Much Ado About... Saratoga

Planning a New Saratoga Tradition

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So, this is it.  One last week of the 2010 Saratoga Race Course race meet and I can feel the dread of the finale on Monday as I write this.

Man, I hate that feeling.

As usual, it all went by so quickly.  It feels like only days ago I was writing about the anticipation and pleasures that come from a fresh new start at The Spa complimented by reminders of her interminable traditions.

Fortunately, Saratoga held true to her values of tradition, upsets and longshots.  She even played a part or two in making some personal dreams come true.  My Stacy and her Runaway Jim played a larger role in that of course.

On July 19 I wrote there isn't one thing I love most about Saratoga
, however there are two things I could not live without.

First, the early mornings, especially when dawn begins to break.

Few people on the streets.  A quiet village.  The proverbial pitter-patter of hoofs crossing Union Avenue.  Just lovely.

The second is juvenile, but no less important.  Saratoga allows me to be a kid again.  

I used to think I was going to be a jockey.  Mom and Dad told me I had no shot.  I'd be too big.  How in blazes would they know what I was going to be like in 10 years?  They couldn't decide on dinner that night but my future was that clear to them?

Well, once again they were right.  At greater than six feet tall and 200-and-don't-you-worry-about-how-much-more-than-that-pounds, there was no hope of me donning the silks of Calumet Farm.

But maybe it's time to begin a new tradition?

Yes, the racing season will come to a close.  Yes, I am not looking forward to it by any measure.

But the truth is, the race meet would not be the greatest stage in racing, would it, were it not for its surroundings?

This town is so full and rich with history, stories, memories, and incomparable beauty why should it be held to only a six-week stand?

A benefit in moving east after seven years in the Pacific Northwest is the proximity of the most wonderful town in the world.  A mere 200 mile drive and I've left reality behind and am in heaven on earth.

In a matter of weeks, as the seasons change, these magnificent oaks, elms and maple trees that give us the breath of life will redecorate the foothills of the Adirondacks with the most brilliant colors.

Perhaps a weekend in the end of September or early October would be in order?

Camera in hand, batteries fully charged, and a full tank of gas, it is time to experience Saratoga Springs as I haven't before.  In a more temperate setting, sans traffic jams and throngs of people, when the beauty of autumn returns.

Yes, when the racing season comes to an end on Monday next I will be as disappointed as I always have.  But change is good.  

Autumn in Saratoga.

A new anticipation.

A new tradition.

A new love for Saratoga Springs, NY.

I can't help but imagine how beautiful she'll be.

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Great article and thoroughly enjoyed all your writings! Lord willing, we'll be back at the Spa next August. Hope you continue your writings!

Many thanks for the kind words Gene. The are greatly appreciated, I assure you.

I will keep blogging here on Saratoga.com in the off season; mostly racing stuff though. I am planning several day trips in the off season to experience Saratoga in ways I never have before.

If you make it North next year do let me know. If I am headed that way to I'd like to meet and say hello.

Patrick

How is it possibly September already?

Patrick, I echo Gene's thoughts, your articles (and Jim) have been fun to follow all season. I would like to think that next season I could get up to Saratoga and let the boys take in the track. They love the horses, but then when they are force fed either TVG or HRTV for at least two hours a day, I guess that is bound to happen. I would also love it if the Mrs. and I could do breakfast on the backstretch. I hear it is an experience.

Keep up the good work and glad to see this blog will continue all season. Cheers my friend.

Jason,

Cheers to you too, mate. this has been an amazing time and I have enjoyed writing (and researching) the historical pieces. I have found great joy in opening up about my true life experiences as well. The whole gig has been a blast. I can't wait to see Saratoga in the fall, and winter and spring too. A great benefit to moving back east, for sure.

Breakfast at the track and the trolly backstretch tour is the very best way to spend a morning at Saratoga. Bar none.

Of course, pastry's and danish from Mrs. London's and sitting in Congress Park isn't too bad either.

As I mentioned to Gene, please let me know when you come up. Would love to meet your bride and your boys.

Be well...oh, and Jim is racing on Saturday. Ready the vomit bag, and alert all anxiety medications cause here I come! LOL

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Patrick Kerrison

While most American men of Patrick's generation grew up talking to their Dad about baseball and the likes of Mantle, Ford, Berra and DiMaggio, he and his father covered the racing beat and talked of Ruffian, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and John Henry.

The son of a newspaperman, Patrick spent his summers a "spoiled" child, but not in the traditional sense. Spoiled because his August months were spent at Saratoga Race Course watching the best the game ever offered.

Breakfast in the mornings, races in the afternoons and the occasional party when kids were welcomed in the evenings, he has lived a privileged childhood. For better than 10 years Patrick worked in varied frontside positions in racing, "living the dream" as he calls it.

Today at age 41, he reverts back to his life as an eight year old with the same passion and love for the town of Saratoga he always had, but with the perspective of an adult. His appreciation for her history and his desire to go back in time revives every summer, while never forgetting the glorious life he lives today. Patrick and Saratoga.com invite you to come back to Saratoga's 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries and a little bit about today, too.