It’s business as usual—but doubled. According to a new report from the Saratoga Springs Mayor’s Office, Saratoga business owners have seen double-digit sales increases over the first two weeks of the 2021 season so far. This is, in large part, due to Saratoga Race Course being at 100 percent capacity for the entirety of the season.
This runs in stark contrast to last summer, during which not a single spectator, save for a coterie of owners, horsemen and New York Racing Association (NYRA) personnel, was allowed inside the track’s gates. During the summer of 2020, sales at city businesses were down 30–40 percent overall, and a survey found that 30 percent of equine-related business owners were concerned about losing their entire investment.
“Saratoga Race Course is a huge economic driver for our community,” says Mayor Meg Kelly. “The city was simply not itself last summer. With the track reopened to fans, it’s great to see visitors and area residents exploring and rediscovering our local shops and restaurants. The stark contrast between this summer and last demonstrates how fortunate we are to have Saratoga Race Course as a major attraction and tourism magnet right in our city.”
Added Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce: “The Saratoga Race Course is the oldest sporting venue in the US with an estimated annual regional economic impact of $240 million. The track is in the heart of our downtown and welcoming fans, family, friends and visitors back to Saratoga for the world’s best horse racing has the feel of the roaring 20s. People are spending money at our locally-owned stores, shops, restaurants, hotels, B&B’s and spas. In turn, they’re spending money hiring thousands of people and contractors ranging from landscapers to window washers to food from local farms. Every business in every sector here feeds off the track. The City and the track are inseparable when it comes to our economic health and history.”