SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Racing fans are definitely a committed bunch during track season. Hundreds camped outside the gates in the wee hours of Thursday morning to grab their favorite picnic table on Opening Day.

East Greenbush resident and track fan John Murray made it a mission to be first in line for the second year in a row. John and his friends camped out since 9 o’clock Wednesday night. “It’s tradition… I think this is our 11 or 12 for us so we look forward to it every year. Being out, just catching up, and the run in at seven is always fun and get our spot.”

“A lot of good people, a lot of friends, we get to see them once a year and Saratoga is the summer place to be,” Kevin Bockelmann, of Kingston. Kevin and his friends have been coming to the track for over 30 years. They call their picnic table section the Bone Zone and they’re happy that they grabbed it on Opening Day. “It’s [a] convenient [location], you can bet right here… the bathrooms are right up there it’s easy in, easy out,” said Kevin as he pointed around the area.

Fans call this event a tradition. Some have been coming to the track for decades. “The pandemic year was the first time since 1973 that I wasn’t on the grounds for one day. I’ve been coming regularly since then,” said Mike Misurelli of Ballston Spa. “A bunch of us retired from work and we don’t see each other much anymore so this is what we do,” Don Roberts of Halfmoon.

Traveling a few miles or thousands, all fans say Saratoga is the summer place to be. “It’s always good to be here.” Happy Opening Day!