Proud to Continue the Tradition of Cigars as a Social Aspect of Thoroughbred Racing
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Just about everywhere you look at the Belmont Stakes and Saratoga Race Course, you’ll find a diverse population – men and women, adults young and old – of horse racing fans enjoying smoking cigars. That’s why James & Sons Tobacconists of Saratoga Springs, New York is proud to announce that it has signed a five-year partnership with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) – operators of the three largest thoroughbred horse racing tracks in New York State – to serve as the “Exclusive Cigar Vendor” for the Belmont Stakes and the entire race meet at historic Saratoga Race Course. James & Sons Tobacconists is honored to be providing the premium cigars that have a long tradition of being part of the social experience in thoroughbred horse racing at Belmont and Saratoga race courses.
For the second consecutive year, James & Sons Tobacconists will be the exclusive cigar vendor on site for the Belmont Stakes Racing Day which will take place on June 9, 2018, at renowned Belmont Park, located in Elmont, New York, just 15 miles from New York City. The Belmont Stakes is the third leg and “final jewel” of thoroughbred horse racing’s prestigious Triple Crown (following the Kentucky Derby on May 5th and Preakness Stakes on May 19th). The track gates open at 8:30 am, with the main attraction, the Belmont Stakes, scheduled for approximately 6:30 pm, providing plenty of time for a share of the nearly 70,000 horse racing fans in attendance to puff on their favorite stogies while taking in the event.
In addition to the Belmont Stakes, James & Sons Tobacconists is the exclusive cigar vendor at historic Saratoga Race Course for the entire six-week racing meet, running from Friday, July 20th through Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd. Steeped in tradition dating back to 1863, the picturesque Saratoga Race Course is home to the oldest thoroughbred racing meet in the country positioned across the street from the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Located in the Eastern region of upstate New York, the track draws more than 1.1 million attendees each summer. Several of the most important races in North America, including the Travers Stakes, known as “The Mid-Summer Derby”, take place at Saratoga Race Course each year.
Since the Belmont and Saratoga tracks were first opened, cigars have remained a social part of the horse racing experience, adding to the pageantry of the sport’s social experience. As part of its agreement with NYRA, James & Sons Tobacconists will be selling cigars from an elegant newly-constructed permanent store with a television to view the races.
Unlike most sporting venues, NYRA has fully embraced cigar smoking at its race courses. At Saratoga, everywhere outside of the buildings is cigar friendly, including the seating and walking area on the mat next to the track and clubhouse, the paddock-viewing area, and the large picnic area containing approximately 850 tables.
The James & Sons Tobacconists track store at the Saratoga Race Course – which first opened for the 2017 meet – sold a wide variety of approximately two dozen different cigars each day. The biggest-selling brands at the track include 7-20-4, Alec Bradley, Ashton, Avo, Camacho, Davidoff, Arturo Fuente, Kristoff, My Father, Nat Sherman, Padrón, Perdomo, Rocky Patel, and the highly-sought-after James & Sons hand-rolled cigars.
The store’s exclusive cigar blender and roller, Franklin Pichardo, can be found most weekends during the Saratoga meet at the James & Sons Tobacconists track store with a crowd around his rolling table watching as he constructs their house blend of cigars. The cigars, exclusive to James & Sons Tobacconists, are blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos rolled with Connecticut, maduro, and barber-pole style wrappers in multiple vitolas, including coronas, toros, torpedos, Churchills, and salamones, among others. Franklin learned the craft as a teenager at the Fuente factory in Tamboril, Santiago on the Dominican Republic. Working there for 15 years, Franklin was the exclusively roller of the Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfexcion No. 2. After the racing day is over, he continues to attract a crowd of onlookers in the evenings while rolling outside of the James & Sons Tobacconists store on bustling Broadway, where track goers are finishing their days at the restaurants and shops.
Throughout the horse racing meet at the James & Sons Tobacconists store on historic Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs, customers from all aspects of the horse racing industry – owners, trainers, jockeys, stewards, stable workers, veterinarians, members of the media, and handicappers – come through our door to select sticks from our humidor’s finely-curated selection of premium cigars to smoke at the track that day. Many of the customers are handicappers who can be found in the store’s plush leather chairs marking up their racing forms while watching the TVG horse racing network. (In each of the last two racing seasons, TVG has broadcast live from the store during the Saratoga meet.) For many horse racing fans and those in the racing industry, smoking cigars in one of James & Sons Tobacconists’ four clubby lounges – including two that are available 24 hours a day exclusively to our cigar club members – is an integral part of their daily Saratoga experience.
James & Sons Tobacconists is a successful decade-old cigar merchant located in an architecturally-significant Victorian era building. Saratoga Springs is a thriving year-round destination with an exciting, culturally sophisticated vibe and one of the greatest main streets in America according to Travel & Leisure Magazine.
James & Sons Tobacconists has an excellent reputation in Upstate New York that is growing to a wider audience thanks in part to its new track stores at Belmont and Saratoga race courses.