Overlooking the Oklahoma Training Track, the Whitney Viewing Stand opened to the public Saturday, August 3, offering the public the opportunity to view the morning workouts at Oklahoma for the first time in more than a decade with an unprecedented vantage point to experience the training ritual. The viewing stand is named in honor of one of Thoroughbred racing’s most prominent families, and dedicated patrons, the Whitneys.
Saratoga 150 Committee Chair Charles Wait was joined by Honorary Chairs John Hendrickson and Marylou Whitney, NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay and Saratoga historian Paul Roberts on Thursday, August 1 to officially unveil the stand as part of the 150th season celebration, marking the weekend anniversary of the four-day race meet in 1863 near the site of the Oklahoma Training Track (the meet moved across the street to the main track one year later, in 1864).
“The ritual of watching the morning workouts is a longstanding tradition at Saratoga, which still rings true each morning on our main track,” Kay said. “NYRA is proud to welcome the public back to the historic Oklahoma Training Track for a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into training Saratoga’s world-class thoroughbreds. The Whitney Viewing Stand will undoubtedly become a must-visit location for both the patrons who visit Saratoga each year and locals alike. NYRA is honored to work with the Saratoga 150 Committee as we celebrate our heritage with the new Whitney Viewing Stand.”
The Whitney Viewing Stand is designed to model the original 1892 Judges’ Stand, which stood before the Grandstand. The timber-framed, three-story building is set upon a newly landscaped section of the grounds and has a steeply-pitched roof capped by a weather vane finial.
The Whitney Viewing Stand is flanked by two plaques—an original plaque that has been refurbished from the Saratoga Race Course centennial celebration in 1963 and a new plaque honoring this year’s sesquicentennial.
The Whitney Viewing Stand will be open daily during morning training at Oklahoma through the remainder of the 2013 meet. The public can access the stand from the East Avenue gate of the Oklahoma Training Track where free parking is available.