SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - And, they're off! The 144th season at Saratoga Race Course kicks off Friday for the 40-day racing meet.
The gates will open to track-goers at 11 a.m. and the first race of Opening Day is set to go off at 1 p.m.
All day Thursday people have been preparing for Opening Day, from restaurant preps, to trackside preps, and even in the Jockey's Silk Room.
Colorman Walter Arce has the day Thursday to organize all 4,500 silks that hang in the Silks Room. Arce has been doing this job for more than two decades and says he can immediately find any silk. "We don't have a computer, so we have to keep it in our minds," he says.
The silks need to be organized by color and texture and Arce says there is a lot of pressure to make sure each jockey wears the right silk and takes that responsibility with pride.
On Opening Day this year, kids can enjoy Family Fun Fridays in the backyard. Each Friday there will be a bounce inflatable plus arts and crafts and more.
Opening Day also kicks off Hats Off to Saratoga Festival for the weekend in downtown Saratoga Springs. Nearly a dozen bands will line Broadway and nearby streets from 7 p.m. to 11
p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
For the betters, the meet will offer daily purses nearing $1 million, the largest ever at an extended race meeting. On Opening Day, the 10-race card features the James Marvin as the first of 35 graded stakes, along with the 94th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies.
Watch NEWS10 live from the track every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the meet from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. And if you are at the track, stop by the NEWS10 set and say hello!
For everything on the Saratoga Race Track, visit the NEWS10 At The Track page.