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Saratoga Race Course to Open at Near Full Capacity, Tickets Available on June 9

Most sections will be open to vaccinated fans only, including majority of the Grandstand and all of backyard, 1863 Club and more.

Saratoga Race Course Giveaways
Saratoga Race Course will be at near full capacity this summer. (Billy Francis LeRoux)

The wait is over, Saratoga. The New York Racing Association (NYRA), in conjunction with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, today announced that Saratoga Race Course would reopen to fans at near full capacity for the 2021 summer meet.

Season and weekly ticket plans for the 2021 meet, which opens on July 15 and continues through September 6, will go on sale on Wednesday, June 9 at 10am on NYRA’s website. Season admission passes will also be available for purchase at that time as well.

In order to reopen Saratoga Race Course to fans at near full capacity, NYRA will designate most sections for vaccinated fans only, including the Saratoga backyard (i.e. where the cooler crowd sets up near the TVs). This policy aligns with current New York State guidance for large outdoor sports and entertainment venues, which allows for fully vaccinated sections to operate at full capacity without social distancing measures in place.

“The historic Saratoga Race Course is one of the Capital Region’s most storied attractions, drawing over a million New Yorkers and visitors to Saratoga Springs each summer,” said Cuomo. “The racing season is quickly approaching, and this year we are excited to welcome fans back to the course with free admission on Opening Day for any individual who shows proof of vaccination. This is all part of New York’s rebirth and resurgence as we continue to build back better and stronger from this pandemic.”

Yes, you read that right: All fans who show proof of vaccination via the New York State Excelsior Pass on Opening Day will receive free Grandstand general admission. Fans from outside New York State may redeem free admission by showing their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

“NYRA thanks Governor Cuomo for the opportunity to welcome fans back to Saratoga Race Course for what is sure to be an unforgettable summer at the Spa,” said NYRA president and CEO David O’Rourke. “Thanks to the progress made in New York against COVID-19, the 2021 summer meet will be a 40-day celebration of all that makes Saratoga so special. Beyond its importance to the Thoroughbred racing community and legions of passionate fans, the annual summer meet is an economic engine that creates jobs and supports the hospitality and tourism economy throughout Upstate New York. We appreciate the opportunity to open the gates at this most historic of sporting venues on July 15, and to join our fans in a collective roar of ‘They’re off at Saratoga.’”

Season and weekly ticket plans for reserved seats in the Clubhouse, Grandstand, The Stretch and Fourstardave Sports Bar will go on sale on Wednesday, June 9, in addition to season admission passes. Season passes, which are valid for vaccinated fans only, provide admission to all 40 days at Saratoga Race Course. Season passes do not include reserved seating and will be available by digital download only. Printed versions or hard copies will not be available. A Grandstand season pass is $50. A Clubhouse season pass is $75. Season passes may be purchased on NYRA’s website beginning on June 9.

Individual tickets and tickets for other areas of Saratoga Race Course, including dining, will go on sale at a later date.

In addition to the historic and family-friendly backyard picnic area, sections that will be reserved exclusively for vaccinated fans and will operate at full capacity will include: the 1863 Club, The Stretch, Turf Terrace, Porch, Clubhouse and most of the stadium seats within the Grandstand.

Under New York State guidelines, non-vaccinated children under the age of 16 will be admitted to seating and hospitality areas designated for vaccinated fans when accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

A limited number of seating areas will be available for non-vaccinated fans, who will be required to observe social distancing guidelines and to wear a facial covering at all times during their day at the races.

Single-day Grandstand general admission tickets are $7, and Clubhouse general admission tickets are $10. Walk-up admission will be available daily and does not include reserved seating. Upon entry, fans must submit proof of vaccination by presenting their CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or digitally through the New York State Excelsior Pass.

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated by the CDC/New York State 14 days or more after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or 14 days or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).

NYRA says it’s reserving the right to amend admission protocols based on updates and/or adjustments by the CDC and New York State.

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.

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