In the late 60s and early 70s we’d drive from the Great Sacandaga Lake into Saratoga Springs to roam around town, take in some music and grab some of the infectious energy that filled the streets. That was the first stage of loving Saratoga. The second was mentioned in a previous post, when someone recommended that I check out the racetrack, and did so when Affirmed and Alydar dueled in 1978. Now there was some energy! Since then I’ve seen General Assembly in 1979 break the Travers Stakes record in 2:00 minutes flat in a downpour, Easy Goer running beautifully, Fortyniner winning in an intense duel with Seeking the Gold, the undefeated Personal Ensign winning with lightening striking just prior to the race, then meeting Woody Stephens and many other VERY memorable moments shared with my wife, family and friends.
While those memories are etched in my memory, perhaps the part I cherish most is being at the track around sunrise. The photo on the Sunup album (Saratoga Sunrise) cover was taken at the Oklahoma Track in Saratoga, as the horse and rider emerge from the orange-pink morning mist. Being up close to the horse and in the company of these majestic and powerful animals rein (pun intended) supreme. With camera in hand, birds chirping and the pounding of hooves, pulls like a magnet force for me.
Recently visiting horses on the backstretch affirmed the magnetism of the horse remains very real; especially when you have an interest in them. In all honesty, it wouldn’t make that much difference if we didn’t have an interest, we just naturally gravitate toward being their friend. Despite my wife being allergic to horses and hay, she still drew close to these wonderful animals. Yes, they each have personalities. In fact, the one photo (bottom center) is of the horse, Double Happiness, raising his head up and seeming to smile after Mary gave her a peck on the nose. A subtler, almost cuddling reaction came from the 2-year-old colt, Determined Fury, who we also visited. They seem to sense the affection from us and respond in kind. What’s not to love?!
Along with this brief story of our Saratoga experience (which really IS brief) there is a link to my Saratoga – Horses playlist. I hope you’ll check out the music and use it to gear up for your own Saratoga experience and to trigger memories of days past and those yet to come.
*For some reason, I've always associated the tune, Teen Town, by Weather Report with Angel Cordero riding in his front-running style, in Saratoga. I think it's another instance of experience being coupled with a song and that becoming a soundtrack for a memory. I think we all have those?!
Marshall (3 years old in the picture) is now recording , writing and recording his old-man :)
Wishing you all the best!