Saratoga Horse Racing

The Arabian Turf Writers' Association: Join, Write, Enjoy!

For some human beings,  writing is an obsession.  We have to write, or the chemicals in our heads go haywire.  There's stuff floating around in there, and it can get to the point at which we must, absolutely must, get it Out There, into the world beyond our skulls--or we will implode.  Shrapnel everywhere.  (I wonder what that shrapnel would look like?  Bits of lines of poetry by Frost and Dickinson?  Fragments of paintings by Bosch, Klee and Moses?  Algebraic symbols?)

Anyway.  Take the need to write, and complicate that place of perpetual insanity by the passionate, no-holds-barred love for The Horse.  Now you have a potentially dangerous person on your hands:  while the rest of the world may view the horse writer as a quiet, mousy introvert who keeps to themselves and lives with a cat...  
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...the reality is that you have a person who would run over another human with a train if a horse was in danger--and who would park the train immediately, and whip out a notebook or iPad computer, to document the experience while it's still fresh in the mind.  Then turn the notes into a screenplay, "...the next great horse movie."

No, writers--as one of my heroes, Richard Castle (the fictitious--or not?--lead character of ABC's "Castle," expertly played by the gorgeous Nathan Fillion)--as Richard Castle would say--we writers are a wily, dangerous bunch.  Never underestimate us.

I would add to that, ...especially if we're horse lovers who turn our writing to our passion, the Mighty Equine. 

As anyone who knows me knows, I've been a lover of Thoroughbred horses and horse racing since I was four.  That would make me a fan, since I celebrated my fourth birthday almost 52 years ago. 

There's no doubt in my heart--I love Thoroughbreds.  So those of you who keep track of things that aren't your business--or who are always looking for reasons to condemn other people, under the guise of "worrying" about them--don't worry, I'm good.  Love me some Thoroughbreds.    And regarding whether that love is "enough," don't worry, girls--still good.  I love Thoroughbreds, through-and-through.

But, as you also know--in the last three years, I've fallen in love with Arabian horses.  And I love Arabian horse racing, and the amazing community of people from all over the world who make it happen.  As much as I adore my peeps who do Thoroughbreds--I have to say I've never felt as welcome in the Thoroughbred world as I feel with the Arabian race horse family of lovers/owners/breeders/trainers/jocks/bloodstock agents/etc. 

I am blessed with an awesome group of friends, with whom I hang at the races--especially in Our Backstretch--I wouldn't trade them for the world.  Ad I know some dear, sweet trainers, owners, exercise riders, etc.  I am never happier than during those six weeks in August, surrounded by thousands of horses and many humans whom I adore and respect.

But the Arabian racing community welcomed me as Family from even before I met them in person.  No, really.  Every single person I've met in Arabian racing treats me like a long-lost Family member.  Hugs, kisses, gracious hospitality.  I feel like a combination rock star/beloved sister/niece/friend.  I'm not sure where I fall in the Arabian racing world--all I know is that, from the first time I extended my hand to shake an Arabian owner's hand--and got a hug, instead--never have I felt like an outsider.

I'm still learning about Arabians and the sport of racing them--but no one treats me like a newbie, or someone who can't learn the ropes.  I look forward to every Arabian race with joyous anticipation, because I know that I'll get that warm, genuinely-fuzzy, not-faux feeling of warm acceptance.

Nice feeling to know.

And that, my friends, is precisely why I started an organization for peeps like me.  

Thumbnail image for Equicurean ARABIAN HORSES RACING Credit Mats Genberg.jpgEffective immediately, the Arabian Turf Writers' Association is in session.   We have a fine example to follow:  the National Turf Writers' Association is for writers who cover Thoroughbred racing, and they do some wonderful things along the way.  (I'm not a member...yet.  Not sure how that process plays out, even.  Perhaps I'm not eligible for some reason?  Note to self:  Figure out the  NTWA, and how to join.)  

But even though I'm not-yet a member, I've attended the  New York Turf Writers' Dinners in Saratoga, and witnessed first-hand the fact that the group encourages sister-and-brotherhood among the members.  People who are wild about horse racing, and about writing about the sport.  Camaraderie with  people of like mind.  They do good for many others--horse and human, alike--AND strive with the race tracks and everyone else in the sport, to help grow the industry.

(Really, every professional sport should have organizations of people who write about the sport.  Not that I give a tiny rat's patootie about any sport that doesn't involve a horse.  Gigantic male people and a ball of some shape--but no horse?  Who cares?  Just sayin'.)


