As I drive to and from the Saratoga Rowing Association boathouse or to Global Foundries, or to Albany, I see them.
Everyday, as the April 12th, 2012 date approaches, I see them coming.
Horse trailers. The meet is coming.
Thursday begins spring training with the opening of the historic Oklahoma Training Track. It's 144th exercise season.
Beautiful thoroughbreds practice 6 to 11 a.m. daily.
The 2012 meet begins Friday, July 20th. Forty racing days. Ending Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.
So much anticipation. The beginning of everything racing, especially to those who live around the track.The excitement penetrates your very being.
You smell it, feel it in your bones and see it everywhere you go.
Roads clog, some people get annoyed but for me, it is heaven.
People who you don't see for a year suddenly reappear. New faces. My face is one of those relatively new ones and, so for me, personally, this is one of the most exciting times to live right smack dab in the middle of Saratoga Springs, New York.
When the stalls open for these go fast machines with hearts and souls, the daily equestrian world bustles with energy. The region doubles, then triples and, eventually, quadruples the number of people as well as thoroughbred horses.
The thrill returns in a way only those who live in the area understand. The surge of excitement fills the air. The fun and hard work truly begins in earnest.
You see the workers prepping the stalls, the race course staff with an extra bounce in their step and the neighborhoods springing into action raking their yards preparing for the onslaught of visitors.
The restaurants, shops and businesses build up staff as the frenzy of people start visiting each day as the season approaches. A newness to life everyday.
Saratoga Springs has a heartbeat that is never feint, but now it starts to beat harder, faster and with more enthusiasm, just like a two year old breezing around the track racing for the finish line.
Those who make their life at the track will be happy to know that the morning air, this year, at the start, is just a tad bit warmer than during springs past.
That's good, I suppose, but those cold days usually meant the warmth and, soon to be, hot mornings would come later. No snow pack to melt or not much rain so far this year may mean a dust bowl, dry winds and a much warmer ride during their early morning exercises.
So far, not a muddy affair. But, concern about fires could be an issue if we do not get more rain. It just poured as I am writing this but not for long. The fires in downstate New York and New Jersey hopefully will not be an issue here. All the stables are made of wood. The Saratoga Fire crews know what I am talking about; hoping for the best but always prepare for what could be the worse.
Putting those concerns aside, I cannot tell you how the NYRA press announcement Tuesday simply sent a tingle of excitement straight up my spine.
Think about it: 149 years of race in Saratoga Race Course is but a mere 14 weeks away.
Go watch the 6 am light exercise training from the fences. See the stables fill up as horse trailer after horse trailer arrives from far and wide; eager to make Saratoga their home for the coming months.
I live within walking distance and since I am an early riser I anticipate a cup of coffee in one hand and a set of binoculars in the other to see the 2 and 3 year old horses as they make their way around Oklahoma.
A big welcome back to all the thoroughbreds, trainers, exercise riders, backstretch workers from everyone here in Saratoga!