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Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty

General Manager Robin Mitchell

Creative Consultant Chris Vallone Bushee

Creative Director Samantha Simek

Advertising Design Morgan Rook

Advertising Sales Jim Daley Cindy Durfey

Contributing Writers Polo

Alan Edstrom


Mark Bardack Dennis G. Hogan Pat McKenna L.A. Pomeroy Megin Potter Maureen Werther

Photographers Polo

Jordan Craig Dan Heary Ann MacAffer Cliff Oliver


City of Bowie Museums DGH Photo Matt Goins Susie Raisher John Seymour The New England Carousel Museum

Published by

Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (518) 581-2480 Equicurean is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by a ny means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2017, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper

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Contents sie Cover photo by Su


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Man o' War We want to give a big “Thank You” to local

resident and former NFL Star, Bob Reed, who was instrumental in connecting us with Greg Harbut and his wonderful story about his connection to the great Man o’ War.

Fasig -Tipton, 2016 Results William Woodward Legacy... The Master of Belair Local handicapper Paul Matties, hits it big… really big!


Meet Melvin White, AKA: Bow… A Saratoga Staple

30 34 38 44 46 48 48

Looking for the perfect Saratoga souvenir?

May we suggest Equine Art… on your wine bottle!


Saratoga TODAY’s Restaurant Guide. Head to Congress Park for the PAINTED PONIES ThoroFan awards Equestricon’s debut! And WHY you’re all here… Saratoga Race Course National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame When you’re all done with this side of the magazine, FLIP to see the other side!

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“I am Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” That is how Greg Harbut describes the place he has carved out for himself in the world of Thoroughbred racing. Those giants include a grandfather, a great-grandfather and the legendary



reg Harbut, owner of Harbut Bloodstock Agency, is making a name for himself as an expert in the international Thoroughbred market. At age 32, he has gained a reputation for his canny analysis and prediction of successful racehorses and sires. Harbut specializes in international markets, focusing on top tier breeding stock, racehorse management, and identifying racing talent. Since he began Harbut Bloodstock Agency in 2011, he has been responsible for the purchase of fifteen Grade 1 winning or producing breeding stock acquisitions.

While Greg’s accomplishments are significant on their own, his back story makes his early career success even more compelling. Greg is the grandson of Tom Harbut, a prominent African American horseman, and the great-grandson of Will Harbut, best known as groom to the indomitable Man o’ War. Tom Harbut grew up caring for the horses and mules at his family’s home in Maddoxtown, Kentucky, eventually going on to work with Thoroughbreds. At one point in his career, he was exercise rider for War Admiral, the fourth winner of the Triple Crown.

Tom went on to become Stallion Manager for Henry Guggenheim at Spendthrift Farm In Lexington, Kentucky, and he worked with elite Thoroughbreds associated with Elizabeth Arden and movie producer Louie B. Mayer. He also bred and owned the racehorse, Touch Bar, who participated in the 1962 Kentucky Derby. This was an unheard-of accomplishment for an African American man amidst the volatile and often violent civil rights era. Of course, Tom had already been involved in the world of Thoroughbreds growing up with his father, Will Harbut. For Will, being groom to Man o’ War was the best

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job of his life. Will, who was one generation removed from slavery and started out with nothing, became known as guardian at the gate to Man o’ War. In 1941, a photograph of Will and Man o’ War graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Of course, it was still the Jim Crow era and the Harbut family was not immune to the indignities suffered by black people. But Will believed in hard work and devotion to one’s faith – qualities his great-grandson, Greg Harbut, values and lives by today. Will and Man o’War were inseparable. If a horse could speak, Man o’ War probably would have finished Will’s sentences for him. As it was, Will told the story of the mighty chestnut stallion every day for 20 years to visitors at Faraway Farm, where Man o’ War retired to stud after his historic career.

“I knew from an early age that I wanted Will Harbut died on October 3, 1947 after to spend time with horses, and I consider suffering a stroke. Less than one month later, myself so lucky to be able to earn a living his faithful companion and soul mate of the doing something that I love. I am grateful past 20 years walked into his stall, laid down for people like my grandfather and greatand never got up again. grandfather, who paved the way for African For Greg Harbut, growing up with such Americans to succeed in this industry.” towering role models, who accomplished That doesn’t mean Greg just skipped over things that were rare for African Americans the hard stuff. He has done just about every at the time, inspired Greg to pursue his job there is in Thoroughbred racing, from dreams and continue his family’s legacy. mucking stalls to walking and exercising Greg calls Thoroughbred racing a part of his horses, to being involved in the selection genetic make-up. His passion for horses and and breeding process. During college, he for the sport began when he was a child. tried for and was awarded a two-year

management-training program to cultivate future leaders in the industry. After the program, Greg spent three years gaining invaluable experience as Director of International Client Development for the Stallion Company. In 2011, Greg decided to take the leap and go out on his own. He created Harbut Bloodstock Agency and he has never looked back. Greg’s record of successes speaks for itself and he has built a reputation as being a “Mare” man. Greg looks forward to spending time in Saratoga each summer. “Being here allows me to see lots of fillies and mares on the track and talk with trainers and future thoroughbred owners.” Greg is also excited to see the new exhibit, “Man o’ War at 100,” on display at the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, across the street from the only track where the legendary horse was ever defeated. “I want to view it all for myself,” said Greg. For Greg, running Harbut Bloodstock Agency is far more than just a way to earn a living. He is carrying the torch that was lit long before him, by men who made such an impact on the industry and for other African Americans. Most thrilling for Greg is that he gets to contribute to and build upon the extraordinary legacy begun by his

Greg Harbut at the Keeneland Race Track Paddock with clients.

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Greg Harbut with G1 winner Tell A Kelly. Photo by Matt Goins

I want people to see who I am and what I am all about. If it weren’t for my forefathers and my mentors, I wouldn’t have stood a chance in this business. If my story inspires one person, then I will have achieved a life-long goal.”

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great-grandfather and his grandfather. “I think the most exciting part of the story is what is about to happen. I have two legendary men who inspired me to pursue a career in the Thoroughbred business. I knew when I made this career decision that it was non-traditional. But I was called to follow in the footsteps of my family and continue the legacy.”

“The Apotheosis Racing Stable was created and formed in 2017 through my partnership with another well-known horseman, Frank Henson.” The two men had what Greg calls the first of many partnership commitment meetings in Los Angeles in June, and he said they are both thrilled to see this partnership come to life.

While Greg is rightly proud of his “To date, it is the best risk I have ever taken. accomplishments in an industry that can be Pursuing my dream led me overseas, where difficult, if not impossible, to succeed in, he I received first-class Thoroughbred training always returns to his background and heritage. and education. Since then, I have built my “I want people to see who I am and what I am own Thoroughbred agency in my hometown all about. If it weren’t for my forefathers and my of Lexington, Kentucky. Through hard work, mentors, I wouldn’t have stood a chance in this perseverance, and listening to my calling, I business. If my story inspires one person, then have experienced great success at the age of 32.” I will have achieved a life-long goal.” As Greg looks to the future, he is excited about a new racing venture of which he is a part.

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FASIG-TIPTON 2017 SARATOGA SALES A U G U S T 7 - 8 : T H E S A R AT O G A S A L E | A U G U S T 1 2 - 1 3 : N Y B R E D P R E F E R R E D Y E A R L I N G S

Auctions will begin at 7 p.m. each evening in the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs.