The United States Harness Writers Association, as well, covers Standardbred harness racing, and works with that industry to assure that their sport has maximum exposure.  So many well-penned articles and publications--by people who are knowledgeable and passionate about their horses and their endeavours.  Now, that, too, is what I'm talkin' about.

And then we come to Arabian horse racing.  Ironic that the oldest-extant breed of horse on Earth--the Arabian, whose countenances can be seen gracing Egyptian jars from 5,000 years ago,  the breed that has inspired millions of people for over five millenia--should not have an organized effort by writers to share the love.

One of the main jobs of writers is to inspire--someone--to do/think/do/want--something.  The National Turf Writers' Association has many members who inspire people to learn about Thoroughbreds, and the sport.  To come on out to the track, and become part of the family.  Ibid., The United States Harness Writers Association--they are helping to grow the sport of harness racing in America, by sharing their joy and the fun of harness racing with readers from all over the world.

So I sat back and looked at these things...and I Googled the heck out of various configurations of the words, and of phrases...and could not find an organization, anywhere on this blue marble we call, Earth--that addresses the need of those who write about Arabian racing, to come together as a sororo-fraternity.  And I think that is a darned shame.

It's a shame because there are many of us out there, I'll bet, who write about Arabian racing.  You may be in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sweden, Iraq, Qatar, Russia, Bahrain, Australia, the United States, Canada--or Mars.  You may have a blog, a regular column in a local newspaper or own a magazine, for which you write the majority of the content.

But whatever you're doing out there, if you're writing about Arabian horse racing--I want to know about you.  And I want you to know about me.  And I want you to be encouraged, and to do the same, for me and others.

And most of all--I want us to put our words together, and to help grow the sport of Arabian horse racing.  Yes, in man parts of the world, it has a solid foundation and centuries of followers.  And in other parts of God's Green Earth, it's still in the growing stages.  And that's cool--wherever Arabian racing is in its path, we want to help it to prosper and achieve the biggest dreams possible.

I know one thing:  if the National Turf Writers' Association states as one of its goals, that they aim to participate in the growth of Toroughbred racing--then so, too, should those of us who write about Arabian racing aim to aid this sport.   We should state as a goal that we promise to  work with race tracks, owners, breeders, bloodstock agents, jockeys, exercise riders and other media--to help enlighten the public to this beautiful sports. 

The pen can be mightier than the sword--but if the pen never is applied to paper--if the words never make it outside the writer's head and into the Universe, and the reading public's field of vision--then the words are useless, like seed falling onto rocks.

If you write about Arabian horse racing--or if you want to--I invite you to join the Arabian Turf Writers' Association.  If you love Arabian horses, and never thought of writing before--but would like to be encouraged, and perhaps to find your way in the sport as a turf writer--please come along, we will encourage you.

If you love three other breeds of horse, and follow a dozen other disciplines
--but still, Arabian racing has caught your fancy--yes, we want you to write with us, to become part of the sport.  We welcome you into our society of Arabian turf writers.

There's nothing, anywhere, that states that you can't be a rabid fan of two or more breeds of racing horse, my friends and colleagues.  I am living proof, that the heart can be wholly handed over--and passion shared--to both my beloved Thoroughbreds, and now to my treasured Arabians.  I write about Thoroughbred racing, I write about Arabian racing--and I see no conflict there.  Anyone who tells you that you must pick one is, well, acting like a 12-year-old.  

If those men I know--great writers, all--who write about Thoroughbreds until 7PM, then cross Nelson Avenue and write about harness racing 'til midnight--if they can be successful, and happy, and feeling very, very fulfilled by loving two--then so can you.

Wherever you are on the planet--if you love Arabian racing, write about them or want to--please join the Arabian Turf Writers' Association.  In the coming months, we'll elect officers for the first year; design website and all that.

But for today, we have a declaration:  the Arabian Turf Writers' Association has broken from the gate...and...we're...OFF!


P.S.  The second book in my children's series (The Alpha Mare Series) stars Alia, an Arabian horse who was born to race.  I anticipate that Alia's book will be released early in 2012.  And, yes, the heroine of my book is named for HRH Princess Alia Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, with her permission and blessing.  I did a phone interview 11 days ago with HRH Princess Alia, and am turning that into an article for the next issue of Desert Mirage magazine.  Stay Tuned for more Arabian racing stuff--and write me at

The Alpha Mare Series on Caballo Press:

Desert Mirage magazine:

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M.E. Altieri

Marion Altieri is a horse racing
life-long fan
radio show- and TV-show hostinista and
Her website, 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.


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.