Oh what a beautiful morning.

By Mike Hare

What do Rodgers and Hammerstein have in common with Saratoga's training track?
Nothing really. But there's a reason people make the connection.

The Saratoga Racecourse wasn't always where it is today. The first day of racing took
place back in 1863 on the other side of Union Avenue. The first meet was such a hit that John Morrissey and his buddies set about building a bigger and grander course. The Saratoga Racecourse we know today opened in 1864.

So what happened to the old course?

It was renamed "Horse Haven" and turned into a training track.

But by the early 1900's Saratoga had outgrown the facility. The Racing Association
realized that more stall space and a bigger training facility was needed. So they purchased over 100 acres north of Horse Haven, and opened the new one-mile oval.

Interesting, but what does all this have to do with Rodgers and Hammerstein? Nothing, remember? Except this--eventually the training track acquired the nickname "The Oklahoma Training Track." Tell that to a group and see what happens. Invariably someone will start singing the unofficial anthem of "the sooner state" or ask if the training track was named after the R&H musical.

How did The Oklahoma Training Track get it's name? The explaination is more mundane than musical. The accepted story is that one day, someone griped that the training track was so far away from the main track, "it might as well be in Oklahoma." Seriously. That's it.

Mike Hare is the author of Saratoga Lives and a Spa City tour guide.

Find It

The Oklahoma Training Traick
East Avenue and Union Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


The track as it sits today differs slightly from the one built in 1864. In 1901 the track was taken over by management lead by William C. Whitney and the track was enlarged to 1 1/8 miles and moved to a different position, relative to Union Ave. The stands were moved after having been cut into pieces.
The clubhouse we see know was built in the late 1920's. Prior to then the clubhouse was just that, a big "house" exclusively for the use of members of the Saratoga Assn and their guests and the elite of the Jockey Club.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Alison Bechdel at HVCC

Cartoonist/author Alison Bechdel will be at Hudson Valley Community College March 23 for a talk. Bechdel is, of course, the author of Fun Home, the... (more)

The next Union College president is David Harris

Union College announced Tuesday that its next president will be David R. Harris, a 48-year-old sociologist who's currently the provost at Tufts. He'll succeed Stephen... (more)

"The story of slavery is embedded in the story of Albany."

Using entries from the CUNY's New York Slavery Records Index, Amy Biancolli profiles a handful of enslaved people who worked and lived at prominent households... (more)

Saratoga Jazz Fest 2018 lineup

The annual Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival is June 23-24 at SPAC. And the lineup's out -- it includes Chris Botti, Herbie Hancock, Jon Baptiste with... (more)

William Shatner at Proctors

William Shatner. Will be at Proctors. For a screening of The Wrath of Khan. April 4. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 23 --... (more)

Recent Comments

The current property has been for sale for nearly 15 years. The owners are getting out of the Bowling business, it's happened all over the region. There's a buyer, and the city must evaluate the opportunity cost doing nothing. ...

Gawking at the ceiling of the Smith Building

...has 5 comments, most recently from Greg

William Shatner at Proctors

...has 1 comment, most recently from Mike

No one asked, but...

...has 11 comments, most recently from Greg

Proposed apartment project at the Playdium site gets OK from planning board

...has 20 comments, most recently from neighbor

The week ahead

...has 1 comment, most recently from Tess