In 2016, The Saratoga Sale sold 156 selected yearlings for $45,570,000, an average of $292,115 per yearling.

HISTORY Formed in 1898 by William B. Fasig and Edward A. Tipton, Fasig-Tipton Co. is North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction company. Its first headquarters were in Madison Square Garden in New York, and Fasig-Tipton initially sold high-class road and carriage horses in addition to Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing stock. Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga sale of selected yearlings is one of the premier horse auctions in the world. It has roots that stretch back to 1917 when Fasig-Tipton formed an alliance with some of the top Kentucky breeders to sell their yearlings during the race meet in upstate New York. The great Man o’ War sold as a yearling at the 1918 Saratoga sale. The Saratoga sale has produced numerous household names for international horsemen, such as Raise a Native, Natalma, Hoist the Flag, Danzig, Miswaki, Conquistador Cielo, and two-time champion filly Open Mind. 14  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

The list continues as 1991 Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair, ‘93 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair, ‘94 Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin, ‘94 champion mare Sky Beauty, 2002 champion two-year-old male Vindication, ‘03 champion three-year-old male Funny Cide (New York-bred sale), and ‘05 Horse of the Year Saint Liam all emerged from the venerable New York sale grounds. And for those of you who attended this years Belmont Stakes, you saw another Fasig-Tipton prodigy make history as Tapwrit defeated race favorite Irish War Cry in the race's final stretch. Humphrey S. Finney, for whom the Saratoga sales pavilion is named, announced his first sale for Fasig-Tipton in 1937. In his 1974 autobiography "Fair Exchange," Finney wrote about an auction company’s need to know about the horses and the value of what they are selling. That commitment to horsemanship and customer service remains a focal point for Fasig-Tipton today.

S A R AT O G A S E L E C T E D Y E A R L I N G S O V E RV I E W F O R 8 / 8 / 2 0 1 6 T H R U 8 / 9 / 2 0 1 6 S A L E Date


8/8/2015 8/9/2015 TOTALS

73 83 156


$21,215,000 $24,355,000 $45,570,000


$290,616 $293,434 $292,115

Not Sold

31 16 47


$240,000 $235,000 $237,500

TOP SALES OF 2016 Hip #

Sex Sire


191 140 111 61 164 27 168 239 30 45 46 179 40 49 199 221 63 189 201 10





Price $1,450,000 $1,250,000 $950,000 $800,000 $800,000 $750,000 $750,000 $700,000 $650,000 $650,000 $650,000 $650,000 $630,000 $625,000 $600,000 $600,000 $550,000 $550,000 $525,000 $500,000

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FASIG-TIPTON S TAT I S T I C S F O R 8 / 1 3 / 2 0 1 6 T H R U 8 / 1 4 / 2 0 1 6 S A L E Date


8/13/2015 8/14/2015 TOTALS

91 86 177


$6,965,500 $6,707,000 $13,672,500


$76,544 $77,988 $77,246

Not Sold

46 40 86

Median $60,000 $60,000 $60,000

NY BRED PREFERRED YEARLINGS (TOP SALES) Hip # 458 385 490 384 447 605 570 509 407 588 357 472 310 566 600 319 322 424 314 436 329 448 536 471

Sex Sire









In data recently released by BloodHorse MarketWatch, The Saratoga Sale once again ranks at the top of all major U.S. yearling sales by percentage of Grade 1 winners, Graded Stakes Winners, and Stakes Winners produced from horses sold.

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© John Seymour

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The Master of Belair,



William Woodward


Courtesy of City of Bowie Museums

veryone has a few books at home; most piled high on a dusty perch or forgotten in a dark and distant corner. A luckier few have a room full of bookshelves; this, they boast, is a library. An even smaller number possess a stack of volumes devoted to a particular genre; they may be piled on a shelf or displayed in a library, but this gathering is unique - for this is a collection.

Any collector will tell you the most desirable volumes are first editions. It will often say so within the first few pages; and those numbers descending from 10 to 1 indicate the printing run. If the ‘1’ is missing then you’re holding a less coveted ‘second printing.’ Collectible books should be in good to excellent condition - no tears, stains, scribbles or missing pages, and their jackets should be intact; all collectors hope to find their treasures in the original packaging, and an uncommon book with jacket intact is not only rare - it’s a find. I have about 150 first editions of books on Thoroughbred racing. This may sound impressive yet racing has such a limited audience that most books about the turf never make it to a second printing, let alone a second edition. Many are signed by the author while some have photographs tucked

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inside; each story has a story attached. A few are valuable and there are others I paid too much for, though over the years they have been good company and great fun to acquire. But for every hunter - gatherer there exists an item of bewildering rarity, a Holy Grail, so-to-speak, and no matter how many rocks you turn over, bookstores you rummage through or estate sales you stumble upon - it remains at-large. A few years back I learned of such a book, printed and released in 1931 by New York’s Derrydale Press. Derrydale was founded in 1927 and was the world’s premiere publisher of sporting books until its demise in 1942. I contacted several rare book dealers only to hear their voices crack with laughter as I asked if, by chance, they had an available copy of Gallant Fox: A Memoir, by William Woodward, Sr. “I remember one sold at auction for $68,000 but that was years ago.” Stated one Boston-based dealer as my heart leapt into my throat - I never realized books could sell for so much. Not only was this a Holy Grail, apparently it was jacketed in diamonds and dotted with rubies. Though like any collector I was more intrigued than discouraged.

The Search…

To the Manor Born…

An internet query revealed the book does exist: there’s a copy at the Princeton Library, another somewhere in California, and a record of sale from Christies auction house, where in 2012, a copy sold for $50,000. A comment attached with the sale provided some detail and an equal bit of mystery.

I attended the 2016 induction day ceremonies of the National Museum of Racing, and as fate would have it, a Mr. William Woodward, was to be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame, in the category of ‘Pillars of the Turf.’ This designation recognizes a select few who have had a profound influence on the sport.

“…50 sets of sheets were printed and 27 copies (only) were bound in full red levant leather, 25 copies were delivered to Mr. Woodward and 2 copies were given to Mr. E.V. Connett. Certain statements in the book relating to an individual horseman caused Mr. Woodward to send all the copies (with the exception of the 2 given Mr. Connett) to his bank vault, no copies were to be given away or disposed of while he was still alive…” -Courtesy:

Mr. Woodward’s descendants were in attendance to accept the award so I took the opportunity to introduce myself. I explained the details to one young fellow; it must have sounded like the ramblings of a madman. He took mercy upon my tortured enterprise and put me in touch with another family member who actually knew Mr. Woodward.

This cryptic note bridged a gap from curiosity to confusion so I decided to contact Saratoga’s Derrydale Press authority. John DeMarco opened Lyrical Ballad bookstore in 1971. It was his wish to create a store with a literary lean yet his location on Phila Street, in downtown Saratoga Springs, had his customers clamoring for books on Thoroughbreds. If anyone knew of Woodward’s heralded tale it would be him.

...there exists an item of bewildering rarity, a Holy Grail, so-to-speak...

“I’ve never seen it,” said DeMarco. “I’ve been here 46 years, I sell lots of Derrydales, and you would think over this span something would turn up.” “What about that auction price?” I asked. “That would be the most expensive Derrydale I’ve heard of. There may be some on fishing priced higher but as far as the racing volumes go I’d be hard-pressed to come up with something more expensive.” Who knew Phila St. would lead to yet another dead end?

