Saratoga Horse Racing
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I was reminded recently of the single reason why I insist that horse racing administrators have it all backwards, and their apparent intent to turn race tracks into amusement parks is silly (ridiculous, even).  

The vehicle through which (whom) to turn potential fans into the Key to the Future of Racing?

The reason, of course, I repeat:  The Horse.

And this reason gives way to an enormous concern, that of the WELFARE of The Horse...

1973 Preakness winners circle.jpgI can add nothing to this press release.

All I can say is,  if you're a die-hard Secretariat fan--I mean, a REAL FAN, not some jerk who just likes to own stuff because it's valuable--I mean, someone who LOVES Secretariat, and LOVES this sport--then you need to buy this and thereby, give to the R.A.C.E. Fund.

If you're a fan and you get it in the auction--you'll be blessed with the presence of Secretariat, in your Home.  (Unless, of course, you get it, then decide to give it to ME, as a gift...)


If you're NOT a real fan and you get it just 'cause you like Having Stuff...then you are a Visigoth, not worthy of such a treasure.  And shame on you, for having such screwed-up priorities.

So...I'm going to assume that a REAL fan will get this, because it would be Karmically bad for a mere "collector" to acquire it.  But as I think about it...if you're just a collector, and you get this--think about this--your money will go toward the saving of horses' lives.

And you owe it to yourself, to meet some horses for real-for real, and let them draw you into their spirits.  Let them breathe on you...fall into their eyes...feel the Wind of Heaven.  If you can meet a horse in the flesh and spirit, and NOT come away completely changed for the better--then you ARE a Visigoth.  But give yourself a chance, to grow as a soul.  Horses are great therapists and priests, rabbis and imams. :)

With that spiritual intrigue out on the proverbial table, I present...the press release, from
Ahhh,'s that time of the year again.  Saratoga. You're reading this on, so you may think that I refer to the city of Saratoga Springs, New York.  Or to Saratoga County. Thumbnail image for Shayjolie by Dan Heary Travers Day 2014 7th race.jpg

But you'd be wrong, if you think that the standalone word, "Saratoga" can refer to anyplace or anything other than Saratoga Race Course and the (Thoroughbred) horse race meet that happens here every year...

What's a wither?  

To most people, "wither" is a verb, and means, to become dry and shrivel.

To horse people, a horse's withers are the highest point of a horse's shoulders.

Dock? Hock?  Fetlock?

Do you know that the equine eye is the largest of any land mammal?

Gary Contessa ROI story Marion E. Altieri 2.jpg
If these words and factoid are news to you--you need to Get Thee to Gary's Barn...

If you're a fan of Boston-based artist, Brian Fox--obviously, you are an insightful soul, one who appreciates beauty, power and spirit.

If you're not-yet a fan of the world-renowned artist--well, first I wonder where the heck you've been for the last 10 years.  But that's OK, I'll cut you some slack this time.

And fret not--during this Saratoga meet, you'll have ample opportunities to get to know Brian and his art--in print, in an historic Saratoga restaurant and in person...

So, Bubby, you feeling a little sorry for yourself and your family, because there's no NYRA Open House this year?   (The Open House would have been this coming Sunday, July 19th. Always the Sunday before Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course.)

So, no Open House. Wah.  That's great, because God--Who always makes A Way, where there seems to be No Way--has provided another opportunity for you to be on-campus at our regal Queen of Race Courses the weekend prior to Opening Day!  

AND, instead of just stuffing faces with hot dogs and cotton candy, this experience will give you the opportunity to stuff your heart and soul with beautiful visual, olfactory and aural memories.  You can sit on the legendary Clubhouse Porch.  Watch the gorgeous horses working out in that oft-praised, Saratoga Sunrise. Hear the sounds of the horses breathing: "Huh-huh-huh," and laying down those golden hooves...

What do you and Marylou Whitney, Virginia Kraft Payson and Beverly (Peggy) Steinman have in common?  "Nothing," you say?

On what is based your Jump to Conclusion?  The fact that those three ladies all are monied, storied and not of your social element?   Might it be that you've never seen Mrs. Whitney in Pizza Hut?  (It happens that I have.)  Or Peggy Steinman in the Shake Shack line at the track?

Well, OK.  So you haven't shared a burger with Ms. Steinman in the past...but you can have lunch with her in the very near future.  The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation and Shelters of Saratoga--both absolutely worthy organizations--will benefit from this year's edition of the Fashionable Fillies Luncheon in Saratoga on Monday, July 27th. 

And you can be there.  Oh, yes, you can.
The Belmont Stakes, in which American Pharoah broke the spell of 37 years and won the Triple Crown, was such an historic and otherworldly event that it's taken me a full two weeks to process it.

