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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

What's New, Saratoga? Triple Crown Racing Is Coming to the Spa City!

Updated: May 13

Saratoga Springs Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes is Coming to Saratoga Springs!

Saratoga's motto is "Health, History and Horses" because it has an historic thoroughbred horse racing track that has been in use since 1863. Saratoga horse racing is a popular tourist attraction with a season that typically begins in mid July and runs through Labor Day. So obviously horse racing is not new to Saratoga. But what is new this year is that Saratoga is raising the horse racing stakes (pun intended) as it has been selected to host the Belmont Stakes race while Belmont Park is being renovated. The Belmont Stakes is a huge sporting event that attracts global attention, so Saratoga Springs is planning to showcase itself on the world wide stage while it has the opportunity. What does that mean for you? A whole lot of fun and exciting events to attend!

The Belmont Stakes Story:

The Belmont Stakes is the third leg of the prestigious Triple Crown series. The series of three high stakes races begins with the Kentucky Derby, followed by the Preakness Stakes and finally, the Belmont Stakes. If one horse wins all three races, they win the coveted Triple Crown Trophy. The Triple Crown Trophy was commissioned in 1950, but was awarded to all horses who had won all three Triple Crown races prior to 1950, as well as those who won all three races after 1950. Winning the Triple Crown Trophy is a difficult feat and only 13 horses have been awarded the Triple Crown Trophy since 1919.

triple crown trophy saratoga belmont
The Coveted Triple Crown Trophy

The Belmont Stakes race is the oldest Triple Crown event and was named for August Belmont, a financier, politician and diplomat. The race was established in 1867 and is the third oldest race in North America. The 2024 Belmont Stakes will be the 156th running of the race.

Here are some 2024 Belmont Stakes statistics:

Purse: 2024 Purse is $2,000,000 up from previous year's $1,500,000 purse

Distance: Saratoga's course length will be 1 1/4 mile instead of the usual 1 1/2 mile

Triple Crown Potential: Mystic Dan just won the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2024. If he wins again at the Preakness Stakes, the Triple Crown Trophy will be on the line! Fingers crossed that history will be made in Saratoga.

Belmont Stakes Festival Details:

saratoga springs belmont stakes horse racing
Don't Forget Your Hat for the Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival isn't just about the one, big Triple Crown race. It includes a whole weekend of exciting horse racing for large purses. The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival kicks off at the historic Saratoga Race Course on Thursday, June 6th and runs through Sunday, June 9th. The official Belmont Stakes Day is Saturday, June 8th. Unfortunately, the tickets for Belmont Stakes Day are SOLD OUT (but you can always try to get resale tickets on your favorite ticket resale site). If you can't find a ticket for Belmont Stakes Day, you can certainly find a watch party somewhere in the area. I know The Bunker is holding a Belmont watch party (see my blog about this new Saratoga hot spot here). There are still single day General Admission and Premier Hospitality tickets available for all other race days during the Belmont Stakes Festival. Click here to purchase tickets.

Important Things to Know About Attending the Belmont Stakes Festival:

  • Parking. Parking during the Belmont Stakes Festival will be tricky. Parking will be first come, first serve, but you can reserve a space ahead of time. You can check out the available parking and pre-purchase parking tickets here so you don't get shut out at race time. Parking lots will open at 8:30 am.

  • NO Outside Alcohol. Unlike the regular Saratoga Race Course events, you will not be able to bring in your own alcohol for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

  • NO Tailgating. In related news, tailgating will NOT be allowed in the parking lots prior to entry.

  • Outside Food and Soft Drinks are OK. You can bring in your own food and soft drinks. You are allowed one (1) cooler per guest no larger than 12" by 18"..

  • Folding Chairs. If you have General Admission tickets, you may bring one folding chair per person.

  • Gates Open at 9:30 am.

