Saratoga Horse Racing
If you're a horse racing fan in the U.S., no doubt you know of Jim Rome.

Mr. Rome hosts a radio show on CBS Sports Radio, "The Jim Rome Show."  

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I don't listen to sports radio, because I don't care about any sport except horse racing. Of course I'm a fan of Horse Racing Radio Network and every other horse racing radio network.  Like you, I can't get enough.

But sports that involved only human athletes, and no horses?
Who gives a tiny rat's patootie?

Even if I was a sports fan, I wouldn't listen because I have exactly ZERO tolerance for the one-upsmanship, smart-assed pseudo-commentary that springs regularly from hosts' mouths in the name of The Almighty Ratings.

So I've never heard Mr. Rome's show.

But a good guess--and from what I've read online, and via Facebook comments--his show, like every other, is infected with a deadly virus. In the words of the great actor, Alan Alda, let's call this virus, "Testosterone Poisoning"...
Those of you who are friends--in "real life," or on Facebook--know that last week was a rough one for me, and for anyone who loves the NPR (National Public Radio) show, "Car Talk."

"Car Talk" was a Peabody award-winning radio show produced by NPR, hosted by two irrepressibly crazy, fun, brilliant brothers, Ray and Tom Magliozzi.  Sadly--horribly--Tommy Magliozzi died last week, complications of Alzheimer's.  (A dear friend of mine died in January from Alzheimer's complications, so I know this pain intimately.)

Tommy's death hit me like a brick in the face. I know that it hit millions of "Car Talk" fans similarly.  From 1977 until the brothers retired two years ago, the show was a blessing and a joy for many people.  For two years, the show has continued in syndication on NPR stations.

The key to their tremendous success, and the longevity of the show, was that they took radio talk and stripped it down to the basics.  The brothers dispensed advice regarding car repair, lacing their conversations with callers with pithy, witty repartee.and hyena-like laughter. 

In other words, they were Regular Guys.  Both over-educated (masters, Ph.D.s, etc.), but still they were just Average Joes.  Italian-Americans from Boston, they made no effort to sound "mid-Atlantic," and drop their Rs.  They had thick, Boston-Italiano accents--the accents weren't going anywhere--and we loved them for it...
This piece is about two things--related, of course.

The first is a wonderful piece of news about Longines and the Breeders' Cup.  If you read my writings regularly, you'll suspect (correctly) that the spin I'm putting on this delightful relationship goes beyond the concept of corporate sponsorship.

And the second part of the article--about Longines' gorgeous new watch--I'll share my thoughts on the concept of SEXY.  I hope you're intrigued.  If so, here we go...

By now, everyone in horse racing knows that Olympics medalist, Alpine skier, Bode Miller has announced his intention to become a Trainer of Thoroughbreds.  That's nice.

I've read everything I can about his thoughts on the subject, because I don't want to write this Open Letter to Mr. Miller and come across as being, well, judgmental.

I want to be fair, of course:  I understand his passion for the sport.  And no one understands his love for horses more than I.  But there's a big gap between being a lover of horses and becoming a Trainer.  If love for the animals and the sport could make one a Trainer, I'd have had my license 50 years ago.

So, sans any more ado, here are my thoughts, written as a letter to Mr. Miller.  (Everyone who's not Bode Miller is invited to read, of course.)...

It's October 8th, 2014, and by this time everyone in the world of international horse racing knows that Cigar, one of the world's greatest Thoroughbreds ever, has died.

Cigar Breeders' Cup.jpg
Race fans all know Cigar's background and statistics; I have nothing to contribute to the enormous body of knowledge about the magical horse's achievements.

The only things I have to offer are personal memories, but maybe those, too, will help add to the story of how this one extraordinary horse touched human souls, and give insight into the inner workings of such a horse of steel...
For 11 years now, I've ranted, cajoled and begged for the world of horse racing to See it This Way, that women must participate fully in the sport in order for it to grow and thrive--both in the United States and elsewhere around the world.  (I must note here that this argument applies only to Thoroughbred horse racing, for it appears that in the world of Arabian horse racing--misogyny and gender exclusion is noticeably absent.)

I awoke this morning at 4AM because words were going through my head, as happens too often.  The words pummeled my brain and invaded my sleep until finally two hours later, yawning and all watery-eyed,  I surrendered, got up and turned on the computer.

