Rocket Fuel
Ultimate 48 Sweepstakes
Please provide a valid email address.
Close

Blog - LIFESTYLE

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The magic will be rekindled for the 146th time on Friday when the curtain will rise for another spectacular season at the incomparable oasis that is Saratoga Race Course.

It’s a moment some 10 ½ months in the making, since the early hours of a Labor Day evening when Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” blared in the background as fans slowly strolled to the exits for the final time in 2013.

Now it’s time to start anew again.

Once again more fabulous racing and a collection of the nation’s best horses will come together in a heavenly setting that has withstood the ravages of time and remains as enthralling and captivating as it was more than a century ago.

And yet for all of the history packed into it and all of the reminders of a Victorian era, nothing ever grows old about it.

The thrills it provides are fresh year after year, because Saratoga does not rely on any single horse or race to make it special.

It’s the entire experience that’s so enjoyable. Great racing in the environment it deserves. Large crowds filling seats in the grandstand and clubhouse as well as picnic tables in the backyard. Titans of industry and average Joes. Horses saddled in a large, shaded paddock surrounded by rows of intrigued onlookers. Longshots and regally bred 2-year-olds.

Then, when the final race becomes official, there’s a town where the day’s races are revisited and tomorrow’s card is analyzed over a meal, a drink or a gelato in the fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains.

And that’s why Saratoga has such a revered spot in the hearts of the sport’s most passionate fans. Beyond a racetrack, Saratoga provides a setting where the Sport of Kings is surely royalty.

A three hour car drive to the south, in New York City, horse racing finds itself obscured by the Yankees and Mets, all of the other major professional teams, and the bright lights of Broadway. But in serene Saratoga Springs, New York, it’s racing that dominates conversations, be they in the cool morning air for early dawn workouts, during an exciting afternoon at the track, or while unwinding at a restaurant in the evening.

If you’ve been to Saratoga, you should understand.

If not, do yourself a favor. Experience it. All of it. From the photo finishes to a walk along Broadway as night falls.

And don’t wait too long. There’s only 40 days of racing and then Labor Day will arrive. With any luck, you’ll have your own array of freshly minted memories by then, and a year from now you’ll understand why so many people have been merrily counting down the days until Friday – when Saratoga opens once again.

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Sponsors & Partners

  • FoxSports1
  • NBC Sports
  • Logo 6
  • Saratoga
  • Santa Anita
  • CBS Sports
  • Monmouth
  • Keeneland
  • Gulfstream Park
  • Del Mar
  • Belmont Park
  • Arlington Park
  • OwnerView