Saratoga Horse Racing

June 2009 Archives

WELSH Celtic Horse Circle.gifHorses can teach us a great deal about Life:  all we need do is observe their lives and listen to their words of Wisdom.  The eyes of a horse are the windows into profound insight, if we humans can just slow down long enough to gaze into these deep pools of knowledge.

So every now and then, capital-W Wisdom comes my way, and I feel compelled to share.  These insights usually come oozing in because I've been around a horse, or a horseperson (who passes on the knowledge, second-hand from her critter).  Not that I fancy myself to be a font of Wisdom, but I catch glimpses of it in the breeze every now and then.  I reach out, grab it, process it and pass it on when it seems appropriate.

Lots of the things that pass for Wisdom these days--isn't.  Celebrities spout personal platitudes, often inane--but because they're famous and the words are written in exotic fonts--they get a book deal.

You won't get a book deal by participating in "Horse Sense" here on, but you may make some friends who appreciate the Wisdom that you share here.  Please do make comments about the column, and please share your own Wisdom!  It's by reading and exchanging ideas that we learn about Life:  we can create here a community of Horse Sensible People.    How cool is that?



Saratoga Race Course Compliments of NYRA.jpgEvery year, like most Saratogians and all true racing fanatics, I start counting the days--oh, starting the day after Labor Day--'til the next Opening Day at Saratoga.  This year's meet opens on July 29th...which is 35 days from today, to be exact.

But that countdown doesn't include the three days prior to the meet's opening--and that day, that of the NYRA Open House--is just as important, in my heart.  Why?  Because the Open House is NYRA's way to extend a big, friendly "Welcome!"  to everyone who's in town.  Once the meet starts, locals will have to share our Race Course with thousands of visitors from places with exotic-sounding names like "Bayshore," "Bayonne" and "Bahrain"--but on July 26th, before the tourists check into their hotels, the beautiful, historic track is all ours, compliments of the New York Racing Association.
(Photo above compliments of NYRA--New York Racing Association)


Seattle Slew's Grave Large Statue Roses.jpgIntroduction
Racing is the oldest sport in America, and surely, the most beautiful.  Those of us who love the sport are fans for life.  We hope to pique your interest, so you can join us in this exhilarating endeavour and become part of our community of fans and professionals.
Hence, Racing 101.  This course is designed to help those of you who may be fascinated by the sport of horse racing, but have not-yet experienced the thrill and majesty of it all.  Or you've gone to a racetrack, and immediately felt lost and confused.  We want to help you overcome those feelings!  Week-by-week, we'll explore terms, strategies and factoids that will help you feel like a pro in no time.  You may already be an experienced fan--this course is still for you!  Your comments can help our "students" learn:  Please feel free to write in and become involved.  As we all learn more about the sport and bring others into the fold, the sport will grow.

Follow the lead of our magnificent Thoroughbreds, and remember to Run Fast, Turn Left--and never, ever give up.

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M.E. Altieri

THE ALPHA MARE, commonly known as M.E. Altieri, is a writer/editor/activist who lives and breathes the art and sport of horse racing—both Arabian and Thoroughbred.
At the tender age of six months, her Grandmother plopped her on the back of a pony. (See photo.) Three years later, Mare first rode a horse—an American Quarter Horse—on her cousin's farm in Stephentown, New York. That same year her Mother and Grandma took her to Green Mountain Park, a now- (sadly) defunct Thoroughbred track in Pownal, Vermont. Next stop, Saratoga Race Course. The seed was planted, and a passion, born.
While she does have other interests (Medieval languages and theology, cats, tigers, etc.) none hold a candle to her passion for horses. She finds that horses are far-more intelligent, compassionate and kind than 99% of the people she meets. Mare's career is fascinating, if nothing else: in 2011, she served as Editor of a beautiful history book, The Purebred Arabian Horses of Iraq: Myths and Realities by Dr. Mohammad bin 'Abdul-'Aziz Al Nujaifi. She's contributed to several international horse racing publications, including Al Badia, Arabian Finish Line, Desert Mirage and Galopp Magasinet.
She's the Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of f!lly Magazine-- the magazine by, for and about women in horse racing. f!lly will debut in 2013. Both Thoroughbred and Arabian racing--and women, f!llies and mare from all around the world--will be featured in the full-color, beautiful, historic publication. Magazines are the first of the media M.E. wishes to tackle: she's also writing a screenplay, and seeks the perfect venue and producer for her horse racing radio show. She's got the voice; God knows, she has opinions--she feels led to put them together and broadcast to the 51% of the racing fan base that's too-often been overlooked. (Hint: 51%...could it be, women?)
An Alumna of Mount Holyoke College, Mare hopes to use these media, including her blog here at, to encourage women and girls to find their vocations in horse racing and to help make the world a more loving and nurturing place for all equines. When asked to identify her Mentor, the woman who encouraged her to follow her bliss, Mare names the great Penny Chenery. Through these various media projects, Mare hopes to do for other females what Ms. Chenery did for her--open doors, encourage and bless.


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.