Editor’s Note: For the big events – such as Thursday, July 20th’s Siro’s Cup – we bring the big team. And this is what big looks like:
In this case, we had a nice preview story from Mandy Mittler (see:
her July 16 post). Here are some dispatches and perspectives from Carrie Rowlands Johnson, Lisa Champagne, and myself. – AG
Rated E For Excellent – And For Everyone!
Carrie Rowlands Johnson
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A slight bit of pressure hits the inside of my arch with each step. I look down at the strappy tan leather sandals wrapping my feet, the pop of pink on my toenails peeking through. They weren’t my first choice of shoes for tonight, but they are a pleasant compromise between not-terribly-uncomfortable and neutrally attractive. I quickly glance across the venue. Right now, about an hour in, shoulders rub shoulders and an “excuse me” means squeezing sideways and elbowing your way through the crowd. I breathe a small sigh of relief as I realize, my shoes will be all but invisible tonight, as expected.
At this point, I don’t even notice shoulder after shoulder bumping my arm, my head, my own shoulder, depending on the passerby’s height compared to my 5’8”. My attention IS, however, snagged by multitudes of varying blues, pinks, yellows, whites, reds, greens and blacks; the fabric sometimes barely covering legs, arms, breasts— sometimes pleasingly, sometimes… not.
A horse and pony show might be a fairly blunt but accurate description of this scene. Most women spend hours, days ahead of time prepping. There are finger and toe nails to polish, facials to schedule, eyelashes to install, hair to highlight and coif, dresses to buy (or dry clean), the glow of a tan to absorb (or have sprayed on), cleanses to experience, hot yoga (for detoxing) to engage in, accessories to assemble and makeup to be expertly apply. (Do you men realize all of this? Do tell, do you perhaps even partake in the preparation?)
Just about every woman (and maybe a man or two, based on our not-so-expert observations) partakes in at least some combination of this a la carte beautification menu… and for good reason. Tonight is Siro’s Cup, THE annual event held every Thursday before Friday’s opening day of the Saratoga Horse Racing Season. Cameras flash, numbers are exchanged, the dance floor is open and conversations stretch into after-parties.
Any night, and especially tonight, Siro’s is the place to see and be seen… socialites from Saratoga marking it on their calendars a year in advance; Albanians booking limos and Ubers and caravanning up the Northway; Long Islanders and out-of-staters booking hotel rooms. Starting tonight, and for the next 7.5 weeks, Saratogians open our streets, our restaurants and our hearts in a great big welcome to the rest of the Capital Region, the state, the country… the world. And tonight, here at Siro’s, we celebrate the unofficial kickoff.
Marylou Whitney holds court under the front tent; the Lia’s limo up from Albany in their fashionable finest; politicians and athletes and jockeys and business owners network.
This party is not exclusive. Anyone with enough money left on his credit card is welcome to buy a ticket. And really, isn’t that why we are all here? Aside from the fluff and finery and finesse, we are all here to support what we all acknowledge is a more-than-worthwhile cause, The Center for Disability Services (C4DS). Anne Costigan and Beth Nichols Hesse, now personal friends of mine, are the fine organizers of this monumental event every summer, Siro’s Cup now in its’ twenty-forth year running.
If you can’t make it, please don’t diss it. All are welcome. Put it on your calendar for next year and save your pennies. I promise, in spite of the gawkers and the gaudy, it’s a fabulous event, worthy of the primping. You may bump into your next BFF or at the very least… an ex-boyfriend or two. 😉 Happy Racing Season, all!
A Fashion Trifecta
Siro’s Cup is perhaps my favorite event of the summer. I once again join the masses who flock to Saratoga the eve of “opening day” ready to celebrate the highly anticipated horse racing season and to help raise money for a very important cause—Center for Disability. Siro’s Cup is a Saratoga tradition. It has been going strong for twenty-four years and its arrival means high season has officially begun in Spa City.
Outside the party luxury cars line the sidewalks as the very best dressed nudge their way inside. Cocktails flowed and music by the Electric City Horns kept everybody moving. Of course, the belle of the ball is and ALWAYS will be Marylou Whitney (I need to get that straight for any millennials reading my blog.) As for fashion, Saratoga summer parties are a mecca of sorts for gals like myself who love dressing up and appreciate a beautiful party dress and fantastically pulled-together look. The guys were no exception this go around. I’d gladly place a bet that none of you will disagree with some of my best dressed favorites…
Welcome Back, My Friends – To the Show That Never Ends!
A proper dateline for this event would be along the lines of: TOKYO (AT RUSH HOUR). Such is the popularity of the Siro’s Cup as it approaches a quarter century of support for The Center For Disability Services. If crowds are your thing, welcome to heaven!
But taking things down to a human level, Siro’s Cup means that Siro’s is open for fun until Labor Day. To me, I get jazzed when I have the pleasurable opportunity to renew acquaintances with some of my favorite people. Like these folks:
Andrea J. behind the front bar. I sometimes run into her off-season, as she involves herself with many causes and events. particularly relating to Autism awareness. But Siro’s Cup means I will be getting a 6+ week or so mega-dose of her unflappable good nature. If she can’t cheer you up after blowing the late trifecta, no one can!
And then we have these icons – No one rocks the beret with more style than Jimmy Parker. And then we have Mr. Davis. If hospitality had a poster person, he’d be it! Has been at Siro’s before the beginning, worked in various capacities including management, and is so incredibly affable and popular I doubt they will ever let him go. You can see him taking turns behind the restaurant’s inside bar. Looking good, gents!
These are but three prominent examples why people come to Siro’s year after year; and why they remain the standard of excellence in many categories, including the hard-to-define, but I-know-it-when-I-see-it “Must Be Seen At” destination.
Each year at Siro’s Cup C4DS honors a member of the Racing Community and this year they got a big star in his prime. Javier Castellano will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, at Fasig-Tipton, on August 4. Javier and wife Abby were given a portrait of Javier aboard of one of his favorite mounts… with 4,000+ trips to the Winner’s Circle – and counting (!) – he certainly had plenty of choices. Classy and nice.
Lastly, let me support and amplify Carrie’s thoughts about Anne Costigan and Beth Nichols Hesse. Considering all the massive logistics of Siro’s Cup – massive people, massive food, massive agenda, massive etc. – how they manage to stay calm and robustly cheerful throughout this mega-event is beyond me. This attitude extends to the staff of volunteers, and dovetails well with Siro’s superior service ethic.
I had a lot of great choices for this posts’ cover photo – but after shooting this last one at the end of the night – there really was no choice:
As Siro’s Cup will have a big anniversary (25) – next year, I’d like to propose that Anne and Beth be co-recognized and honored, alongside next year’s member of the racing community. There is no one more deserving, these two occupy a “Winner’s Circle” all their own.
Posted July 23, 2017