Saratoga Horse Racing

M.E. Altieri: April 2010 Archives

Full Moon.jpgIt was  one of those nights, when I couldn't get to sleep because my brain was working overtime with things I needed to write.  And when I say, "need," I don't mean just deadlines for pieces for which I will be paid.  I mean, "need," as in, "I need chocolate"; "I need a fix"; "Yo te necesito."

Writers need to write like riders need to ride.

I may have been caffeinecrazy:  I knew what I wanted to say but couldn't settle down enough to get it on the proverbial page before me.  I was just plain exhausted:  the words were in my head, but refused to translate through my digits.

Last night I had so much to write that I didn't know where to start.  There are things before me which should be read and edited for others.  There are blogs to write; marketing peripherals to hammer out and editorial content concepts that I want to get down on paper before they fly like a vapor out of my brain and into the air.

So I simply went to sleep, knowing that the words would present themselves to me after Morpheus had cast his spell over me.  I write best in my head, in my lucid-dreaming space.

I wrote a bit last night after I found sleep, but even better--I got organized in that netherland.  I awoke at 6:11AM with the full list, and ready to rock on it.  Even my Palm, without which I cannot move, isn't as organized as my brain on sleep's deep drug.

I awoke knowing that I wanted to write something about the Kentucky Derby--it is upon us, two days hence, you know.  I didn't want to write the statistics, predictions or other yawners.  I knew there was a tale to tell, and, sure enough, it presented itself to me during the night.

Here it is.  Today's offering is Part One, a two-part series which will conclude tomorrow.  One topic:  females in my Life and their Kentucky Derby experiences--and how those experiences touched my being, and have brought me to today.  I would not be a racing essayist without any one of these females, and the influence, encouragement or inspiration.  Sans further ado,  I present, "Every Day is 'Women's Day' in Racing":

S/he who has mastery of language has a tremendous advantage over those for whom language is difficult.  Language is power, and don't you dare think otherwise.  Every day we either raise ourselves or condemn ourselves by the language we use:  how many times have you heard yourself saying, "I can't," or "I'm just--"?  Do you realize the impact of those phrases?

If you believe that you can't do something, or that you're "just" something--then you are right.  You can't do anything that your heart believes is impossible.  And if you believe in your heart that you're "just"  ("Just a woman," "Just a small-time trainer")--then that is precisely what you are, the smallest of your species.

But if you can look yourself in the mirror and state that you can do something that may seem to be impossible or even ridiculous to your detractors--you have power.  And you may not achieve that huge thing--but the result will be a lot closer to the goal than if you started out thinking that you shouldn't even try.

There's no shame in not making the goal:  there is shame in not even trying...

It's Sunday morning, and, as I sit, coffee mug in-hand and waiting to truly awaken, a report on Good Morning America pierced my blurry morning reverie.

The GMA reporter (whose name evades me, forgive, please:  really, the synapses are not firing this morning for things like specific names of humans)--the reporter was in Iceland, reporting on the power of the volcano that is in the throes of foaling gas, glass and rocks.  Because of its location, strategically perched on the upper half of the world, and on the Gulf Stream--this volcano is wreaking havoc in European and American airports, as the plume of poisonous junk is preventing planes from taking off or landing--in effect, stranding millions of travelers and effecting the economies of each country as the airlines lose billions of dollars.

We rarely think about something like a volcano, and how it may change Life as we know it.  It's a major inconvenience.  But it is more than that:  as economies suffer from this present belching of the Earth, many lives will be touched as prices rise and many nations struggle to recover from the domino effect caused by this event.

But no one is more at peril from the heaving and blowing of the Icelandic volcano than the Icelandic Horses who are stranded in the Restricted Zone.Thumbnail image for Icelandic Horses Photo.jpg

The emboldened reporter, accompanied by an official guide in (that which I hope was) a safe, Hummer-like vehicle--drove straight into the Restricted Zone, where the blues skies of the rest of Iceland surrended and become a sickening shade of  yellowish-brown, then black, as they drove closer to the foul-mouthed monster pustule on the head of the Earth.

 

 

 

 

"The wind of Heaven is that which blows through a horse's ears."

So goes an ancient Arabic proverb.  Truer words have ne'er been spoken.


No pretty pictures in this article, although I'm tempted to post at least one, that of the two yearling colts on Robbie Davis' Saratoga farm.  They zeroed in, and threatened to inhale my cell phone camera last year.  Their big, twitching noses descended on my little phone  like a wet suit.  It's a cute picture, funny, even.  But humor isn't what I'm going for here, so this article will be all black-and-white.  Virtual ink on untouchable paper.

This musing is about spirit, and emotion.  I ask that you join me on this journey, and allow your imagination to engage the camera in your mind--remember that, the camera in your mind?  The one that takes words and translates them into images, colors and visuals that may mean something to you, alone?   Please read, inhale, ingest--allow words that may appeal to you to wash over you, and seep into your pores.  Let them find their way to that part of your brain that conjures pictures--especially when you really need to escape from the mundane.  There's nothing mundane about soulful experiences, and yet soul is found every day, in the very mundane--if we go silent and allow ourselves to become quiet enough to experience it.

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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.