There are only two rules when it comes to Saratoga.
1. No Glass
2. ALWAYS box your bets
This past weekend we took a little Scrim to upstate New York to partake in the festivities of opening weekend at the Saratoga Race Course. When someone says they are going to the racetracks, one either imagines a Bill Murray-type from “St. Vincent” gambling away life savings or decadent groups of people dressing to the nines in vineyard vines clothing with big hats. Both stereotypes hold true, as some of the most fun at the track is people watching.
For the novice, it is important to know the lay of the land of the track before you engage in the activities. At Saratoga, You have the common grounds, where people line up at 7am to grab a coveted picnic table. People sit here with cases of beer (No Glass!) betting, eating, and talking among friends. Moving in, you have the grandstand seats, which are reserved and cost money, but are totally worth it if you really want a good view of the race. Finally you have the Club House, which overlooks the finish line, and the Boxes, which seem to be for the owners or just those who want to spend the ridiculous amount of money.
The 10 minute warning bell rings, people finish their last bite, and make their way over to place bets. The betting is a foreign language if you are brand new, between the Exacta and Trifecta with the Win Place Show and Superfecta bets, one can really get lost in it all. But, when in doubt BOX your bets! Bets are placed, people rush to the side of the track or their respective seats, and the bell rings to start the race. No matter where you are watching it from, the race is pure excitement for about 1 minute with the last 10 seconds a combination of cheering and swearing. Its truly thrilling.
Whether you won or lost, you know you have 25 minutes in between races to repeat that process; drink, eat, talk, bet, and cheer for your horse. You do this 10 more times and you have a full day at the track surrounded by great people with good food all looking to enjoy themselves in summer sunshine. If you happen to win some money along the way, even better.