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Proper Attire for Saratoga Race Course

Saratoga Race Course
Courtesy of Saratoga Race Course's Facebook

It’s always hard to say what the appropriate attire is when going somewhere.  Whether it’s a wedding, a party or the Saratoga Race Course.  If you are headed there for opening day on Friday or you’re planning on heading up there sometime during the meet, you’ll want to be dressed appropriately depending on where you will be at the raceway and depending on the weather.

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Clubhouse

Racing
Patrick Smith, Getty Images

The clubhouse is typically the dressiest part of the racetrack.  Pre-paid tickets/seats are purchased for the clubhouse.  There are even pre-paid box seats that have the better view.  Horse owners, trainers, business men and women, and clients of any of the forementioned frequent the clubhouse.  Guys usually have on at least khakis and a pressed button-down dress shirt on.  Some men where suits or at least a sport coat and tie.  Shorts are not really acceptable nor are sandals.  Ladies are seen wearing a nice summer dress, heels and sometimes a big, floppy hat.  The hat of course is an optional accessory, but on big race days, such as Travers, they are consistently seen.

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Grandstand

Horse Racing fans
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images
The grandstand is much more casual.  With general admission, you can sit in the grandstand on a normal race day — if it’s not too filled up already.  With general admission you can also wander down to the railing to see the horses coming down the final stretch.  No specific dress is required.  However, you’ll still see some female race fans wearing a summer dress with flip flops.  Some women and men wear just shorts and a tank top/short sleeve t-shirt.  Regardless, the best way to dress for the grandstand is weather depending.  You certainly don’t want to be sweltering in the heat while trying to enjoy the races and ponies.

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Picnic Area/Paddock Area

Saratoga Springs
Courtesy of Saratoga Race Course's Facebook

This is a great area if you don’t necessarily want to catch every race up close and personal, but rather enjoy a large group of friends/family.  We’ve done WGNA day at the track before and with a bunch of us going up all at once, we typically set up camp in this area.  It has picnic areas, plenty of room to set up a blanket and chairs and hang out in the shade.  On a real hot day, this would be a great place to be if the heat bothers you.  You’re also close to the saddling paddock area in which you can still catch a glimpse of the pony you were contemplating betting on, but might change your mind if they are the smallest one in the race.  No dress requirement here either.  Just dress however you’re most comfortable for the weather and the day.

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