Belmont on Broadway:

saratoga springs belmont stakes broadway
Broadway in Downtown Saratoga

In addition to all the exciting events taking place at the historic Saratoga Race Course, the City of Saratoga Springs is planning to put on its' own Belmont celebration right in the middle of downtown. They are calling the celebration Belmont on Broadway and have already announced several amazing events happening in the week leading up to the Belmont Stakes. It is Saratoga Springs' time to shine and they are taking full advantage of it!

The City has a full slate of activities to keep the energy high and showcase Saratoga while the world's attention is focused on our little community. Downtown businesses will participate in a window decorating contest that will provide Broadway browsers with creative window displays to enjoy. Various local businesses will be providing Belmont Stakes merchandise with some offering discounts to entice those reluctant buyers. Live music will be playing throughout the downtown area and watch parties will be abundant for those who didn't get a ticket to the sold out Belmont Stakes Day. Check out the calendar on Discover Saratoga to see all of the things going on each day of the Belmont on Broadway Celebration.

You should be specifically aware of the following special events taking place in Saratoga Springs during Belmont week:

Tuesday, June 4:

Embrace the Belmont: This event is hosted by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and benefits Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga. A General Admission ticket is $56 and includes beer, wine and light bites. You can purchase Silver and Gold tickets (for $500 and $1,000, respectively) which gets you premium seats to the event, recognition at the event and recognition on Therapeutic Horses social media. In addition to food and drink, you will also get up dates on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes races by NBC Sports Reporter, Donna Brothers, who will be fresh off of covering the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Also, you can learn handicapping basics and review the Belmont Stakes racing card with NYRA and OTTB hosts. I don't know about you, but I can definitely use some help figuring out how to bet. Picking by the horse name or the jockey's jersey colors hasn't been consistently successful for me.

Saratoga Springs Belmont Stakes
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Wednesday, June 5:

Belmont Memories with Tom Durkin: Legendary horse race caller Tom Durkin will share some of his favorite and most iconic calls of the Belmont Stakes over the years. The presentation is being held at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame from 6:00. to 7:30. It is free for Museum members and $10 for non-members.

Saratoga Springs Belmont Stakes
Jockeys Outside the Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Blues Travelers Concert on Broadway: The City of Saratoga is going to close down Broadway to put on a rockin' concert to kick off the Belmont Stakes weekend. The American favorite rock band, Blues Travelers, is the headliner. Opening acts will be announced soon. The concert starts at 6:00 and goes to 10:00 and best of all...IT'S FREE! Plan ahead because the City expects the concert to draw between 5,000 to 10,000 people (although when they put on a show recently in Schnectady 40,000 people showed up!). Satellite parking and shuttle options will be announced as the event gets closer.

Thursday, June 6:

Belmont Gala: If you are looking for something a little more upscale, the Belmont Gala is right up your alley. It will be held at the Canfield Casino and formal attire is required. It is a fundraiser to support the Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Cocktail hour starts at 7:00 with dinner at 8:00.

Saratoga Springs Belmont Stakes
Canfield Casino in Congress Park

Friday, June 7:

HARDY Performing at SPAC: The country band HARDY is playing at SPAC on the Friday night before the Belmont Stakes.

Saratoga Springs SPAC Belmont Stakes
Beautiful Sunset Over a Concert at SPAC

Saturday, June 8:

Belmont Stakes Day: The main event takes place at the Historic Saratoga Race Course. Gates open at 9:30.

Saratoga Springs Belmont Stakes
There Will Not Be This Much Room at the Rail for the Belmont Stakes!

More to Come:

Keep your eye on this blog to keep up to date on all things Belmont. As the exciting week draws closer there will be announcements on additional events and activities going on in Saratoga during Belmont week. If you are visiting Saratoga from out of town, check out the Saratoga section of my blog which provides suggestions for local restaurants as well as things to see and do while visiting the area. We look forward to welcoming you to our charming City.

Saratoga Springs.Belmont Park
We Hope You Enjoy Your Visit to Saratoga Springs


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