This said family member agreed to speak with me under the condition of anonymity; in light of everything so far, somehow this made perfect sense. “I’ve looked everywhere in my library though I don’t believe I have a copy.” He said, as he went on to speak fondly of his memories of Mr. Woodward and the glorious days he spent as a boy at Belair, Mr. W’s bucolic country estate in Bowie, Maryland. “It’s now a museum, and there’s a woman named Pam Williams. She runs it now and you may wish to contact her.”

Naturally, I called Pam and told her of my search for this most elusive of all Thoroughbred first editions. “Well, we’ve got two copies, I believe. You’re welcome to come down and visit anytime,” said Pam. ‘Eureka’ was my only thought. I had found my Grail and was about to step both into the past and squarely inside the world of one of the greatest benefactors of American Thoroughbred racing. William Woodward's country estate, the Belair Mansion.

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Top, Center: The Belair Stables Bottom: The Field Room at Belair Mansion

The ‘Master of Belair’… Pam Williams began her tenure at Belair back in 1995, when she took a position with the City of Bowie, Maryland, as Historic Properties Manager. Pam welcomed me and we chatted at length about the man she called the Master of Belair. William Woodward was born in New York City in 1876, and was a 1901 graduate of Harvard Law School. Shortly thereafter he traveled to England to become the assistant to Joseph H. Choate, the Ambassador to the Court of St. James, in London. William revealed himself to be a true anglophile and a great aficionado of the English turf. But his love of racing began when he was just a boy accompanying his father to the races at Jerome Park in the Bronx. In his extensive diaries he notes: “The first race that I really remember was the Belmont Stakes of 1887, in which Sir Dixon (the winner), and Prince Royal provided a stirring contest. I remember the colors and the whole scene; it was run in glorious sunshine.” He recalls sitting at the breakfast table and hearing his father declare: “Pierre Lorillard is the first American to have won the English Derby.” For some reason, maybe wishing to make his father proud, William writes: “…I made up my mind (not knowing if I would ever own a racehorse, or hardly, what a race horse was) to be the second American to win the Derby.” William was a boy of 13 when his father died, and it was his uncle James T. Woodward, who would pick up the pieces and play a greater role in the young man’s life. James may have been the world’s most desirable bachelor as he was president of the Hanover Bank, and owner of a historic 3,000-acre parcel known as Belair; its great mansion, nested atop a central hill, was the centerpiece of a working farm that had been home to two Maryland governors. 20  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

When William returned from England in 1903, he joined his uncle in the stewardship of the bank. They shared an interest in Thoroughbred horses and formed strong opinions in regard to the health of an American racing industry that saw public outcry due to a preponderance of growth, a lack of oversight and a growing temperance movement. Together they purchased three mares for $100 apiece from a dispersal of horses once owned by Governor Bowie. They built Belair’s first stalls and with the help of an African American farmhand by the name of Andrew Jackson, Belair acquired its first stallion: a ragtag horse by the name of Captain Hancock, by Eolus. “…He looked like a bag of bones, but he had four legs and the necessary anatomy to serve my mares…I purchased him for $60.” Woodward’s diaries reveal - and for less than $500, Belair Stud began. Uncle James died in 1910, and William succeeded him as president of the bank, and though his duties in New York kept him occupied, his life’s passion was the Thoroughbred. Racing in America was under great pressure from a politically active anti-gambling movement, and in 1910, legislation was passed that saw the suspension of racing in New York State. With the market for bloodstock clearly depressed, many owners sent their charges overseas. While in 1913, in a defensive stance, England passed the Jersey Act, which declared any American horse bred to a member of the English Stud book would be noted as a ‘half-breed.’ This would become a sticking point for Woodward in years to come. In order to diminish any negative publicity upon the bank, Woodward leased his homebreds to a Mr. P.A. Clark, and it was under the Clark moniker that Belair’s horses would race and triumph. Woodward’s stead grew within the industry and he was elected a member of the New York Jockey Club in 1917. Two years later Sir Barton would win the Preakness, the Kentucky Derby, and the Belmont Stakes, though it was years before any talk of the touchstone we now call the Triple Crown.

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The Red-Spotted Jacket… The American turf industry faced increased scrutiny, and Woodward questioned whether his association with racing would cause injury to the affairs of the Hanover Bank. Though he writes: the bank’s board had a ‘sporting tinge to it,’ and they approved of his affairs. In 1923, he stepped out of the shadow cast by his agent P.A. Clark and began campaigning his horses under the Belair name and colors: white with red dots and red cap.

The Woodward silks: white with red dots and red cap

Realizing his operation had outgrown the resources of Belair, Woodward placed a good deal of his breeding and foaling activity into the capable hands of Arthur B. Hancock of Claiborne farm in Paris, Kentucky. And in 1924, he awarded the training of his horses to ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons. With the help of Claiborne, Fitzsimmons and Belair’s own Andrew Jackson, Woodward built a highly successful breeding and racing operation, and in 1928, he began a quest that would last the remainder of his lifetime. He secured the services of British trainer Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, and began sending three to four homebreds per year to England, with the hopes of fulfilling his boyhood promise: becoming the second American to win the Epsom Derby. This was a heady time for Belair; not only were they campaigning ‘across the pond,’ Belair’s American operation had struck paydirt when in 1930, a colt by Sir Gallahad III, out of the mare Marguerite, would become Woodward’s most successful runner to date. He was named Gallant Fox, and as Woodward describes: “He was unquestionably the best horse ever bred or raced by the Belair Stud, to my mind one of the greatest horses bred in the century.” Nicknamed the ‘Fox of Belair,’ Gallant Fox went on to win the Preakness, the Kentucky Derby, and the Belmont Stakes. His best race, in the eyes of Fitzsimmons, was the Preakness, contested at Pimlico Race Course, a mere 25 miles or so from Belair. Woodward notes: “The Fox was in great trouble early, having almost been put on the fence at the first turn…(jockey) Sande then took him to the outside in search of racing room, found it and The Fox began cutting down his rivals…The Fox swept past Crack Brigade, who was driving hard, and went on to win by three parts of a length.”

‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons & William Woodward Courtesy of City of Bowie Museums

The Kentucky Derby, run just eight days later and over a wet track, saw Gallant Fox go off as favorite amongst 14 rivals. “The Kentuckians had the notion that the local horse, Tannery, would prove a worthy foe, but The Fox ran him into the ground after six furlongs and he finished in the ruck.” Three weeks later, in the Belmont Stakes, Gallant Fox was made second choice to Harry Payne Whitney’s Whichone. “Sande sent him to the front at the start…gave him a breathing spell on the far turn and went on to win by three lengths from Whichone. The race was merely a work…” America had its second Triple Crown, and although the term had been bandied about in Great Britain, it wasn’t readily used in the United States until racing journalist Charles Hatton put pen to paper to reflect upon The Fox’s campaign.

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Marguerite and her foal Gallant Fox

Another notable race for The Fox of Belair was the 1930 Travers, in which he again met his rival Whichone. Woodward’s notes indicate the race as nothing short of a rough-and-tumble dogfight between the two runners and their jockeys. By the time they hit the stretch both horses were spent and a less accomplished charge by the name of Jim Dandy seized the day at odds of 100-1. Gallant Fox finished his 3-year-old season with an easy win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, after which he was retired and sent to stud at Claiborne. He completed his career with a record of 11 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds from 17 starts. He also accrued the largest earnings of any horse to date: $328,165; a figure that stood until the Triple Crown-winning campaign of the King Ranch’s Assault in 1946. At stud he did not disappoint, when in 1932, he sired the 1935 Triple Crown winner Omaha; a feat that has yet to be duplicated.

