Saratoga's racing history at museum
SARATOGA SPRINGS Saratoga Springs and thoroughbred racing have gone hand-in-hand since the 1800s.
Whether it be the Travers on NBC or ESPN, the 2003 film Seabiscuit, or Carly Simon's 1972 No. 1 hit "You're So Vein," the Saratoga Race Course has guided Saratoga Springs to the national spotlight over the years.
Along with the Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga is also home to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The museum offers exhibits and artifacts that cover the history of thoroughbred racing in the United States dating to the 1800s.
"We have paintings and artifacts and trophies that date all the way back to before the Civil War, and [the museum] encompasses everything up through the modern era," said Brien Bouyea, communications officer for the museum.
Some of the era exhibits include "Racing in the 19th Century" and "Racing in the 20th Century."
Aside from the exhibits featuring the different eras in racing, the museum recently opened an exhibit to showcase thoroughbred racing in Saratoga through the years. The Alfred Z. Soloman Saratoga Sesquicentennial Exhibit opened June 24 to feature the history of racing in the city the past 150 years.
"Saratoga has an incredible and unique history in the world of thoroughbred racing, and we are excited to showcase that here at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame," said Victoria Tokarowski, the museum's curator, in a recent news release. "We believe the Alfred Z. Solomon Saratoga Sesquicentennial Exhibit will both inform and entertain racing fans. We have many unique items on display, and we're looking forward to the public being able to experience this great exhibit."
The exhibit features a timeline of events beginning in 1863, when Saratoga had its first four-day meet. The timeline takes visitors through the top races, horses and jockeys at Saratoga. The exhibit also includes artifacts, trophies and memorabilia from the race course. Another aspect of the exhibit is an interactive video that features "historical race footage, interviews with top trainers and jockeys and stuff from the centennial that [the race course] had in 1963," according to Bouyea.
Not only does the museum feature multiple exhibits to highlight horse racing throughout American history, it is also home to the Racing Hall of Fame.
"The hall inducts the greatest horse, jockeys and trainers each summer," Bouyea said. "Our Hall of Fame gallery is probably our biggest attraction at the museum because we have all of the plaques and all of the Hall of Fame members here."
The museum and hall are attractions that guests of all ages, knowledge and interest in the sport can enjoy.
"We get a wide range of people who come here," said Bouyea. "People who are in the fine arts, like the paints, try to check out the collections of trophies. It wouldn't be uncommon to walk through the museum and see a famous jockey like Angel Cordero or one of the top trainers like Nick Zito stopping by."
The museum is at 191 Union Ave. and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. During the Saratoga Race Course meet the museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.