Saratoga Horse Racing

Recently in Mare's Musings Category

A thought came to me a few minutes ago, and it's something I really must pursue.  If you're up to it, come along for the journey...
It seems that I have but three moods:  pensive,  pithy and pithed-off.

The thing that's making me both pensive and pithed-off this morning is the reality that the facts about horse racing in America are greatly exaggerated.   The Internet can be a terrible thing, and when hyper-emotional people are fed even the smallest nugget of half-truths--that small thing becomes so distorted that the original Truth no longer is visible, or even recognizable.

Obviously, I have nothing against being emotional.  I'm one of the most emotional people on the planet--especially when animals are concerned.  I cry when I kiss a horse.  I cry when my cat snuggles up to me after she's beaten me up with great satisfaction painted all over her lovely orange face.  I laugh heartily, often to the point of breathlessness.  And yes, I've been in love.

When I refer to "hyper-emotional" people--and God KNOWS I hate to generalize like this, especially against my own gender--but I've observed that  the overboarding is on the part of a middle-aged woman who has a basically good heart, but who needs to Get A Life.

Case in point:  whereas even 15 years ago, gossips depended on the phone or neighborhood chats to spread misinformation and unjustified rage--today, the one-billion-strong neighborhood of Facebook makes it possible to spread anger, lies and accusations like a contagion.  Perhaps the place should be renamed, Facebola...

Anyone who knows me knows that when something bugs me, I must express it or I'll explode, leaving shrapnel everywhere.

I don't want to explode, so I'll get right to it.  Let's start at the beginning of this phenomenon:  In October, 2007, I attended the races at Keeneland for the first time.

As we drove onto the property, my friend, Clay Robinson, explained a vision that confused me: acres and acres of young people (early, mid-20s), tailgating on the rolling hills of the property.

Young women, clad in dresses that barely covered What God Gave 'Em and stiletto heels, accentuating the length of their legs.  Young men who thought they looked special because they had donned Madras Bermuda shorts with their bow ties and navy-blue jackets.

Funny thing was, of course, that none of them looked special:  regardless of colors or patterns, they all looked the same.  

This, Clay explained, was a strange mating ritual, as predictable as the sun rising that morning...
Dear Mucho Macho Man,

This is just one of 30,000 letters you'll receive from admirers--don't worry, big boy, I don't expect you to write back.  You have fans from all over the world, and I'm just one little person who loves you.  But even though your new stall at Adena Springs is probably covered in cards and gifts, still I feel compelled to write to you and tell you how your life and journey have affected my own.

You just retired from horse racing, and I wish you well.  You turned six in June--you've raced for over half your life to-date,and you earned your way into the pantheon of Great Horses.  I wept buckets when I read the news, and sporadically through the night every time I read your name.  It was as if water was just falling out of my eyes, with no shut-off valve.

I had to sit down and pinpoint the reason why I'm so touched by this announcement.

First, I don't want to be selfish:  I wish you a beautiful life working at Adena Springs, and many perfect, swift babies to carry on your legacy.  Perhaps one day I'll be able to buy one of them, and have a bit of you for my very own.  Of course, for me to be able to buy a 3M baby would mean that my own career would soar.  And that is where our life paths cross:  my life and your true legacy, Macho.  (May I call you, "Macho"?)  

The reason for my crying is entirely selfish:  you've been a partner to me during life's ups and downs for several years now, and I am so sad to lose you...

Like so many of those who find themselves in the category,  nouveau riche, the comedy team of Martin and Coburn (Perry Martin and Steve Coburn)  are struggling with both their new-found fame and figuring out how to juggle that fame with fortune and the ownership of a wonderful Thoroughbred.   

California Chrome earned a boatload of cash for them, and like drunken sailors on shore leave--they don't know when to stop.

In fact, it appears that they can't get enough of the stupidity, 'cause they keep on opening their yaps and sticking their big-ole cowboy boots in 'em.  You don't need me to recap the events that have led us to today--everyone even vaguely connected to horse racing knows the tail of the tale. But you might enjoy my take on the poo-storm, and the solution to the problem that we're going to call...Muck Dynasty...
Sometimes I have the memory of a fruitfly.  Hence, I cannot recall if I've already shared this with you, my dear readers.

If I have--ah, well.  
If not--I hope that this little tale blesses you in some way.

With the Saratoga meet--and with it, the Travers--upon us, I feel compelled to share.

Last year, I wrote this article, which was destined to become part of equine photographer, Juliet Harrison's new coffee table book,"Track Life:  Images and Words."  I've always been grateful that Juliet asked me to contribute a Saratoga memory, because this particular thought came to mind.

Sans further ado, here it is.  I hope you like it...

My mind has been all a-whirl during the last two weeks.  Every day as I work to outline the articles in my Belmont Journal and get them online, I remember something else that happened during Belmont Stakes Week, or someone else I met.  I don't want to omit a single moment or encounter.  I want to tell y'all all about it.

But one thing sticks out in my mind this morning--something about Belmont Stakes Day, itself.  This is a thought from which I cannot escape and so I must write about it today, here, now: 

Horse Racing should be the most popular sport in America--in the world--if for no other reason than that it's the most financially and emotionally accessible sport on Earth...

It's Preakness Day, 2014.  Every turf writer worth her/his salt has written ad infinitum about California Chrome--his Triple Crown bid--and the "nerve" of Ria Antonia,daring to "take on the boyz."

I have absolutely nothing to contribute to Preakness-themed conversations, except for my rant here a few days ago about sexism in American horse racing. So what shall I write today?

Sometimes topics happen, and we writerly folks have to paddle quickly to accommodate a story that must be told.  Sadly, is one of those times...

As I write this, NBC Sports' coverage of 2014 Black-Eyed Susan Day has commenced.  

Much to my joy and blessing, they kicked off the coverage at 3PM (Eastern/New York Time) with the vid of Queen Rachel Alexandra's awesome victory in the Preakness Stakes on May 16, 2014.  I wasn't necessarily expecting to see that race--at least not at that moment.  (I hope they show it again tomorrow, on Preakness Stakes' Day.)

Perhaps my strong reaction was the result of my surprise.  Or maybe it's deeper than that...maybe it's Love...
Today it was announced that Thoroughbred, Ria Antonia, will race in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.  The first thought that went through my head was, "Aw, jeez.  Here it comes..."

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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.