William Woodward and America’s second Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox, with jockey Earl Sande at Belmont Park, 1930. Courtesy of City of Bowie Museums

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Pam and I continued to chat until excitedly, I asked about the book; it was after all the reason for my journey. She responded in kind, and the museum’s curator Tiffany Davis, clad in white gloves, presented the work before me. It was bound in red leather with uncut pages and paper leafs protecting its photos; clearly Woodward spared no expense in its creation. By this time I had learned more about Belair and Mr. Woodward than one can imagine, and I had yet to even

browse the contents of his personal account. Tiffany flipped through the volume and together we marveled at the photos therein as history unfolded with each turn of the page. It was a beautiful work, a treasure in fact, and a testament to a glorious era of American racing. I may never own a copy though I was comforted in knowing that it does exist, as do the dreams of a young boy and the memories now held high atop the hill upon which he once roamed.

Two Bottom Photos: Gallant Fox at Saratoga in the 1930 Travers

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Epilogue… Woodward’s quest to win the Epsom Derby was never realized though it certainly was not for trying. His notes contain extensive communications with trainer Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, and together they won almost every prestigious race in Great Britain. Over the course of some 20 years they started 13 horses in the Epsom Derby; coming close on three occasions and missing by just inches in 1950, with Prince Simon. In 1930, Woodward was elected Chairman of The New York Jockey Club, and as such he helped guide American racing through some very dark years. The stock market crash of 1929 took its toll and in the early 1930’s pari-mutuel racing was introduced. This became a boon for the tracks and the public, and as people began to financially recover they took to the tracks in record numbers. Entering the 1940’s, Belair’s charges faced heavy competition from the Jones boys of Calumet farm, though the ‘red-spotted jacket’ was well represented in the winner’s circle on both sides of the Atlantic. Woodward also led the charge to repeal the Jersey Act, and his efforts proved successful when in 1949 it was amended; the term half-breed would no longer apply to the mating of American Thoroughbreds and horses of English registration. In recognition of his stead within the industry Woodward was made an honorary member of the English Jockey Club; he was the first American ever awarded such title. Throughout this time Belair was a grand destination for Woodward’s family, friends and many colleagues. A true working farm, it was home to both Thoroughbreds and champion Clydesdales. In another example of his fondness for English hospitality, visitors signed the guest book upon their arrival and departure. William Woodward died in 1953. Two years later the Belair properties were acquired by real estate developer William Levitt. Mr. Levitt sold Belair Mansion to the City of Bowie for one dollar. He also sold them the stable where both Gallant Fox and Omaha once slept. Both properties are now museums, open to the public and in the steady hands of Pam Williams and her staff. The Woodward name would be carried forward and influence nearly a century of the American turf. His son William Woodward, Jr., campaigned the brilliant Nashua, while his daughter Edith Woodward Bancroft, dominated the latter part of the 1960’s with Damascus. Two of his grandsons, Thomas and William Bancroft, were active from the 70’s to the 90’s, with Pen-Y-Bryn stable. Together they sent out such heralded charges as Highland Blade, Zen, and Honorable Miss. For almost a century the white field with red dots and red cap commanded an unmistakeable presence in both American and international racing; fyi: a black hat was worn overseas - but you won’t find that out watching races on television. Such rich details can only be discovered in paintings and photographs, and in the words of those whose finest hours are gathered on pages and memorialized in books. Special thanks to the City of Bowie Museums, Woodward family members, and Lyrical Ballad bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY.

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HITTING IT 800,000



Matties, being handed his winnings for the 17th Annual National Handicapping Championship!


“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” -Robert Green Ingersoll There are many ways courage comes into play in horse racing. There are the horses themselves, with names such as Inspire Courage, Unbridled Courage, and Heart of Courage. There’s the local Saratoga Courage distillery, makers of the popular race-themed Pick Six vodka. There are the jockeys, the breeders, and also the bettors. “In racing, lots of times, you can do the right thing but not win. You think that if you lose, you did something wrong, but in racing, that’s not true at all,” said professional handicapper Paul Matties. Matties has been betting on the outcomes of horse races for nearly 30 years. He’s had his share of devastating losses, but also some spectacular wins, including the 17th Annual National Handicapping Championship top prize of $800,000 last year. He works from his home office in Ballston Spa, day and night; combining science and art, trying to predict the outcome of a sport that will, at its essence, always be uncontrollable. “Everybody knows how to win, but you need to know how to lose, and that can be very difficult,” he said.

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” -Albert Einstein Matties is entrenched in the world of horseracing. His father, Chick, was a racing enthusiast who won the inaugural Horse Player World Series handicapping contest. His brother, Gregg, is a trainer, and his younger brother, Duke, is a handicapper, as well. After studying journalism at SUNY Buffalo, Matties spent time

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working the backside of the track, talking to the people whose lives are intrinsically linked to the horses. He also worked the frontside, behind the counter as a racetrack teller. “I got a real good advantage of how things work. I learned the difference in the results that people were getting – who was cashing in, who was making a score and grinding it out,” he said. He’s known lots of people who approach betting as simply a fun, affordable hobby. They educate themselves, learn about the horses competing, and place $2 bets their entire lives, he said.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

-Suzy Kassem

Sometimes an understanding of why horses win is not enough to become a successful handicapper. What can be even harder than picking the horses, is learning how to handle the nagging voices of doubt. “Even after 25-30 years, self-doubt still comes in. You have to have faith in yourself - not too high or too low. You have to keep it even. Those things are easier said than done,” said Matties with a knowing chuckle. In the uncertain world of handicapping, successful perseverance despite the powerful skepticism of others, is crucial. “It’s a hard thing to do. If you’re not winning every minute, people doubt you,” he said. The bold move to resist the doubt can be easier to achieve in certain circumstances, however. “It’s not like that so much here. In Saratoga, people love you,” added Matties.

BIG... “A business that makes nothing but money, is a poor business.” -Henry Ford

Controlling the ups and downs to create emotional balance and financial well-being can be difficult when there is so much money at stake. In the beginning of his career, when he won a big wager, Matties would often go out and buy extravagant gifts or take luxurious trips. “The great thing about horse racing is, after a win, you get to celebrate and have fun, but not too much. I’ve seen people blow the money back too fast. You can’t get too carried away,” he said. Now, as a father of three, he has a different attitude toward wealth. Working with a small team of approximately 10 people, developing a database for themselves and others who want to learn, he said he’s not as wrapped up in the money as he used to be. “I don’t look at it like that anymore. It’s more that I get to do what I like to do - every day - It’s more than the money,” said Matties. In a competition like the NHC, for instance, he enjoys the contest, and comparing his technique to that of his brother Duke’s. “We go about it slightly differently. He follows me to a point and then goes his own way. I had some good winners right off the bat, but you can’t have all long shots, you have to keep getting points. I had to be really focused not to blow it. He didn’t have early winners. He had to chase me the whole way. He just kept making up the difference,” said Matties. Duke placed fourth in the competition, taking home a $100,000 prize.

“Never confuse a single defeat for a final defeat.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

There’s no denying that the money up for grabs adds to the element of excitement. “You remember when you’re on the line for a lot of money. You remember the ones you don’t win,” said Matties. That is the case with the curious thing that happened at this year’s 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. At the start, Matties was feeling alive with his pick of a colt named Thunder Snow. If his horse came in, he was set to win more than a million dollars. For no discernable reason, however, Thunder Snow bucked out of the gate and refused to run. “To be out of it so fast and not get it, to not even get a run for your money. It was a unique experience. It was kind of …a shame.”

