Saratoga Race Track Betting Guide

saratoga race track logoThe historic Saratoga race track is a thoroughbred racecourse in Saratoga Springs, New York. Affectionately known as the Spa, it was opened in 1863 and hold the title of being the fourth oldest race track in America. It is a 50,000-capacity venue that draws in people from all over the world.

When the Saratoga race track was first opened, it was used for standardbred racing from 1847 until 1863. It was when congressman and casino operator John Morrissey organized the tracks first thoroughbred race card in 1863 that the Saratoga became the premier racecourse Americans know and love. It’s made up of three distinct tracks:

  • The first main track is a dirt race track which is 1⅛-mile or 9-furlongs.
  • There’s also a 1-mile or 8-furlongs turf track known as the Mellon Turf.
  • Finally, there’s a 7-furlong inner turf track.

The flat racetrack was rated as the number 10 sports venue of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated in 1999.

The Saratoga racetrack is famously known as the House of Upsets because of the high number of famous horses losing at this track. Some the most notable ones include:

  • In 1919, Man o’ War lost for the first time after 21 successful races at the Sanford Stakes.
  • Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox lost to the 100-1 underdog Jim Dandy in the 1930 Travers Stakes.
  • Then, in 1973, Secretariat, who is also a Triple Crown winner, lost to Onion at the Whitney Handicap.
  • In 2010, Persistently beat Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Personal Ensign Stakes.
  • Lastly, during the 2015 Travers Stakes, 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah lost to Keen Ice, his second defeat in his career.

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What you’ll find in this Saratoga race track guide:

Saratoga Race Schedule

Races at the Saratoga take place from July to September on Labor Day. The Saratoga race schedule has events take place five days a week all week. Some of the most noteworthy Saratoga horse racing events that take place are:

  • Alabama Stakes: a grade one American race that’s open to three-year-old fillies. Held in August, the current purse size is $600,000.
  • Sanford Stakes: this Saratoga horse racing event is a Grade three race open to two-year-old thoroughbreds. The take home purse is at $150,000.
  • Travers Stakes: this third-ranked race for American three-year-old male and female horses is quite prestigious. Known as the Mid-Summer Derby, the purse for this Saratoga horse racing event is $1,250,000.
  • Whitney Handicap: held in late July/early August, this Saratoga race is for American Grade one thoroughbreds that are three years and older. Currently, the purse is at US$1,200,000.
  • Woodward Stakes: the premier horse racing event for older runners in the US, it’s a thoroughbred race for horses three years and older. The purse for the Woodward Stakes is at $750,000.

aerial shot of saratoga race track

Saratoga Picks

Knowing how to pick a horse is a very important aspect of horse racing betting. It requires a lot more than just picking your favorite color or horse name. Here are some good approaches to consider:

  1. Get your hands on a past performances report from sites like the New York Racing Association (NYRA) Bets. These reports will show you each horses performance in their most recent starts. Pick a horse that’s had a good run in terms of track, surface type, and distance.
  2. Pick a horse based off the jockey or trainer past successes or failures.
  3. Look at who the horse racing experts are talking about. For in-house picks, check out the Saratoga free picks on their site.

Read our guides on the most popular racetracks in America below:

Race Track Bets

Let’s take a look at the different types of Saratoga bets US bettors can place on what the Saratoga race results will be.

Bets Within a Saratoga Race

  • Win: betting on your horse finishing first.
  • Place: wagering on your horse coming first or second.
  • Show: your horse must come in first, second, or third.
  • Across the Board: placing separate win, place, and show bets of equal amounts on the same horse.
  • Exacta: the first type of box bet, you’re wagering on the first two horses to finish in any order.
  • Trifecta: a second type of box bet, it’s about betting on the first three horses to finish in any order.
  • Superfecta: in this this third type of box bet, pick the first four horses to finish in any order.

Boxing makes wagers more expensive at the racebook. However, it increases your chances of winning the bet.

Bets Within Multiple Saratoga Horse Racing Events

These types of bets are known as picks.

  • Daily Double: betting on the winners of two consecutive races.
  • Grand Slam: picking a horse that’ll finish in three consecutive races. You then cap it with the winner of a fourth race.
  • Pick 3, 4, 5, or 6: bet on who will win three, four, five, or six consecutive races.

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