Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Racing Plans / East vs. West

While some of us are making plans to visit Saratoga, others are making plans to visit Del Mar. And despite the many ongoing problems facing racing ( and New York and California certainly have their share), it's a sure thing that those fortunate enough to find themselves at either of these sacred tracks, will be witnessing some great racing this summer. Being an East Coaster, I have spent at the very least a weekend or two, many times the entire meeting, at the Spa, since I was five. That's a lot of racing , folks! Even when I had a horse in at Rockingham for night racing, I would leave Saratoga after the 5th race, drive to "Rock", then drive back, so as not to miss a single minute of what keeps me coming back, year after year, to the Adirondacks.
One of my favorite things to do, and there are many, is to just sit by the clocker's stand at the Oklahoma Training Track and watch the morning gallops. Twice a week you can watch horses gallop over the turf track, something you don't get to see very often. It you are in the mood for some breakfast, you have a couple of choices. Breakfast trackside, though a little pricey, is fun and you need to do it at least once. But even better than that, grab a coffee and a bagel on the first floor of the clubhouse and find yourself a seat in the deserted boxes upstairs and enjoy all the sights and sounds that makes the racetrack the special place that it is.
Saratoga mornings are really what is right about racing. And I would guess mornings at Del Mar are too. I always thought that one summer I would make plans to get to the other coast. It won't be this year, but someday I will. I just hate to give up my Saratoga days.


  1. I too, was a little girl when I first went to Saratoga with my dad...guess we all went with our dads...
    I was never very tall for my age, so although I was 8 years old, I think at the time you had to be 8 to enter the track, I didn't look it. We were standing in the paddock area watching the horses walk by on their way to the track. Me with my stuffed dog and my dad with his camera. As the horses and jockeys were walking by us,(way before the fences went up) a trainer stopped by my dad and said, "this little girl wants her picture taken with Eddie Arcaro!" Eddie Arcaro....!!!!!
    It was raining and the finished picture certainly shows me...but the jockey is dark and no one would know who it is... but I remember that day as though it was yesterday. My first day at Saratoga who could ask for anything better than that!
    Those were the good old days. My parents managed a motel and guests who would go to the track on a daily basis would bring me along and teach me the ropes. I learned a lot from them. Also at this same motel, stayed the Brunetti's of Hialeah fame. It was John's dad and mom and crew etc. They won the Whitney that year (1966) with Staunchness. It was a pretty exciting summer. A lot of important people stayed there. Sadly, the Northway was built and that area suffered in the tourist trade department. Many of the well known Saratoga people no longer stayed in motels so far from the track. They didn't have to.
    Even so, these people along with my dad, made me a fan of racing. I too, try to educate new fans so that maybe one day, they will also have a day to remember just as I did as an 8 year old.

  2. Great Story Anne !
    And you are so fortunate to have such great memories. And yes, we all need to do our part to keep the fan base growing.Thanks for stopping by.