x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

At-a-glance: Saratoga's tradition

Saratoga Racecourse opened on August 3, 1863 and has a long and storied history.

Saratoga Racecourse opened on August 3, 1863 and has a long and storied history. It is the oldest organised sporting venue in the United States. The oldest thoroughbred race in the US, the Travers Stakes, has been held there every year since 1864. The original meeting was four days long; now the meet lasts six weeks. Two of America's most famous horses lost there. Man O' War lost his only race in 21 starts to a horse named Upset in 1919, and Secretariat lost there after winning the Triple Crown in 1973.

Another Triple Crown victor, Gallant Fox, lost to a horse with 100-1 odds in 1930, and Saratoga gained the nickname "The Graveyard of Champions". The track is also known as "The Spa" for the natural mineral springs found in and around the town. One spring, called the Big Red Spring, is located on the racecourse picnic grounds. Footage for the 2003 film Seabiscuit, was filmed there, and an early scene in the James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever takes place at Saratoga.

There is an old-fashioned, hand-rung bell that is sounded 17 minutes before each post time. A canoe sits in the lake in the infield, repainted each year in the colours of the winning stable for the Travers Stakes. * The National