Saratoga Horse Racing

Horse Sense: July 2009 Archives

Dakota Pony 1.JPGOn the eve of the 2009 Saratoga race meet, it's easy to get caught up in the cacophony because, while the pace is hectic--it's the most fun sort of hectic into which the human soul can be thrust.  For me--and others of like mind--this joyous madness begins way back in mid-April, when the Thoroughbreds first start to move back to Saratoga from their winter "snow bird" perches. 

Forget the First Saturday in May:  each day that brings us closer to The Last Wednesday in July finds the decibels in our heads growing louder:  every minute that ticks by, we become more and more crazy with joy.  The horses are our rock stars:  the Sallee and Brook Ledge vans, their buses filled with potential. 

The weeks leading up to the meet is a time of wild planning, as NYRA prepares to move an entire corporation north for six weeks.  This is a monumental feat--talk about being organized:  basically, NYRA moves Belmont Park up to Saratoga for a month-and-a-half.  In the midst of this packing frenzy is the necessity of being uber-together, to assure that not one paper clip or betting voucher misses its ride up the Northway.

The Saratoga meet is like a big, wild-eyed vacation for hundreds of thousands of people and animals who, just last week--may not have known each other.  But if you're a fan of this sport, you trek to Mecca once a year to pay your respects, renew acquaintances and bow to the pari-mutuel windows.  For six weeks every year, everyone is a friend or at least a potential temporary confidant.  It's difficult to keep your head on straight...while this is good madness--it's madness, nonetheless.  How to get Zen and stay there? 



I have two friends of whom I am very fond, Bella and Madeline.  Both are uniquely beautiful:  Bella, a dark, sleek brunette, and Bella Attrice Sticking Her Neck Out.JPGMadeline, a beautiful redhead, have a lot in common.  Both are professional athletes.  Both are big, strapping girls with large, dark eyes.  Bella is a bit older than Madeline, but both are equally fit, sculpted and perfect-of-face.

My two friends are very dear to me, as they're not afraid to express their emotions openly, to wear their hearts on their proverbial sleeves.  They love deeply, give their opinons loudly and put their entire beings into their jobs.

Bella is better known as Bella Attrice; Madeline is Catty Madeline, and both are, of course, Thoroughbreds.

These two may very well know each other, but one thing I know for sure is that they share a life motto:  "Stick Your Neck Out"...

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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.