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  27

Photo by John Seymour

WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER Bow, "the guillotine" and a hawk on its perch



This man has seen the danger, the famous faces, the real history of the Saratoga Race Course, first-hand.

intelligence. The experience left him with a substance addiction that he battled for many years. It was an experience that his friend Roswell Whitcomb, who served during the Korean War and worked as an Air Force Air Traffic Control Specialist, and who also fought his own battle with alcoholism, could relate to when the two met 15 years ago.

“I’m always watching and listening all the time,” said Melvin “Bow” White. Fifty-three years ago, White moved with his family to Saratoga from Brooklyn. While his aunt ran one of the track’s kitchens, as a teenager, White took his first job there cleaning out “It’s the only battle you can win by giving it the horse stalls for 25 cents each. up,” said Whitcomb, who said today, he and White are like Frick and Frack. Leaving for a time (3 years, 3 months, and 6 days, to be exact) to serve in the army, White worked as a maps draftsman for operations

28  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

White finds healing by playing the bongos.

“That’s my therapy. As soon as it gets warm,

Photo by John Seymour

Bow with Dukie

we’ll be playing,” said the fit 74-year-old, who earned his nickname “Bow” because he would often play with his elbows. Working as a painter and finisher in neighborhood homes when he’s not at the track, White once ran his own shop downtown, Bow’s Zodiacal String Art, and still demonstrates the traits of intelligence and focus common to his birth sign; Virgo. What’s not so common is White’s almost magical connection to animals. There was the time he walked into a burning building at 60 Woodlawn Ave. to search for survivors. Finding a woman still inside because she didn’t want to leave her cat, he was able to usher both the cat and its owner outside to safety. There was the neighbor’s cat “Snowball” (who White called “Snacks”) who greeted him whenever White approached. Another animal companion, a duck named “Dukie” followed White around for nearly 30 years on the grounds of the Saratoga Race Course. White’s seen a variety of animals at the track, including jockey Angel Cordero’s miniature Shetland pony (who used to ride around in the front seat of his car), to jockey Robyn Smith’s piglet (who was kidnapped and barbecued by mean-spirited rivals) before she retired and married star Fred Astaire, he said. Now, while White posts the day’s changes on an antiquated scratchboard he called “the guillotine” even before the day it came down and nearly took his head off, he watches as the barn swallows peck at a hawk atop his perch on the towering pole’s golden balls. In the mornings, he’s still standing guard at the gap on the Oklahoma training track. “You have to be alert at all times. Horses come running out of that gap at 90 mph and they can turn on a dime.” Never a dull moment for a man named Bow.

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  29

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The Art of

Putting the



Ah, wine and horses… Whether a glass foisted in victory down the homestretch, a refreshing quaff between chukkas, or a sip ringside to a Grand Prix, it’s an intoxicating melding of two of Saratoga’s favorite summer passions. Add an artful label celebrating equine beauty in all its glory, and the toast to “Older wine. Younger lovers. Faster horses and more money,” rings all the truer. Wineries have more than once reached out to artists to capture the finer attributes of vines and equines, and why not? Their vocabularies have more in common than we might think: Elegant, refined, noble, supple, smooth, lively, and well balanced. Les Kincaid, host of America’s first (2000) syndicated wine show, ‘Wines Du Jour,’ observed this duality when referring to a wine’s pedigree as its “breed” -- similar to the good bloodlines of racehorses – denoting the soil, grapes and vinification (conversion of grapes into wine by fermentation) used to produce its distinctive character. When planning your next soiree, consider combining the equine, vine and convivial divine through horsethemed labels. Like the steeds they celebrate, there’s an appellation for every palate and whichever the choice, remember that artful presentation rests not only in a label but in the hospitality with which it is poured.

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  31

Swedish Hill Winery, 441 Broadway

It’s hard to say which has become more famous among New York’s Finger Lakes: the Peterson family’s winery or its pet miniature donkey mascot, Doobie. The only winery to have won three Governor’s Cups (1994, 2008, 2010), plus four consecutive “Winery of the Year” titles and the 2015 Eastern U.S. Winemaker Challenge, Swedish Hill pressed its first grapes in 1985, just two years before the foaling of its four-legged sommelier. Doobie’s fun, fruity and slightly sweet personality inspired its Riesling-style, Doobie Blues, as well as kicking up its semi-sweet Doobie’s Jack Ass Red and semi-dry Smart Ass Red. Shorter of ear but long on taste are the artfully equine Svenska White, Blush and Red labels, named in honor of the family’s Swedish heritage.

Frankie Flores at work.

The Saratoga Winery

The Saratoga Winery, 462 NY Route 29

“Health, History and Horses” is the motto so it’s no surprise that The Saratoga Winery keeps horse-themed labels in its stable, including an oak-aged Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc by artist Frankie Flores (that proprietors Rich and Tara Nimmo call a “must have” with steak), and a Pinot Noir that toots its own horn with another Flores label, of Sam “The Bugler” Grossman, who plays the call to the post before each race at the Spa. In 2013, two specialty labels by Amy Greth commemorated Saratoga Race Track’s 150th anniversary, including of Man o’ War, who won 20 out of 21 starts (his only loss coming at Saratoga against a horse called Upset) and whose 100th anniversary of his foaling (1917) is remembered this summer in an exhibit at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Union Avenue.

Alc. 12% by vol.


Finger Lakes 750 ml

The Saratoga Winery

The Saratoga Winery

Cabernet Franc

Saratoga White

Alc. 12% by vol.

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Pinot Noir


Finger Lakes 750 ml

Semi Sweet White Wine Alc. 12% by vol.

750 ml

Finger Lakes

Putnam Market & Wine Room, 435 Broadway

A wine merchant since 1998, Putnam Market offers roughly 700 wines from all the world’s major wine-producing regions. Elegant yet self-effacing (“Knowledgeable about wine but not precocious about it.”) proprietor, William Roche, offers NYS short-runs and special labels under their in-house artwork, Saratoga Springs Racing Silks. A smooth-as-silk relationship with John Dyson, owner of Pinot Noir-producer Williams Selyem and a celebrated viticulturist who farms vineyards in the Hudson Valley and San Benito, California, has resulted in the Racing Silks Chardonnay and Racing Silks Pinot Noir. For those seeking a lighter repast before 5:00 p.m., there are also Saratoga Springs Racing Silks teas.

In ancient China, a guest’s arrival by horseback commanded the highest levels of hospitality. Traditionally known as “proposing a toast on horseback,” one was expected to offer the finest wine, before they had dismounted, with the salutation to their good health of “Wen lie.”

We’ll drink to that!

