Saratoga’s Whitney Viewing Stand

Whitney Viewing Stand

The Whitney Viewing Stand may look forbidding with the cones and the security guard, but the public is allowed up there to watch the horses work on the Oklahoma training track. Photo by Rhonda Lane

Where can you see all of Oklahoma?

From the Whitney Viewing Stand, a brand new viewing platform overlooking the Oklahoma Training Track, across Union Avenue from the Saratoga Racecourse.

All the times I’ve been at the Oklahoma Training Track, I’ve been on a tour or with someone with an official credential. On the tours, we’re expected to stay thirty feet away from the rail.

Those people you see in the photo below at the rail must know someone working horses or have credentials, unless they’re rebels with a streak of daring who parked in the nearby lot and then walked up to the rail. They certainly weren’t on the tour with us because our tour guides kept us shepherded within the fold.

The viewing stand, which dominated the horizon line from that part of the backstretch, is said to echo the 1892 Judges Stand that stood before the Grandstand.

Whitney Viewing Stand view

The light from the morning sun made better photographs from this angle, but you could see just as much in the other direction toward the track entrance, aka “The Gap,” although the sun would be in your eyes.  Photo from Rhonda Lane

Anyway, in a joint venture with NYRA, the Saratoga 150th committee and racing’s Whitney family, the Whitney Viewing Stand opened to the public on Aug. 3.

From the viewing stand, you can watch the action on the dirt course and the inner  turf course, as well as the infield steeplechase course.

Also, another race on the card that day, the seventh race was named for the new fan-friendly structure, according to the program. Congrats to winner, Dunkin Bend.

Page from 8/3/13 program for Saratoga racing

See? It’s not just “the 7th race.” A page from the big souvenir program on the racecourse’s 150th birthday. Photo by Rhonda Lane

The viewing stand, or tower, as it’s sometimes known, has park benches inviting race fans to stay a while. As with Doctor Who’s TARDIS and Snoopy’s Dog House, the interior is bigger on the inside.

Up top on the Whitney Viewing Stand

How’s the air up there? Pretty good, as you can see. A great view with places to sit. Photo by Rhonda Lane

The viewing stand will be open to the public through racing season, aka, the end of Labor Day weekend.

I’m hoping it will remain open so fans can watch horses in training at the track until it closes for training in mid-autumn. ::hint, hint, NYRA::

 

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2 Comments
  • Christine
    August 15, 2013

    I’d love to be able to watch racing from a vantage point like that! I don’t think my local racetrack has such a spot – love the photos!

    • Rhonda Lane
      August 17, 2013

      Even just some bleachers would be nice, wouldn’t they? Anyway, thanks for stopping by and saying, “Hi,” Christine.

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