Real Writing on Racing 💯
I have attended every meet since 1990 but I doubt I will ever return. With such small fields and Ortiz brotherly on full unabashed display gambling is a waste of money. The NYRA’s greed is also driving people away. We had reservations at the Turf club dining. What a pig sty. And now that I am older 1 elevator is rediculos It was fun while it lasted.
Great recap, Chuck. Thanks for the coverage this summer. Appreciate the honest takes. Look forward to the pod.
I didn't write summary comments about the Saratoga meet because I wasn't there in person, and I didn't feel I had much to celebrate though I had both of Contessa's long shots and enjoyed the winner of the Travers. No, the crazy deaths of the two in deep stretch and others I learned about and the many injuries to jocks during the meet felt more than usual even if it wasn't that more than usual. So, I didn't post, but now if someone asks me, I can say "ibid" if I choose to write something or direct them to Charles Simon's thorough and heart-felt summary. Charles, you said it all that was needed to say.
Chuck< a very cogent summary of the Saratoga Season. Who is counting? Well, I'm always counting because there are onto two seasons, Saratoga and waiting for Saratoga. However, we have a "new" countdown for the next two(?) years, BelToga and then Saratoga -I hope that NYRA is serious about returning to the Big A for a month before the "official" Saratoga season. The naysayers, including the response below, are hiding their actual agenda- using the unfortunate summer to attack NYRA because they are agents for those that want NYRA to fail. What is fairly obvious, for people actually paying attention, is that CDI & TSG have cast their lot with TVG/FD. They fear the success of the NYRA/Fox Partnership. Moreover, with NBC's TC contract expiring after the 24 Classics, they know that FOX is the only Media entity that is even interested in bidding on the TC races. NYRA/Fox knows that they hold the cards in this grand game of Poker and its no coincidence that NYRA/Fox will not accede to any of the other's demands until Fox is the network of the TC.
Great Great writing as usual. I agree on so many things you just wrote about. But one thing I do not is that Saratoga is a great place for racing. It may have been years ago but now it’s just a NYRA money grab and they do not care about the horses.
After spending so many years there I decided to venture out to other tracks in the summer. And what I found is that Saratoga is like the Villages in Florida. Lots of old people, right wing boobs, people with money yet zero manners, etc. Fox Sport and the talking heads seem to be paid a lot of money to brainwash people into thinking that it’s “the place to be”. You could do a shot of liquor every time they asked someone “how special is it?”after they win a race or are in the winner’s circle? You’d be drunk after the 2nd race.
As someone who spent a lot of time in that winner’s circle and track I think it’s a joke. Anytime you win anywhere in the world it’s special. Not because it’s Saratoga. There is history there yes, but NYRA has let that place become a shell of itself with no investment on the backstretch for the horse’s safety or health. The barns are an embarrassment. The place is held up by paint. They took away the area that a trainer might take a nervous horse to relax and do something a little different (out the back down the hill at the Oklahoma track)
People that talk about it’s historical importance are a joke. Every single well known track in Europe is older yet they have modernized areas of the track and they are still important historically. They are also extremely well cared for and beautiful compared to Saratoga. Light a match and see what happens to Saratoga. Also look closely, it’s gross. I worked there, that facility is grossly overrated. The rats hide during the day. The human rats are out in full force all day and night.
Colonial Downs is very close to colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. Very historical places with beautiful scenery and heritage. You have rivers and bays, ferries to cross to different areas. That track is close to several wineries as well. The birthplace of Secretariat is not far away, the track is beautiful and big. The backstretch is super horse friendly with lots of space and well built barns. They run mostly turf races and didn’t have many days of taking any races off the turf. I don’t know if they even had one fatality all meet. The people in Virginia are 100 times friendlier than they are in Saratoga as well.
So all those people that love Saratoga can have it. As a huge fan of horse racing and the horse’s safety and welfare I say farewell to a once prestigious track. Saratoga is only Mecca to those with no soul.
Chuck, I want to say I enjoy your stories and your unique perspective in writing them. I personally know most of the racing people you write about, which makes reading about their exploits more interesting. Great job, and I haven’t forgotten you were once my private trainer and won four races at Saratoga for Kathern and I. It was your first year as a trainer. Your friend, Ken Ramsey.
A very nice way to welcome in the week while sitting at the airport. Waxing poetic does not do justice to how good this is, but it fits.
And a Pennine Ridge reference last week, nice. 👍