Speaking with a friend yesterday and others during the past 15 days, my experience is not uncommon.  Apparently only those people who are clear-headed enough to hold jobs in which they must write on-demand for deadlines have had the wherewithal to pen reports and observations about the events that unfolded on June 6, 2015 at Belmont Park.

While I'm very close to being able to sit down and tell readers everything that took place that day--in my world, in my head--I'm not there yet. 

But the topic about which I am ready to write--once again--is the marketing of horse racing.  How not to do it, and yes, to whom and how it should be done.  

I'm inspired to write this based on things that I witnessed on Belmont Stakes Day, in-person, and a totally-unscientific (yet revealing) marketing experiment that I conducted that day at Belmont Park.

Based on what I witnessed that day, two things were confirmed for me:

1)  The attempt to market horse racing to young people (late teens, and 20-somethings) via electronic devices and video games is the same as trying to ride a horse, facing the tail.  

Ass-backward, and just plain wrong.

2)  Arrogance of youth and "progress" notwithstanding--just being at a race track does not make one a race fan, any more than a cat having kittens in an oven makes them, biscuits. It's still necessary to teach them why they should be there--and that WHY is and always will be--The Horse...
So it's Preakness Day 2015, and everyone in horse racing who writes or even scribbles with a crayon will spend the day watching-writing-waiting-writing about the horses, the jockeys, the owners, the crowd, the flowers, the hats, the fun.

Proverbial inkwells will dry up if American Pharoah wins the Preakness, and heads his van up 95 to Belmont.

I have nothing to contribute to the coverage of the Preakness, on Preakness Day.  I'm not a handicapper--if anything, I'm an anti-capper.  (I bet horses based on a vibe, or if the horse has kissed me, etc.  Ask me about Adios Nardo sometime.  Right, Wren?)  ;)

No, the topic of my diatribe today will be none-other than continued misogyny in horse racing.   But I promise to narrow it down to this particular day, in this particular place.  

Today, kids, we're going to discuss the inappropriateness of bikini contests at the Preakness.

Now is the time to stop reading if you think that I'm just ridiculous to care...
On the one hand, "Fugue for Tinhorns," from the Broadway musical, "Guys and Dolls" is one of my favorite pieces of music.

Anyone who doesn't know the title, surely knows the tune and the opening sentence,

"I got the horse right here,
his name is Paul Revere..."

It's a wonderul song--a terrific ringtone--and, musicologically-speaking--it IS a fugue.  The high-falootin' definition of "fugue" is thus:

"...a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts."

To the uninitiated, this use of fugue form--a classical music mode--for a song that's sung by supposedly-uneducated trackrats--seems to be humorous.  No doubt, the concept seemed to be funny to its composer, Frank Loesser:  "Imagine that: ne'er-do-well race fans, singing in fugue form!  Oh, those silly, illiterate racetrackers!"

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M.E. Altieri

Marion Altieri is a horse racing
life-long fan
radio show- and TV-show hostinista and
Her website, will bring together URLs for this blog with her radio, TV and online magazine publishing endeavors. The 'site also will feature a Marketplace, Community and opps to exchange ideas about women in racing; equine welfare and rights and ways to make the sport both more nurturing for horses and more egalitarian for females.

First a wordsmith, Marion is acutely aware of the power of language: as we speak and write, so we live. If language has the power to start and end wars, so too it has the power to save the lives of horses

A f!lly is not a little grrrl horse: a f!lly is a Force of Nature, and through her work, Marion hopes to help reinforce this powerful Truth.


Thoroughbred Racing in Saratoga

The Thoroughbred is a distinct, created breed of horse. Saratoga Springs, New York is a unique, pristine city in Upstate New York.

Put the two together, Thoroughbreds and Saratoga, and you have America's most prestigious, lushly beautiful and important racing meet. For six weeks every summer, the world's best horses, jockeys and trainers come together to compete for trophies, cash and fame.

In this blog, we'll discover All Things Thoroughbred and the lovely international community of horsepeople, both professionals and fans, alike who set up camp in this city. Some come for six weeks, only. Others are here from April through November every year, when the Oklahoma's open. Yet others trek to town to race their mighty steeds—then fall in love with the place; buy a home and move here.

The Saratoga racing family of humans and horses is a year-round endeavour. You think that all the horses all go elsewhere after Labor Day? Then this blog is for you, too.

(Is the reference, "the Oklahoma" lost on you? Stay tuned, you'll feel like a pro in no time.)

Welcome to the only experience on Earth that can boast of such otherworldly beauty and heart-stopping thrills, all in the same breath: Thoroughbred racing in Saratoga.