I have a story to tell you, and this story must be told in order for the title of this article to make sense.  It's a very personal story--one that very few people know.  It almost frightens me, the thought of sharing  this story with anyone--never mind, with the entire Universe, via Internet.  But apparently it's important, or the words wouldn't have assaulted me with the intent of being written down with a specific purpose.

Aware of the fact that you, my readers, are viewing this on the Internet--and therefore, are part of the generations of humans who glean information virtually--I'll keep this as brief as possible.  I need to think that you get through the story, in order to understand truly the moral of the tale.

Unfortunately, that means that there's a trade involved:  In order to shorten the story to a length that won't drive you away--I'll have to use some words that are unsavory.  Not "dirty" or socially unacceptable--but rather words that challenge the Great American Denial of Mortality.

Please read this article to the end.  If you skim it, you won't get the full meaning, and you need to understand the message here.  Horse racing in general needs to Get It, and we can't Get Something--Anything--if we don't fully understand.

So read on--take your time, work with me here, folks.  This story and the moral at the end are worth your time and energy...
Dear Friends,

In upstate New York--just a few miles from our renowned and elegant Saratoga Race Course, an evil man named GERALD (JERRY) HERRON has been abusing horses for years.  He abuses and neglects all the other animals on his "farm," as well.

His most recent offense is that, among other sins, he starved a precious colt to death.  YES, he did.

I'm too angry and upset to write anything eloquent:  instead, I'm going to give the proverbial keyboard to MR. BRAD SHEAR, Executive Dirctor of the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society, to tell you about the horrors.  Please read all the way to the end, and follow Mr. Shear's instructions for phone calls that MUST be placed, in order to get this evil man into prison and animals--especially, horses--out of his hands.  If he is allowed to keep animals, he'll kill them.  Period.   Do you want to be complicit in his crime, simply because you couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone and make two calls?  

I don't care if Herron is crazy, certifiably a lunatic.  I don't care if his Mommy left him as a child, and he's sad so he acts out and hurts animals.  I don't give a damn about his problems.  Tough  life?  Too bad.  He has no right--legally or morally--to abuse the animals who were entrusted to him.

Please read, and then act.  It doesn't matter if you live in New York, France or Mars.  If you truly care about animal welfare, you'll care about this, and act.  Thank you, very much...
Effective immediately, I'm giving up my previous mission, of working to create a horse racing media empire and striving to help women become fully part of the sport's media landscape.  In my heart, that mission served as the foundation for my obsession to help save horses from slaughter, abuse and neglect, by getting more females involved in racing media and on the boards of racing organizations.

Forget that.  Yes, effective immediately, I'm overthrowing all previous vocational notions in favor of my True Calling.  I'm slapping on a coat of Chanel red lipstick.  I'm going to don a saucy black lace veil and acquire a large, bowling-ball-sized crystal ball.

Effective immediately, I'm trading in my laptop and microphone, and accepting my true role, as Horse Racing Psychic...
I shan't go into much detail--you can find the details elaborately laid out on the pages of my new website.

Yes, on Wednesday, September 10trh, a new horse racing cyberdestination was foaled, and her name is ...
The curtain has come down.

The Saratoga race meet is over.

Tom Durkin has left the building.

For all intents and purposes, now it is the Autumn Racing Season, and with it come Belmont, Keeneland, Breeders' Cup, etc.

So today's the first day of going back to Business as Usual.  No more sultry Saratoga nights.  No more parties, and running into friends I haven't seen in years.  

No more gentle amusement every time I hear Lily, the pygmy goat, bleat.

No more gentleness, at all. As the camaraderie of the backstretch and Lily's plaintive requests for attention slip away with the last Summer breezes, we begin to hunker down for Winter.  

Autumn is the transition time, that gracious space in-between the blood-boiling heat of Summer's many lusty conquests and the same blood, freezing dead-still in your veins.

Along with the bright orange, red and yellow leaves and the crisp Autumn air comes the b***h-slap of Reality.  And today that Reality beat me out of my nostalgia for Saratoga, and headlong into the painful realization that the Suffragist movement hasn't yet made it to American horse racing, for we women get virtually NO vote.  And you know it's true...

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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.