well as the equipment that is needed such as racing gear and colorful jockey silks. Three areas of the race day experience are explored-The Paddock, the Track and The Winner's Circle. It is the perfect exhibit to increase excitement before entering into the Hall of Fame movie theater.



Saratoga Springs Museum of Horse Racing
Colorful Jockey Silks-One of My Favorite Parts
Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing
Horse Racing Equipment
Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing
Learn About Different Track Surfaces

In addition to the Race Day exhibits, there is an interactive experience called "Call the Race". The experience gives you the opportunity to go into a sound booth and record yourself calling a horse race (don't worry, they provide the script for you). I was nervous, but decided to give it the ole college try. The experience gives you several options of races to call. I chose one of my all time favorite race track memories-when the 3 year old filly Rachel Alexandra beat all the boys to win the 2009 Woodward Stakes. I was there watching that race with my daughters and it was one of the most electric, girl power moments in sports that I have experienced! I will never forget that day, so I was very excited to rewatch and call that race.


What I learned from doing the Call the Race experience is that it is NOT easy. I even had a script of the original race call, but it is hard to translate the excitement while also watching the action! I give credit to those announcers as it is definitely a difficult skill. In any event it was fun and I highly recommend trying it out. The Museum will send you a copy of your Call (whether you want it or not-haha) as a keepsake. I will begrudgingly share mine (even though it is a little cringey) so you get the idea of how cool the interactive experience is.


Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing
Call the Race Soundbooth



Hall of Fame:


One of the highlights of the Museum is the Hall of Fame which honors the greatest horses, jockeys, and trainers in the history of horse racing. Here, you can learn about legendary horses like Secretariat, Man o' War, and Seabiscuit, as well as iconic jockeys like Willie Shoemaker and Eddie Arcaro. There are interactive boards where you can peruse the various inductees and select which jockeys, trainers or horses you want to learn more about.


Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing
Interactive Hall of Fame Board

Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing
Interactive Board to Learn About Hall of Fame Inductees

The crowning jewel of the Hall of Fame is the amazing new surround film experience, What It Takes: Journey to the Hall of Fame. I loved this movie and the way it was presented. Visitors sit around the perimeter of a large room and there are screens around the top. Horses run laps around the screen as if you are sitting in the middle of the field. There are also two different square screens that come down from the ceiling in the center of the room to highlight different interviews. It was a completely immersive experience and I loved hearing about the various pieces that have to fall into place to reach success and have a chance to be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame. I thoroughly enjoyed this new experience.



Special Exhibits:


The Museum also hosts Special Exhibits throughout the year. When I visited they had a Special Exhibit honoring the 50th Anniversary of Secretariat's Triple Crown win. This Special Exhibit is only showing through March 31, 2024, so if you want to see this one you better get there quick!



Gift Store:


After you are done learning all about the sport of horse racing and its' superstars, take some time to browse in the gift store. They have a variety of unique products to remember your visit to the Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, the Historic Saratoga Race Course and the Spa City.


Conclusion:


The Saratoga Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves horse racing. Whether you're a die-hard fan or just curious about the sport, this Museum offers a fascinating look at the history and culture of horse racing in America. So, next time you're in Saratoga Springs, be sure to stop by and experience this unique and educational museum for yourself.


Saratoga Springs Museum of Racing
Recent Triple Crown Winner Banners.

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