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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Fans made their way through the gates of Saratoga Race Course for the first weekend since 2019, after last year’s racing season had no spectators because of the pandemic.

For some, like Joyce Meyer, returning to the track is the continuation of a decades-long tradition. Meyer has been making the trip up from Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years, as she’s reminded of what keeps bringing her back to Saratoga.

“I think seeing the new 2-year-olds come up, they’re so exciting to watch. I fell in love with Easy Goer in 1989, I saw him as a 2-year-old and I watched him throughout his entire career,” she said.

Meyer has been at the track each day this year since opening day, as she says it’s a great feeling to continue a trip she loves taking, especially after this past year.

“You start feeling cabin fever, you start feeling isolated, it was just wonderful being out with people and being able to do something you enjoy,” she explained.

This year’s opening day saw nearly 28,000 in attendance, with 27,760 fans at the track. It’s a big boost for the track, as well as downtown businesses.

“Opening day was riotous. It was, everyone was giddy, it was joyful. People bought hats by the tens and the twenties,” said Natalie Sillery, the owner of Saratoga Trunk.

Saratoga Trunk, a women’s fashion store, is usually very busy around track time.

Sillery and other business owners hope a successful track season can help provide a boost after the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

“The track employs so many different people, it helps so many of us in retail and the town needs sales tax,” she said.

With New York dropping COVID restrictions, the track will be open at full capacity throughout the summer.