Saratoga Horse Racing

October 2010 Archives

"The Wind of Heaven is that which blows through a horse's ears."   
(Bedouin proverb)      


It's Friday, October 8th, and the world is Secretariat-crazy.  That's groovy:  I love Big Red, I adore Penny Chenery.  I met her daughter, Kate Chenery Tweedy in August, and I can see where that apple did not fall far from her brilliant tree.  I can't look at the cobalt-and-white checkerboard design of Meadow's silks without getting a chill or a tear.  Penny was the first person to encourage me as a racing writer:  I consider her to be my mentor.

So I'm thrilled that Penny is being honoured with this film that shares her big horse's name.  It debuts today.  I think it's deelish that Secretariat--or at least several horses painted to look like him--will storm past finish lines on the silver screen.

Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon:  even the DRF features Meadow's silks on the top of their website today.  I don't know if that was a financial decision or a genuine expression of respect, but there it is. 

For me--and for many racing fans--the most striking thing about Secretariat wasn't his white socks; his perfect conformation; his long, huge stride.  It wasn't even that he was the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, effectively overthrowing the kingdom of Citation. 

No, for me and for many, the most outstanding thing about Big Red was the way in which he claimed that crown:  31 1/2 lengths in the Belmont.  Belmont, the Big Sandy that takes great horses, chews them up and spits them out like they were so-much candy corn.

Secretariat with Ron Turcotte up blew down that track, every 1/4 mile faster than the one before.  Moving like a freight train toward glory, he was fast, beautiful and most-of-all--strong.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Secretariat  I.jpgWhere did he get that strength, that endurance?


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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.