Saratoga Horse Racing

September 2011 Archives

Note:  A version of this article appeared recently in a magazine.  The article was edited, cut down to half its original size--and thereby lost the emphasis on the issue of racing's need for a Commissioner.  I've tweaked the piece, because I really want you, my readers, to think about the fact that horse racing is in dire need of direction.  It's the only major sport in the United States that doesn't have a regulating body--and that, as we've seen, has led to a mess.  States regulate medications, race days and everything else--but there's no formal organization that represents everyone in racing--including the horses--to sit down at table with the states' various boards and talk turkey. 

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A fine example of how to run a governing body is Svensk Galopp, the Swedish horse racing authority.  Svensk Galopp regulates all the racing in Sweden--both Arabian and Thoroughbred.  With a Board made up of horsemen and -women at the helm--people who genuinely love horses, and the sport of racing them--Svensk Galopp successfully has run the business of racing for many years.  And the Swedes know racing:  they've been at it since 1810--a full 53 years before the first horse ran his first race at our beloved Saratoga.


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Until American racing has a Commission and a strong, savvy Commissioner--racing will always be at the mercy of the states.  And some states, as we've seen, have it in for racing.  For some puritanical reason, legally betting on horses is frowned-upon by many in political power.  And that prejudice can become a vendetta.  Unfortunately, we've seen, up-close and personal, what it looks like when a state takes it upon itself to make Life as difficult as possible for racing organizations.

Ironically, I'll wager that 90% of the politicians who'd like to deep-six horse racing--et illegally on...say...football.  

Just sayin'.

So racing needs a Commission.  And a Commissioner who knows the horses, the people and the sport, cold.  Someone who wouldn't be afraid to meet in the office of any state regulating board, and tell it like it is.

My vote for Commissioner goes to...

Leroy Jolley.

The Hall of Fame trainer is admired by fans and his peers.  There are ample reasons for the admiration:  the blue-eyed genius knows more about horses than, well, almost anyone.
People who know me on a particular social networking 'site are aware that I had an existential crisis this week.  Well, OK, I didn't wonder whether my very existence had any meaning--but I felt mighty guilty over something that, on the surface, seemed to be ridiculous.

I hadn't fed, petted or played with...my virtual horse...in a very long time.  No, really.  I received notices that a friend had been tending to my (virtual) horse's emotional needs, and--overwhelmed with guilt--I went to the 'site and fed, petted and played with her until she was 100%.

I kid you not.
It's the eve of 9/11/11, and, like most of the world's citizens--I have many thoughts about the day and the significance thereof.

But the thoughts swirling inside my head all direct that I still believe in world peace...one horse, one horselover, at a time.  

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Saratoga Race Course in the summer is searing, steamy, sweltering.  Mop-your-brow hot.  But the weather is merely a metaphor, the outward expression of the heat that's generated by the power of the horses in residence during these six weeks.  

Of  the fevered passion that those horses engender as they embrace their power to captivate the human soul.

The physical atmosphere is roasting, but the racing action is hotter, still.  A haze of lazy hangs over the renowned venue on Union Avenue--the kind of heat that settles into the bones and takes your breath away.  Only the horses are capable of moving at breakneck speed, as they race not only toward immortality but straight to the core of every human within eyeshot... 


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M.E. Altieri

Marion Altieri is a horse racing
life-long fan
writer
editor
pundit
publisher
radio show- and TV-show hostinista and
alpha-mare-about-town.
Her website, http://www.fillyracing.com 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.


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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.