This was a banner year for Saratoga trips, as I made it out for 4 of the 7 racing weekends. I had a great time and was able to stay with my friends Mark and Melody in their camper at a nearby campground. Saved a fortune on hotel rooms. There was a lot of great racing, and although I didn’t win money by the last day of the meet, I did place a lot of bets, and only ended up down $40. Not bad for 8 days racing.
All of my photos are up in my flickr gallery, but I’ll post one photo from each week to keep you interested. Jim Dandy day started out nice, but then rain moved in, and by the 5th race it was pouring out. Hiked the camera back out to the car only to have it clear up a few races later for some really nice races later that day. We saw a lot of great horses this season, Fort Larned (eventual Breeders Cup Classic Winner), Alpha and Golden Ticket battling to finish in a dead heat in the $1 million dollar Travers Stakes. Mucho Macho Man and To Honor and Serve in the Woodward. A really great season that I will remember fondly for a long time.
Well, we had a great weekend at the Travers Stakes in Saratoga. We beat Hurricane Irene out of Albany, and even took some money from the track. I had a fantastic time, met some fantastic people, caught up with a few friends from days past, saw some awesome racing, and got some great photos. The first race we saw featured a jockey losing his whip, and using his goggles to whip the horse instead! Friday afternoon we were able to see Kentucky Derby contender To Honor And Serve in a claiming race of all places.
Mark made friends with one of the track photographers, Connie Bush, and we ran into her Friday afternoon. She was able to get Mark and I visitor’s passes Saturday morning, which was great, a once in a lifetime experience. It also meant that my day started around 4am as I got up, had a shower and headed to the track to photograph morning workouts. We were able to spend some time at the Oklahoma training track, and the backstretch for breakfast. It also meant for a heck of a long day. Mark and I ran into The Mig, retired Hall of Fame jockey Richard Migliore! He was a really nice guy and even posed for a few photographs. Mark maintains he bares a vague resemblance to myself, and I must say I think he is right!
We got to see great racing all day. I found a horse shoe which must have brought Tracy some luck as she did quite well on the day. We saw the return of Uncle Mo, almost a year to the day that we saw him win his maiden race over this same track. Unfortunately he lost by a nose in a photo finish, but it was an awesome race, and he did so good after a long layoff. He lost his back right shoe, and I was able to capture that with my camera from my spot on the rail. He’s an awesome horse.
It was a great summer at Saratoga, and all in all I was able to take in three race weekends. The Jim Dandy, The Whitney, and The Travers. There won’t be a summer like it for a while. View all my photos from this summer at Saratoga in my flickr gallery.