A Pas de Deux for the Palate

What makes wine and chocolates such a heavenly match? As we age, our taste buds become harder to satisfy, but this pairing hits all our tongue’s taste buds. There are five categories of ‘taste’ – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and savory – so the challenge is in ensur ing those receptors are akin to the respective tastes provided by each ingredient in a festive alchemy-meets-algebra. Spicy chocolates are in culinary fashion, and are best with flavorful red wines. The hottest peppers, like Ghost, Spanish Habanero, or Fatali, produce the liveliest sensory experiences (Fatali is also good with toffee). Salty sweets, like the gentle intensity of herb-infused sea salt, or Pink Himalayan salt, add complexity to toffee and caramel washed back with a young Beaujolais, or older Petit Syrah or Cabernet. It’s not a wine’s age but its quality that is key. Like horsemanship, a solid foundation is essential (think hearty Pinot Noir, Petit Syrah, Zinfandel or Malbec). Flavor, not price, dictates a satisfying experience and for a fun summer party game: Offer five red wines and five dark chocolates. Cover the labels and number each wine and chocolate. Provide scorecards so guests can rate each tasting and pairing, with room for notes. At the end, reveal the labels and prices!

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  33

Gangsters of Saratoga 210 South Broadway, the building adjacent to the white building on the corner known as the Aldine Hotel (with the arched windows on the second story). This was the scene of a gambling raid in 1919 during which the notorious gangster Rachel Brown was arrested. Brown was also indicted for the fixing of the 1919 World Series later that year. Photo provided by: The Bolster Collection at the Saratoga Springs History Museum.



hen the village’s charter states that gambling in Saratoga Springs is illegal, but the mayor runs a notoriously shady gambling den; crime is given a green light.

“It’s a running narrative of the first hundred years of this battle between gangsters and law-and-order in Saratoga Springs – and how the gangsters won,” said Saratoga Springs Police Chief Gregory Veitch. His research into the public records lead to a series of talks about the city’s dark days of corruption, and now, a new book, “All the Law in the World Won’t Stop Them”.

Author: Saratoga Springs Police Chief Greg Veitch

The title, pulled from a longer quote by Richard Canfield, explains why gambling persisted, and how everyone was in on it in the resort city, despite it being outlawed. “Gambling is a natural thing, and can’t be stopped, whether it’s with nickels or soda,” said Veitch. Veitch began his research five years ago, spurred on by his grandfather’s own story of a gang-shooting

34  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

The oldest known photograph of the members of the Saratoga Springs Police Department. Seated at center is the first Chief of Police George Blodget. These men would have patrolled areas like Willow Walk and Searings Alley that no long exist today. Photo provided by: Office of the Saratoga Springs Historian.

on Circular Street. In his book, he recounts the amusing tales of bold acts by brazen criminals. “It was easy for me to understand that it was a completely different time and the expectations were completely different. If you were a policeman at that time, your job depended on how you navigated the complete corruption - and how you enforced the law,” said Veitch. There’s a story of how, one morning, lawbreakers flagrantly walked out of the police station with stolen evidence confiscated in a raid, including roulette wheels, chips and cards by the armload. Another tells of the local gamblers who escalated their criminal enterprises onto the national stage when they fixed the 1919 World Series. The ironic story of a heroic constable and his son, a corrupt district attorney is also included, among others. Listing the names of the residents involved, many of which likely still have connections in the area, Veitch shines a light on Saratoga’s perilous past. He paints the picture of a city much different than the one we see today, where the village lock-up was in the back of the saloon, High Rock Avenue was known as “The Valley of the Shadow of Death”, and a man’s gravestone listed how many men he’d killed and the amount of money he’d won gambling in Saratoga. “All the Law in the World Won’t Stop Them”, is published by ShiresPress and is available at Northshire Bookstore. You can also buy a copy online at

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  35



R Denotes outdoor seating.


Sushi Thai Garden

Brook Tavern R

Mouzon House R

Dunning Street Station

Next Door Kitchen and Bar

44-46 Phila Street, Saratoga Bookmakers at Holiday Inn R (518) 580-0900 232 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 584-4550 139 Union Avenue, Saratoga (518) 871-1473 2853 State Hwy 9, Malta (518) 587-2000

Morton’s The Steakhouse

342 Jefferson Street, Saratoga (518) 682-5999


Bua Thai Sushi R


1 York Street, Saratoga (518) 226-0014

51 Front Street, Ballston Spa (518) 309-3249

One Caroline

1 Caroline Street, Saratoga (518) 226-0014

Wheatfields R

440 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 587-0534

1103 Ellsworth Boulevard, Malta (518) 788-8898 15 Church Restaurant 15 Church Street, Saratoga Duo Modern Japanese R 175 South Broadway, Saratoga (518) 587-1515 (518) 580-8881 Boca Bistro R Hibachi Japanese Restaurant 384 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 682-2800 3310 S Broadway, Saratoga (518) 580-9343 Cock ‘n’ Bull 5342 Parkis Mills Road, Galway Izumi Asian Bistro R (518) 882-6962 63 Putnam Street, Saratoga (518) 583-0008 Diamond Club Grill Embassy Suites by Hilton Kraverie 86 Congress Street, Saratoga 78 Beekman Street, Saratoga (518) 886-1111 (518) 450-7423 The Inn at Saratoga 231 Broadway, Saratoga Phila Fusion (518) 583-1890 54 Phila Street, Saratoga (518) 226-0400 Jacob & Anthony’s

Sam’s Chinese Restaurant


American Grill R

38 High Rock, Saratoga (518) 871-1600 824 NY 50, Burnt Hills (518) 384-1997

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Lake Ridge

35 Burlington Avenue, Round Lake Mouzon House R (518) 889-6000 1 York Street, Saratoga (518) 226-0014 Longfellow’s 500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Chez Pierre Restaurant (518) 587-0108 979 Route 9, Gansevoort (518) 793-3350 Max London’s Restaurant R 466 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 587-0505


Olde Bryan Inn R

123 Maple Avenue, Saratoga (518) 587-2990

One Caroline Street Bistro 1 Caroline Street, Saratoga (518) 587-2026

Prime at Saratoga National R

Karavalli Regional Cuisine of India

47 Caroline Street, Saratoga (518) 580-1144

Little India

60 Court Street, Saratoga (518) 583-4151


458 Union Avenue, Saratoga (518) 583-4653

Harvey’s Irish Restaurant & Bar R

353 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 450-7500

Parting Glass R

Salt & Char R

Siro’s (Seasonal) R

168 Lincoln Avenue, Saratoga (518) 584-4030

Sperry’s R

14 Phila Street, Saratoga (518) 583-0003 40-42 Lake Avenue, Saratoga (518) 583-1916


30 1/2 Caroline Street, Saratoga Augie’s Restaurant R 17 Low Street, Ballston Spa (518) 584-9618

(518) 884-8600

Thirsty Owl R

184 S Broadway, Saratoga (518) 587-9694

Wine Bar R

417 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 584-8777

The Wishing Well

745 Saratoga Road, Wilton (518) 584-7640

Boca Bistro R

384 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 682-2800

Chianti Il Ristorante R

18 Division Street, Saratoga (518) 580-0025

Forno Tuscano Bistro R 541 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 581-2401

