Saratoga Race Course - Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga Race Course

Saratoga Racetrack For Kids

There is no doubt that the track is a fun place for adults, but did you know there are all kinds of things at the races for kids to enjoy, too? Discover these top 10 things to do for kids at Saratoga Racetrack, and they might just grow to love the track even more than you do!

Horses up close at the Paddock at Saratoga

1. Family Mondays

Each week Saratoga Racetrack holds Berkshire Bank Family Mondays. There special highlights, including games, attractions, and educational activities. Mondays just have "kids" written all over them! The weekly family festivals will be held at the Saratoga Pavilion, located inside the entrance to the Reserved Seats Office near the Carousel from 11am to 4 pm.

2. Morning Workouts

No less part of the tradition at Saratoga is watching the horses train at their morning workouts at the track. Bring your kids to watch the stunning horses get in shape in the early morning hours. It's free to enter the track, and you can get reimbursed for parking as long as you leave before 10 am. While you're there, why not add on Breakfast at the Track? Breakfast opens at 7 am. If you'd rather do it on the cheap, tote breakfast along with you, and enjoy a picnic!

3. Horses Up Close

Get so close you can practically touch the horses before each race! Take your kids to see the horses as they strut through the paddock and down the fenced horse path prior to each race. Pick out your favorites and see these equine competitors walk single file down to the races, accompanied by their jockeys. This is a memory that will likely stick with them forever.

4. Sam the Bugler

Your kids will love Sam the Bugler. He's a professional musician with decades of experience who plays the "Call to Post" before the races at Saratoga. More than that, Sam Grossman is somewhat of a figurehead for the races and a local icon; he's even got his own bobblehead. His sonorous trumpet is as much a part of the magic and ritual of the races as the announcer's famous, "And they're off!" Your kids can watch Sam play the bugle "Call to Post" trackside before each race or try to catch him wandering around the track between races to meet him. He is a very friendly guy!

5. Trackside

Even though the full concept of the horse race might be foreign to them, your kids will get swept up in the excitement just like everyone else when you take them trackside while a race is in progress! The crowds cheering, fans clinging to the fence in hopes for a better view, people getting louder as the horses draw near the finish line -- let them take it all in and enjoy the races from the front lines! Even if you don't wager on the race, have them pick a number to cheer for so they feel a part of the action and excitement. As the horses round the final curve, your child can even get a glimpse of the powerful blurs catapulting their riders at heart-racing speeds across the finish line.

6. Browse the Tents

Inside the tents, you'll find merchants selling their wares. Everywhere, there are horse paintings, racing memorabilia, hats, sundresses, and other track-themed merchandise. But even more, there are plenty of things for kids to do. Some tents have jockey garb for kids to dress up in, or let little ones "feed a horse" or even "ride" one (pretend horses, of course). You never know what you'll find, so just explore!

7. Playground

The racetrack has a great playground for kids. When they eventually tire of the excitements and horses, they'll still love to climb, slide, hide, and have fun as kids do! The playground is located inside the main gates and to the left.

8. Track Treats

Let them choose an ice cream treat -- or better yet, Italian ice -- to keep cool while at the track. There's also the annual Stewart's Ice Cream Eating Contest, which is so fun for kids! Popcorn, cotton candy, soda -- the track is full of treats you can say "yes" to just for today. Let them customize a hot dog at the hot dog stand. These may seem like simple things, but to a kid, these are memories in the making!

9. Tractors

Watch the tractors groom the track! Most kids love to see a big machine, and the only thing better than seeing one is seeing one in action. This is a great time to explain how the different racing surfaces can affect the performance of the horses. Show them in the books how different horses perform on turf, dirt, mud, etc. and let them watch the tractors at work.

10. Big Red Spring

Take your kids to visit the Big Red Spring at the track! One of the biggest draws of Saratoga is its natural spring water, and the Big Red Spring at Saratoga Racetrack has it bubbling abundantly for track goers to sample. While most children are usually surprised and rather disgusted by the taste, it is an experience they won't forget, and a reaction you'll want to cherish (and record!) to laugh about in years to come.

There you have it, our top 10 picks for the best things to do with your kids at Saratoga Racetrack! Oh yeah, and be sure to keep your eyes open while at the track because it's also an ideal place for spotting famous celebrities. You just might see a star from your kids' film favorites!

Need more ideas for things to do? View upcoming events in Saratoga »

New York Racing Association
QUICK Links
SARATOGA Racetrack Info

Opening Day: Fri, July 21, 2017

Travers Stakes: TBA

Final Stretch Weekend: Sept 2 - Sept 4, 2017

Closing Day: Mon, Sept 4, 2017



For information prior to the season: (718) 641-4700 or (516) 488-6000

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Information on this unofficial website may not contain accurate or the most current information on thoroughbred horseracing held at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack. For the most up-to-date and accurate news on any race hosted by NYRA, please visit www.nyra.com. Photos © NYRA

Header photo: Saratoga Race Course © Carl Heilman II - Adirondack Photographer & Nature Photography Workshops