My Trip to Saratoga Racetrack, Part 2: The Gideon Putnam

Dad can't wait to handicap the Saratoga race at breakfast at The Gideon Putnam

Dad can’t wait to handicap the Saratoga race at breakfast at The Gideon Putnam

Continued from part one

As I noted in my first Saratoga post, racing horses is really not my thing, but my dad is a huge fan—and because I grew up with the Saturday afternoons of dramatic cheering and literal knee-slapping, it had a big impact on me.

The Gideon Putnam

The Gideon Putnam

Saratoga really can take a non-racing fan and turn her into a huge Saratoga fan!

My parents absolutely loved Saratoga, and especially The Gideon Putnam, where we spent a night. Back in the day this was the place to be. These days it has gotten a little worn but it’s still very shabby chic, and I loved the high ceilings, elegant large lobby with mammoth vase of flowers, and large bedrooms.

Grand old dad at the grand old Gideon Putnam

Grand old dad at the grand old Gideon Putnam

They pay attention to detail, with soft lighting in the rooms and top-quality cotton Italian sheets and down pillows, things I really appreciate. The staff are all so accommodating, and for an instant I thought we were in the south as there is an air of southern hospitality.

Saratoga jockey and horse about to ride

Saratoga jockey and horse about to ride

Being in Saratoga SpaPark, with the tall elm and oak trees, helps with that feeling. The Gideon Putnam—named after its founding father—has been located in the Saratoga Spa State Park since 1935. Saratoga Spa Park is home of the The Roosevelt Spa and venue for outdoor concerts, and a beautiful 18-hole golf course: Saratoga Spa Golf Course

Roosevelt Baths, Saratoga Springs

Roosevelt Baths, Saratoga Springs

We arrived in time for our scheduled spa appointments at the hotel’s Roosevelt Baths, which have been around since President Roosevelt valued the park and natural mineral waters. The tub was deep and old-school, with a rich red color from the minerals. I had a long soak and then a 40-minute massage by Nick, who was funny. My father did not get into the tub since we were not sure if he would be able to get out on his own (it was very deep), but he did enjoy the massage and steam room.

Day at Saratoga Race track with dad

Day at Saratoga Race track with dad

Years ago, Mama Jeanne and Papa Frank would celebrate their wedding anniversaries sans kids each August 25th at The Gideon Putnam Hotel and spend at least two days at the Saratoga Racetrack.

Dad looking for a winner at Saratoga

Dad looking for a winner at Saratoga

We had dinner at Putnam’s in the hotel, and since it was such a beautiful summer day we sat outside. The terrace was popular and my seared tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes was delicious. My father’s chicken wings and salad with homemade ranch dressing was excellent.

Lobby of The Gideon Putnam

Lobby of The Gideon Putnam

The next day I was up before dawn to try to get a reservation for lunch at The Porch, and since my father does not see well, this was imperative. I thought I had achieved that through OpenTable but it turns out it did not work.

We were the first people on The Gideon Putnam shuttle to the Saratoga Racetrack and after waiting in line for the first restaurant The Porch—which is on the first floor and would have been hard for my dad to see from—we were told there were no tables.

Dad and I on the finish line at The Turf Terrace

Dad and I on the finish line at The Turf Terrace

We were both very disappointed. Then one of the nice track attendants told us to go upstairs and see if we could get a table at The Turf Terrace. This is the ultimate place to be and I assumed that we would not be seated without advanced reservation. But, I was told to come back at 1:15pm and lo and behold, we were granted the best table right on the finish line! My dad could not have been happier! Having this table, right on the finish line, made all the difference in the world. Even though my dad did not win, and I won on hunches of two long-shots, after walking a total of 15,000 steps going up and down the stairs to place bets for dad for every race, it was a magical time for both of us.

At the end of the day, The Gideon Putnam’s shuttle was waiting for us just outside the entrance to take us back home. Thanks Johnny, Saratoga and mom for working her magic.

Georgie Jet

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My Trip to Saratoga Racetrack, Part 2: The Gideon Putnam
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About the Author

Georgie Jet

Hi, I’m Georgette, a writer and artist based in Connecticut and Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. I’m also Johnny Jet’s sister, who quite possibly ignited his first spark of interest in traveling to exotic places when at the impressionable age of 14, he saw my four-week trip to Australia last three years! Whether skiing in the mountains, snorkeling in the tropics, or exploring historical cities, I’m always game for traveling and the privilege of writing for my brother’s website JohnnyJet.com. Of course, coming home to my husband Cam, our dog Indigo, and my three cats Ace, Chammy and Kashmir is great, too! Check out my animal portraits at georgettepaintings.com.

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