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Saratoga 2014: Visiting on a Budget
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Race season is truly the time when the Spa City shines.
Fortunes ebb and flow at the race course, but you don't have to break the bank to enjoy the experience.
Did you know it's free to visit the track in the morning during the season?
There's also a breakfast buffet available for a price in the clubhouse.
Here's a little known secret: backstretch tours. The race course hosts free tram rides giving you behind the scenes access every morning.
"You can see the jockeys at work. You can see the horses. You'll be able to get a full tour. It's very informative. It's a lot of fun. As we've seen, too, with the kids--they love it," said NYRA's John Durso, Jr.
Here's a tip.
If you don't want to pay for the breakfast buffet, just bring your own food to the track and watch the horses warm up for free.
You can even park next to the track for $10, and if you leave before 10:00AM, you get your money back.
Organizers *do* offer free all-day parking farther away.
Private companies are trying something new this year: a chance to reserve spots in lots near the track for as little as $5.00.
Saratoga native Hans Theisen just launched spacederby.com, a website that lets you choose and hold a spot online before you arrive. You can even get discounts to local restaurants in the process.
"This was just a way so people can plan ahead and I think the other benefit is you get to use your credit card. People don't always want to use cash. You want cash for the track, for the windows," Theisen explained.
If you're looking to bring lunch to the track, check out Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria. Prices aren't steep, and there's quite a selection of tasty, race-themed sandwiches and meals to choose from.
There's usually a line, so come early or call in and order from the track.
"We send guys up all day long, with platters, be it over the fence through the fence. We'll make it work," explained owner Anthony Gargano.
Saratoga Springs isn't all about racing. Feel free to see the sights.
The National Museum of Dance has free admission on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You can even go for a swim at Saratoga Spa State Park.
If you're tight on cash, you can still afford to take a dip.
Admission at Peerless Pool is $2.00 for anyone 12 years of age or older. Kids ages 5 to 11 only cost a buck.
If your child is under five years old, they can swim for free.
Remember, visiting Saratoga doesn't mean you'll lose your wallet.