Limoncello Ristorante R

1 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga (518) 580-8700

Mama Mia’s Pizza

185 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga (518) 583-7783


149 Route 9P, Saratoga (518) 584-5599

Nove R

707 Saratoga Road, Wilton (518) 583-8877

Osteria Danny R

26 Henry Street, Saratoga (518) 423-7022

Panza’s Restaurant

510 Route 9P, Saratoga (518) 584-6882

Pennell’s Restaurant

284 Jefferson Street, Saratoga (518) 583-2423


4 Caroline Street, Saratoga (518) 587-4236

Leon’s Restaurant R

41 Nelson Avenue, Saratoga (518) 584-4466

Putnam Market R

42 Front Street, Ballston Spa (518) 885-8550

Roma Foods & Market

Mexican Connection R

Sunset Café

431 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 587-3663


222 Washington Street, Saratoga (518) 587-6004

Fish at 30 Lake R

30 Lake Avenue, Saratoga (518) 539-3474


Hattie’s Restaurant R

45 Phila Street, Saratoga (518) 584-4790

Village Pizzeria R

175 Lake Road, Ballston Lake (518) 280-0311


Amigo’s Cantina

42 Ferry Street, Schuylerville (518) 695-9595

3057 Route 50 Wilton Plaza, Saratoga | (518) 226-0000 445 Church Street, Saratoga (518) 584-9734


1 Kaydeross Avenue West, Saratoga| (518) 583-2445 or (518) 583-7427


Four Seasons Natural Foods Cafe R

Blue Agave R

33 Phila Street, Saratoga (518) 584-4670

Cantina R

382 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 583-1106

135 Crescent Street, Saratoga (518) 886-9534 430 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 587-5577

El Mexicano R

208 South Broadway, Saratoga (518) 226-0105

Marino’s Pizza

40 Phila Street, Suite 1 (518) 907-4337

The Kettle Restaurant

Villago R

3065 Route 50, Saratoga (518) 306-4900

Park Side Eatery

Three Vines Bistro & Bar

2727 Route 29, Middle Grove (518) 882-9431

Mama Mia’s Pizza

2100 Doubleday Avenue, Ballston Spa | (518) 490-2058

Hattie’s Chicken Shack

32A Congress Plaza, Saratoga (518) 306-5881

Healthy Living Market & Cafe

Saratoga Juice Bar R


Ben & Bill’s New York Style Deli 115 Ballston Avenue (Rt. 50), Saratoga (518) 782-0441

*Inside Price Chopper

Russell’s Deli R

303 Milton Avenue (Rt. 50), Ballston Spa (518) 885-DELI (3354)

Saratoga 5 Points Market & Deli R

42 Park Place, Saratoga (518) 584-1000

Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria R

132 Spring Street, Saratoga (518) 584-0994

185 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga (518) 583-7783 46 West Circular Street, Saratoga (518) 584-3030

Pizza 7

7 Caroline Street, Saratoga (518) 580-2000

Pizza Nook

3775 Lewis Road, Ballston Spa (518) 885-1800

Pope’s Pizza

232 Washington Street, Saratoga (518) 587-1643

Three Vines Bistro & Bar

32A Congress Plaza, Saratoga (518) 306-5881

West Avenue Pizza

99 West Avenue, Saratoga (518) 581-9999


Char Koon

9 Miles East Farm Pizza

388 Broadway, Saratoga (518) 581-9000

Augie's To-Go

74 Henry Street, Saratoga (518) 584-5558


136 Goff Road, Schuylerville (518) 514-8106

Uncle Ming’s Chinese Kitchen

223 Lake Avenue, Saratoga (518) 580-8646

Sunny Wok


70 Weibel Avenue, Saratoga (518) 763-2975 or (518) 763-2323

D’Andrea’s Pizza

33 Caroline Street, Saratoga (518) 584-3632 654 Saratoga Road, Wilton (518) 583-3781

3084 NY-50, Saratoga (518) 583-8888

Lucky Peking Chinese Buffet & Take out

66 E Congress Street, Saratoga (518) 584-8371

Osaka Sushi House

3084-6 Route 50, Wilton (518) 290-7271

Gennarro's Pizza

46 Marion Avenue, Saratoga (518) 584-1900

Harvest & Hearth R

251B County Route 67, Saratoga (518) 587-1900

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  37

Horseman and Carver © John Seymour




38  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017



ithuanian-born Marcus Charles (M.C.) Illions’ lavish use of gold leaf in the flamboyant manes and tack of his “Hand Sculptured Horses” made him one of the most famous carvers of his era and today. His work – and the Coney Island Style that became synonymous with his name – remain faithfully preserved for generations of riders young and old on the carousel in Congress Park. Born in 1866 in Vilna, Illions’ father was a horse trader who early on recognized his son’s natural proclivity for working with wood and apprenticed him to a carving shop. While few details exist about this time, it is known that Illions left his homeland for Germany and then England, where he worked as a wagon carver for a traveling circus before coming to America and working as a freelancer carver in Brooklyn in the 1890s. In 1903, he briefly joined forces with blacksmith, Theodore Hunger, carving “Show Fronts,” “Circus Wagons,” and “High Class Carousells” while Hunger forged the mechanical apparatus for the machines. That same year, Illions was commissioned to carve the Roman ticket booth for Luna Park at Coney Island (New York) and his skillful creativity drew a wider audience. Its giant entrance, replete with crescent moons and lavish scrollwork, heightened his reputation as a gifted craftsman and his commissions broadened to include more ticket booths, scenic coasters, furniture models, organ fronts and church carvings.

Above: The Carousel in Congress Park, lit up at night. Below: Two of M.C. Illions' carousel horses in Congress Park. Photos by John Seymour

A brief but productive collaboration with Coney Island engineer William F. Mangels (who invented and patented the overhead crank suspension system still used today to create the carousel horse’s galloping or “flying” effect) allowed Illions freer license to carve dynamic poses suitable for horses appearing airborne. In its heyday, Coney Island operated 22 carousels, many made by the duo, and led to the coining of the term “Coney Island Style” to define their distinct and glittering opulence. But like stallions stabled too closely to one another, their headstrong personalities led to the dissolution of the partnership, although each retained an abiding respect for the other, as well as a more distant but still professional relationship, until 1909, when M.C. Illions and Sons Carousell Works opened at 2789 Ocean Parkway on Coney Island. M.C. opened the family business with sons Barney, Harry, Phillip, and Rudy. From 1909 until 1929, Harry joined his father (lovingly called “The Old Gent”) in the carving; Phillip oversaw secretarial duties and provided customers with cost estimates; Rudy specialized in the mechanical works and Barney painted the carousels, from its horses to its panels. They offered six types of machines: Supreme, Superior, Superb and Monarchs I, II and III. The Supreme boasted 74

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  39

Photo courtesy of the New England Carousel Museum

40  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

horses, at four abreast, plus two fancy chariots, on a 54-foot platform. They also produced double-saddle sets for Prior and Church racetrack rides, and smaller carousels, operated by Pinto Bros., on Coney Island sidewalks. From the outset, this son of a horseman was determined to create the most graceful and animated of painted ponies. He was the only carver, in the Golden Age of Carousels, to incorporate a pacing gait on some outside row horses, demonstrating both an understanding of anatomy and movement, and lifelong appreciation for the animal and particularly, for racehorses. Illions kept a small stable and not only rode regularly but often raced his own horses in friendly competition with other harness-racing drivers in Brooklyn parks and in Misquamicut, Rhode Island. Meanwhile, the family business was based at what was then considered the “race track capital of the world.” Coney Island had three nearby high stake racetracks: Brighton Beach (home of the Suburban); the Coney Island Jockey Club’s Sheepshead Bay (founded by August Belmont, William R. Travers and A. Wright Sanford and home of the Futurity); and the Brooklyn Jockey Club’s Gravesend track where, in its last 15 years of horse racing, it hosted The Preakness. Unlike the more primitive “County Fair” or realistic-yet-static “Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC)” carving styles, the Illions “Coney Island” style using gold-leaf and glass gems on his horses were two of the most consistent expressions of his innovative and fluid creative genius. Almost every horse on an Illions carousel wore a gold-leaf mane. Horses carved © John Seymour

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  41

earlier in his career had manes that fell in flowing ringlets, but this style and its deep ridges made adding gold-leaf (a process that involved laying sheet by paperthin sheet of gold atop a sticky, clear varnish coating on the wood) both time- and labor-intensive. When he opened the family business, he streamlined the process by carving manes with larger, flattened sections to more efficiently accommodate the golden detailing. Belying the depth of his classic training, some manes also had openings carved into their expanse of wood, a negative pattern effect later employed by sculptors across other mediums and styles.

