Much Ado About... Saratoga

Recently in Autumn in Saratoga Springs NY Category

Dear Saratogians,

I don't want to be "that guy" anymore. 

That guy who feels all sorts of melancholy when the Saratoga meet ends.  Year after year it hits me hard, and year after year I let it.

I'm not gonna do it.

You can't make me.

You're not the boss of me and I'm just NOT going to do it.

Not anymore.

So there!

It's time I quit dreamin' and cowboy up.

Melancholy?  You go to hell.  There's too much in this town, too much in the capital region to let you stand in the way of me having a blast.

But - and there's always a big but(t) somewhere - I don't know where to begin.

I learned this summer there is so much more about Saratoga I need to explore.  So much about Saratoga I need to experience.  So much about Saratoga I have to see for myself in the autumn, in the winter and in the spring.  Not just in the summer.

But I need help.

Your help.

Where do I go?  What do you suggest I do?

When people come to Saratoga for the races folks say you must go to Siros for a drink; if you're the creative type you have to go to the Yaddo; if you have only a two-day stay make certain you breakfast at the track and take the tram tour to the barns.

But what are the "have to's" for Saratoga in autumn?

Where do I have to go to get the most glorious pictures of the leaves turning colors?  Where do I have to go to experience all the amazing stuff that the locals refer to as the town's best kept secrets?

What are the traditions of this glorious and beautiful place, rich with history and adorned with charm that I need to learn?

How can I best learn and experience them?

Saratoga, I love you.

I always have.  I always will.  Thus, I call on you to help me.  Point me where I need to go and I will forever be grateful.

I know what you know ... there's so much more to you than the greatest and most competitive thoroughbred racing on the continent.

But I don't know what you know when it comes to life outside of that.

Resigned to your wisdom, anticipating your suggestions, and hoping to understand what all of you have known for years and so many of us don't, I ask for your help.

Please comment here or email me at

~ Patrick

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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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 invite you to come back to Saratoga's 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries and a little bit about today, too.