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it started in 1863

And now it's 150 years later.

The 145th Meet at Saratoga began Friday and at 7:15 am the tables were staked out with picnic hampers and tents were being raised in the backyard.

Sam the Bugler (the same Sam on the bubblehead) was practicing notes and then entertaining diners on the Terrace.

New head of NYRA Chris Kay was having his first morning at the Track (to busy to eat breakfast) giving interviews and welcoming visitors.

Asked about the heat - and it would hit 96 that afternoon Kay said NYRA was ready and the horses would be taken care with water baths and hosing downs. As for men in the Clubhouse Kay said they would wait for John Hendrickson (Mary Lou Whitney's husband) to doff his coat before following suit.

Despite the heat 21,935 were at the Track for opening day.