SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Christmas came early for the people of Saratoga Springs. The Belmont Stakes will arrive in June, meaning big implications for the community. “To have the oldest sports venue in the United States host a Triple Crown race is something that has never happened in the Saratoga Race Course’s history of 160 years,” said Samantha Bosshart, Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation.
It may not look like it now, but summer is on the minds of officials and business owners in the city. June 8th, mark the date on your calendar. That’s when the Belmont Stakes — the third leg of the Triple Crown — will run at the Saratoga Race Course, part of a four-day festival.
“We are prepared and we will spend the next…. these next months to ensure that we are holding a Belmont stakes racing festival, that all New Yorkers can be proud of,” said Pat McKenna from the New York Racing Association.
Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce says the entire Capital Region will reap the benefits of Belmont, even those who aren’t interested in racing.
“We know that people are going to stay at hotels from Lake George to Saratoga, to Clifton Park, to Albany, to Schenectady because we don’t have enough hotels here for everybody to stay in. So we’re gonna have a regional impact, but we wanna make sure we also have a local impact outside of the track in our community and to make sure people can feel like they can come to the downtown,” Shimkus said.
Heidi Owen West owns three businesses in downtown Saratoga, she’s also the vice president of the area’s business association. She says though Saratoga enjoys a year-round economy, the holidays and track season are critical for downtown businesses. For Heidi, the early bird catches the worm when it comes to readying her shops for the expected influx of customers.
“I’m going to start planning immediately as soon as we get done with this interview. We’re going to welcome new tourists. We will be rolling out the red carpet. As a business owner, I will be staffing up. I’ll be making sure that I’m really prepared” said Owen West.
The Saratoga resident says she hopes their little old town will leave a lasting impression on visitors. “Once you’ve been here, and I’ve seen how amazing the city is, you’ll come back” Owen West added.
Belmont 2025 may also be on the horizon for Saratoga if renovations at the Long Island track aren’t completed in time.