Saratoga Horse Racing

November 2009 Archives

When I was in high school in Watervliet, New York, I had friends who lived on Easy Street in Maplewood, a small enclave of the town populated mostly by Russian-Americans.  (It was because of this delightful community of Eastern Europeans that my school was one of only two, I believe, high schools in New York State that offered Russian as a language option.)  But I digress, per usual.  (Hey, cut me some slack:  it's the holidays, and I'm in the process of my annual hibernation.  I can't physically just curl up and sleep 'til the first day of Spring--which, in my world, is Opening Day of Belmont's Spring Meet--so I start sentences about one topic and meander through the woods, always ending up where I intended to go...but the circuitous route seems more interesting when I'm weighed down by the heaviness of Winter's spiritual and physical saddlepack.)

Ah, yes.  Easy Street.  I wanted to live on Easy Street.  Who didn't?  Easy Street is theEasy Street Horse Rescue Logo Earl.JPG mythical place where life is sweet:  all needs are met.  Love abounds.  Friendships flourish, and there's always a helping hand.  Many Americans work like dogs for 40 years, hoping to at least retire to Easy Street, if they can't figure out how to do it earlier in Life.

If you're a horse, getting to Easy Street is often harder.  When you don't have thumbs, you have to depend on the kindness of others to provide for you.  Birds are lacking that fifth digit, but they manage to forage and build cozy nests and find all the food they need.  But horses are another story.  For some reason, many humans feel a need to starve, beat or otherwise be cruel to horses.   Why, I've so often wondered angrily, are so many people intentionally rotten to God's most beautiful creatures?  We've heard entirely too many stories recently of horses in the hundreds, found starved to death or near-death.  Horses who've been beaten with chains, left to bleed out.   I believe, truly, that animal cruelty of all kinds--but most notably on the part of those who torture or abandon horses--stems from an innate jealousy of the archetypal Horse. 

The Horse in archetype represents strength, consummate beauty, speed and otherworldly, innate Wisdom...Easy Street Horse Rescue Wrangler.bmp

Kirwan Magnificent.jpgWell, Dear Readers,

This may not start out as the happiest blog you've ever read, but hopefully it will help you to start a new tradition, and thereby add something of substance and joy to your holiday season.

I just found out that a beloved friend, Sylvia Bauersfeld, died last weekend.  I loved Sylvia.  "Gee," as she was known to those who love her, was a great woman, a lady who was surrounded by love and joy every minute of her life--precisely because she gave these things abundantly to everyone who ever knew her.

Gee came into my Life at a tragic moment:  14 years ago this past June, my own beloved Mother died.  Gee's Granddaughter, Kristy, was our Hospice Volunteer.  Kristy was no ordinary 18-year-old:  when Hospice told me that they were sending a teenager to volunteer in our Home, I was disappointed.  Within one minute of meeting Kristy, I knew that she was wise, and kind and self-aware far beyond her tender years...

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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 Saratoga.com, 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.


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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.