Saratoga businesses prepare for Travers weekend

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This weekend is the 151st Runhappy Travers. It’s one of the biggest events of the year for not just racing, but the City of Saratoga and its businesses.

Normally, July and August are by far the busiest time of the year for the businesses in Saratoga. Owners call it ‘Christmas in July.’ However, it’s been anything but that; due to the pandemic and no fans being allowed at the Saratoga Race Course, some are still struggling.

“These businesses are chasing a number they are never going to see this year, which is very unfortunate and we haven’t even seen August numbers yet,” Deann Devitt, Board President of Saratoga Business Association, said. “People just need to remember that Saratoga doesn’t just end with the track.”

The Saratoga Downtown Business Association is made up of about 200 members. Devitt says overall, sales are down roughly 50 percent.

Even though the Race Course opened just over three weeks ago – the numbers were still not even close to a normal July.

“Keep trudging forward. we ask you to be as safe as our businesses are being. Health, history, horses – health always comes first,” Devitt said. “So, be respectful, come out and visit. Support us as much as we can support you.”

For impressions of Saratoga – last July they had over 9,000 ticket sales come through the register. This year? Right around 4,400. Co-Owner, Maddy Zanetti, says shes seen an uptick this week ahead of Travers and hopes that continues moving forward.

“Saratoga is a year-round destination, horse racing is only part of the year. The people who live here embrace their culture and embrace horse racing year-round,” Zanetti said. “We have such a great community that people want to be here and they are always doing what they can to promote Saratoga.”

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