Saratoga Horse Racing

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What's a wither?  

To most people, "wither" is a verb, and means, to become dry and shrivel.

To horse people, a horse's withers are the highest point of a horse's shoulders.

Dock? Hock?  Fetlock?

Do you know that the equine eye is the largest of any land mammal?

Gary Contessa ROI story Marion E. Altieri 2.jpg
If these words and factoid are news to you--you need to Get Thee to Gary's Barn...

If you're a fan of Boston-based artist, Brian Fox--obviously, you are an insightful soul, one who appreciates beauty, power and spirit.

If you're not-yet a fan of the world-renowned artist--well, first I wonder where the heck you've been for the last 10 years.  But that's OK, I'll cut you some slack this time.

And fret not--during this Saratoga meet, you'll have ample opportunities to get to know Brian and his art--in print, in an historic Saratoga restaurant and in person...

So, Bubby, you feeling a little sorry for yourself and your family, because there's no NYRA Open House this year?   (The Open House would have been this coming Sunday, July 19th. Always the Sunday before Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course.)

So, no Open House. Wah.  That's great, because God--Who always makes A Way, where there seems to be No Way--has provided another opportunity for you to be on-campus at our regal Queen of Race Courses the weekend prior to Opening Day!  

AND, instead of just stuffing faces with hot dogs and cotton candy, this experience will give you the opportunity to stuff your heart and soul with beautiful visual, olfactory and aural memories.  You can sit on the legendary Clubhouse Porch.  Watch the gorgeous horses working out in that oft-praised, Saratoga Sunrise. Hear the sounds of the horses breathing: "Huh-huh-huh," and laying down those golden hooves...

What do you and Marylou Whitney, Virginia Kraft Payson and Beverly (Peggy) Steinman have in common?  "Nothing," you say?

On what is based your Jump to Conclusion?  The fact that those three ladies all are monied, storied and not of your social element?   Might it be that you've never seen Mrs. Whitney in Pizza Hut?  (It happens that I have.)  Or Peggy Steinman in the Shake Shack line at the track?

Well, OK.  So you haven't shared a burger with Ms. Steinman in the past...but you can have lunch with her in the very near future.  The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation and Shelters of Saratoga--both absolutely worthy organizations--will benefit from this year's edition of the Fashionable Fillies Luncheon in Saratoga on Monday, July 27th. 

And you can be there.  Oh, yes, you can.
Calendar entry:

Two can't-miss screenings in one:

Secretariat's Jockey, Ron Turcotte and Penny and Red, the Life of Secretariat's Owner

THIS Sunday (August 24) at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.  VIP reception prior with Secretariat's jockey, Ron Turcotte and other racing celebrities. 

The evening will benefit two wonderful, worthy organizations:  the Secretariat Center at the Kentucky Horse Park--founded by Penny Chenery, herself--and my favorite museum in the world, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

6PM, VIP Reception
7PM, Screenings, Q&A

Tickets are $50 for VIP reception and screenings, $20 for screenings alone.
Get your tickets ASAP, folks.  This is the only Saratoga/upstate New York screening of these two extraordinary films.

For more information: 

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame:
(518) 584-0040

For more information, and to purchase tickets:

Be there, or be forced to listen to your friends talk about it for the entire next month.


If you're in Saratoga this weekend, and in the near-future, you have a rare opportunity, indeed.

Unlike horse racing fans in New York City--Long Island--Western New York or the Southern Tier--you can go to the movies, and see "50-to-1," the beautiful film about Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird.

I think it's interesting that Saratoga is the only place where the film will be shown.  Of course, this is a horse racing town, and this is the meet with more Grade 1 races than any other track on Earth.

That translates to kabillions of horse race fans swarming like fleas on a dog into the streets of Saratoga Springs at the end of every racing day.  (Hence my aversion for downtown  Saratoga during racing season.  I don't do crowds.  Of humans.)

But you, my friends--you have the golden opportunity before you to catch this lush film before it moseys out of town...

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow evening, Thursday, July 31, the New York Division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, will host their annual basketball game in Saratoga.

Admission is free--there's really no excuse for race fans not to attend and support the efforts of this wonderful group...
I'm very excited about the series, "Guests in the Gallery" hosted by Jeff Carle.  The interview sessions--which I suspect will feel a great deal like "Actors' Studio"--will take place at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Tuesdays during the 2014 Saratoga meet at 11AM.  

Tuesdays, as you probably know, are "dark" days--meaning that there's no racing across the street at Saratoga Race Course.  These dark days give race fans a day to breathe, sleep in or--if you're like most race fans--to move like moths to light bulbs toward anything that feeds your addiction to our intoxicating sport.  The rest of the year you can do other things during your free days--but on these glorious few days of the Saratoga racing season, of course you crave the company of other horse-obsessed people and the intimacy of our racing community.

What better way to spend an hour or so of your dark Tuesday than at the Racing Museum witnessing an interview of historic proportion...
I won't say that internationally-renowned artist, Brian T.Fox,doesn't do anything small. He's told me that he does have a series of smaller works. Tiny, compared with those to which I am used.

But when I think of Brian's art, I think of BIG.  I mean,really BIG.

Brian T. Fox and Wise Dan.JPG
I believe that the explanation for this is simple:  Brian is 6'5," and to him, a 6' x 5' painting probably looks "just right."


But seriously,folks--in the most real way, BIG = Powerful.  And the horses whom Brian has painted--like the human athletes,actors and rock stars he's painted--are nothing if not powerful. 

Some of Brian's most powerful Thoroughbred works to-date will grace the walls of Saratoga's most famous restaurant,Siro's, for this racing season.  They're...well...I shan't go on. Instead, I'll ask you to read the press release that I wrote--all the information is in there.

And if you find yourself aching to purchase one of these magnificent, limited edition artist's proof giclees--act fast.  When Brian says that they're "limited  edition," he doesn't mean that 300 of them are floating around. They're gorgeous,and powerful and will add spirit to your home and life.  If you can get to Siro's,seek them out.  In the meantime, have fun cruising around Brian's website:

Have a great summer, friends:  if you're a media person, please feel free to rip this press release and photos right out and use them for your publication, etc.  And if any of you realize that you're a race fan who's joined the ranks of Brian T.Fox fans--please,drop me a line. I'd love to hear your story, of falling in love with his exquisitely powerful brand of equine art...
You like lunch, right?

You love Saratoga, especially during racing season, yes?

If you're like me, most of your days at the exquisite Saratoga Race Course are spent dressing caj, hanging with your usual posse of associates.  

Nothin' wrong with that:  a perfectly fine way to spend the race meet.

But if you're also like me, now and then you like to mix it up, donning a pretty sundress, strappy sandals and your favorite summer lipstick.  Maybe even a fabulous new hat.

Or you may be a well-heeled lady, for whom every day at the races does mean looking snappy and sitting in the Clubhouse.  Whichever your usual gig, you're invited to come together on a balmy July day to celebrate the Year of the Horse and to help others who need you.  

This, my friends, is a wonderful opportunity:  enjoy a delicious lunch--bid on singularly-lovely items in a silent auction, and in the process--help raise money which will change the lives of others...

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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.