Saratoga Horse Racing

October 2011 Archives

Saratoga150 Logo.jpgTime-travel with me, if you will:  it's July of 1863, and the Battle of Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, USA)--the bloodiest battle in American history--has just taken place.  Mass casualties on both sides.  The country was hurting--neither the North nor the South was gloating after the enormous loss of life.  Uncommon valor and sheer guts were the only things that kept some men alive in the days following, as litters of broken bodies, housing broken souls, were carried off the battlefield.

The emotions of the nation were crushed, as brother fought against brother--many families were divided, and there was no end in sight to the War Between the States.

Gather up your hoop skirts now, board the cart and come with me just one month later, to Saratoga Springs, New York.  The city that was founded on spring waters with curative properties was just about to embark on a venture that would eclipse the springs, as a new distraction would be offered to The People...
Oh, all right, it's up to The People to save the world.  Most American politicians have no interest in trying.   (I can't and won't speak about politicians in countries other than the U.S., my only experience is here.)   But if you added up all the politicians in the US and added a dollar--you couldn't buy a decent cup of coffee.  Certainly Corporate America isn't interested in doing it--I can't speak for Corporate Anyplace Else.

So once again, it falls upon the shoulders of We, the People, to bring about change. 

That's OK, we're pretty good at it.

The change of which I write today seems like an easy one:  change in the life of a youth.  If we can get horsepeople from every corner of the globe to participate, one year from today we will have touched the lives of 1,000,000 young people.

Imagine that...
Think about this concept, if you've not done so before:  everything has an expiration date.  

Everything.  Let's start with the basics:  a carton of milk, a can of soup, special offers from your favorite restaurant.  These are expiration dates that we see every day:  remember the last time you grabbed a big glass of milk, only to discover that the beverage was far beyond its "good by" date?  Blech.  

Ignoring the expiration date in that case resulted in a less-than-satisfactory experience.  And that's just milk.

But everything in Life--in the Universe, in fact--has an expiration date:  stars, galaxies, trees, bodies of water.  Nothing disappears, of course--it gets "recycled," as it were, into a different form of energy, molecules, etc.  

The expiration date relates to the form as we know it:  that pretty star that we see in the sky?  It was there a billion years ago, and now all we're seeing is leftover Star Shrapnel.  The orange leaf on our favorite tree?  Will be gone in a few weeks, turned to brown, crunchy, dry mulch.  

But in turn that leaf will feed the tree and other plants and microscopic critters in its surrounding environment, and will live again next year, in the form of a bigger, stronger tree and even more-vibrant leaves.

Ah, now we get to the part of the Theory of Expiration Dates that make some people feel uncomfortable.  Not one aspect of Life is exempt from the Theory, for the Theory speaks of growth, and of the future's need to clear space.  Out  with the old, in with the new.  Everything expires, whether or not we think we're ready for it:   Relationships.  Jobs.  Living situations.  Life, itself, is subject to expiration of one form, in order that another form can be born...
In the next few days, I'll post several articles.  I hope you like them all. But tonight I have to dash off a little something, inspired by a video I just saw on Facebook.  Don't worry, it won't be long, just pointed. 

People who love horses should work with them, or at least get to be around them, somehow.  

People who do not love horses should not be allowed to be near them, ever.  There's something about the kindness and innocence of the horse that pushes the buttons of people who have the need to dominate another living being.  I don't know why:  maybe they can't get away with that behavior at home.  Maybe they hate their bosses.  Whatever the inspiration, some people just plain need to be cruel to a living being.

The natural human response to a horse is the strong desire to defend her or him, to become the horse's protector.  People lacking this response should steer clear of equines, or face the wrath of those of us who DO feel compelled to protect and defend...

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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.