Photo courtesy of the New England Carousel Museum

Another unusual inspiration was his “bat wing saddle,” with a savage claw-and-animal-hide look that was eventually dropped in favor of more popular, English-style saddles (c. 1909). It was not unusual for Illions to drop a pose or style, no matter how lovely, as soon as he learned others were copying it. This ability to change his carving stride, so to speak, not only helped his career flourish in the early 20th century but contributed to the evolution of carousel art. Illions’ ‘Medieval period’ led to elaborate barding, or armor, for his horses, including chanfron headpieces, detailed crineires on their necks, peytral chestplates, and flanchards or croupieres (from which the modern equestrian word, crupper, originates) to cover flying hindquarters. Perhaps inspired by the 1905 U.S. Congressional Trade Mark Act, Illions ‘signed’ his horses, typically carving M.C. Illions into a horseshoe or a piece of armor. Thanks in part to his collaboration with Mangels, M.C. Illions will forever be credited with capturing equine motion like no carver before him, or few after. From otherwise inanimate blocks of wood, this secondgeneration horseman coaxed motion and – through the nuanced tilt of a head, arch of a neck, or strike of a foreleg – froze the essence of speed. Through the Congress Park carousel, M.C. Illions still breathes life into childhood fantasy and mirrors the great and genuine horses that are a part of Saratoga Springs history.

Photo courtesy of the New England Carousel Museum

National Merry-Go-Round Day is Tuesday, July 25, in honor of the first carousel patent on July 25, 1871. 42  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

Did you know…

That the earliest known depiction of a merry-go-round (also known as a carousel or roundabout) is from 500 A.D. during the Byzantine Empire, and depicts baskets, carrying riders, suspended from a central pole? That carousel horses consist of Gallopers, Jumpers and Standers, and the largest or most lavishly decorated horse is known as the King Horse? That the outer, most detailed side of a carousel horse is known as its “romance side?”

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  43

Bob Giordano with Trainer Rudy Rodriguez Photo by John Seymour

Annual Awards Brunch To feature Donna Barton Brothers and Saratoga Resident, Bob Giordano on Saturday, August 12 th

Through the years... ThoroFan's Guides to Saratoga Race Course Trainers’ Saddle Towels.

44  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

ThoroFan’s 5th Annual Awards brunch will be held in Saratoga Springs this August 12th. It is the only fan-specific awards event produced annually. Michael Amo, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, “We are so lucky to have Donna Barton Brothers as our Keynote Speaker. Her career in racing is rich and beaming with stories to tell fans.” Highlighting the event is the ThoroFan Award, given each year to a person or entity who sub-stantially contributes to building the fan base in Thoroughbred racing. Saratoga Springs resident, Bob Giordano, the 2017 ThoroFan Award recipient, has helped educate hundreds of fans in the importance of the morning workout for our equine athletes. He is the creator of the ThoroFan Guide to Saratoga Race Course Trainers’ Saddle Towels which is in its 9th year of publication. Horse Racing Nation will bestow their prestigious Timothy Reynolds Memorial Fan of the Year Award on Dawn Mellen, founder and president of the racing aftercare organization, “After The Finish Line.”

The Brunch will be emceed by Acacia Courtney, Gulfstream Park’s racing personality and on-air analyst. This will be Acacia’s second year leading the Brunch for ThoroFan. She is a graduate of Fordham University, a 2014 Miss Connecticut and a finalist in the 2014 Miss America Pageant. The Breakfast will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, 86 Congress Street, Saratoga Springs. Registration starts at 9 a.m. with the program following at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are $50 per person, which includes a full gourmet breakfast/brunch buffet, as well as autographs, photo opportunities and more. Tables can be reserved and corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, tables or sponsorships, email or call (845) 258-7191. Tickets can also be purchased by visiting About ThoroFan: The Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association (ThoroFan) is the horse racing industry’s only independent, national fan-driven organization that fosters social camaraderie among racing fans to grow the fan base and the sport. ThoroFan is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

Pick up your free Guide at the Visitors Center and at Downtown Saratoga businesses!

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  45

Equestricon founders, Dan Tordjman, Kathryn Sharp and Justin Nicholson

The first international horse racing convention, trade show and fan festival…

Punch your ticket to an unprecedented event in racing history, bringing together people from all corners of the industry including fans, stakeholders, industry insiders and horseplayers.

enthusiasts to engage with the sport like never before.” In addition to Tordjman, Equestricon is being spearheaded by horse owners and breeders Kathryn Sharp and Justin Nicholson. Sharp and Nicholson founded the highly successful Ninety North Racing Stable in the spirit of attracting new owners to the sport of racing. They bring a wealth of experience and fresh perspective.

Equestricon will feature panels and discussions focused on the latest innovations in the sport, new media, marketing, wagering technologies, and other key issues impacting current and future stakeholders in racing. “On a grand scale,” Sharp said, “we’re “Above all else, we are focused on one thing building the foundation upon which — the racing fan,” said Dan Tordjman, Cothe industry can unite, meet face-toFounder of Equestricon, and correspondent face with its fans and end-users, and for America’s Best Racing. “Equestricon is present the sport of racing as a cohesive committed to creating an extremely fun and entertainment industry. Long-term, we unprecedented outlet for any and all racing envision Equestricon becoming the ultimate

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showcase for, and celebration of, advances in the areas of aftercare, technology, marketing, fan development and more.” Sunday, August 13 will feature off-site events around Saratoga. Then Monday and Tuesday, August 14 and 15, the convention's general session takes place at the Saratoga Springs City Center. There will be opportunities to meet the stars of racing and participate in Meet and Greets. There will also be autograph sessions featuring racing legends and Hall of Famers like Ron Turcotte, the jockey of Secretariat, as well as other Triple Crown-winning jockeys. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to:

Featured Guests at Equestricon AUG



HALL OF FAME TOURS WITH TOM DURKIN 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

One of Equestricon's optional “add-on” experiences will take guests on a tour of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, led by longtime NYRA race caller, Tom Durkin. Panel and VIP Passholders Only.



Media icon and OTTB owner Soledad O'Brien delivers the "Aftercare Keynote" on the main convention floor of the Saratoga Springs City Center at Equestricon.




The legendary team behind one of the most famous racehorses of all time signs autographs.

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  47




The track is only open for 40 days – Friday, July 21 thru Monday, September 4 – don't miss a thing!

NOTED AS ONE OF THE TOP 10 SPORTING VENUES IN THE WORLD by Sports Illustrated, Saratoga Race Course is

one of horse racing’s most beloved tracks. With historical ambiance and modern day amenities and style, Saratoga Race Course is the place to find top Thoroughbred horse racing July through Labor Day each year. The 40-day meet draws the top horses, trainers and owners in the world to try their luck at “the Spa.” Known as the Graveyard of Champions, Saratoga Race Course has earned a reputation for being a challenging track for favorites. In fact, the dominant Man O’ War lost his only race against the aptly named Upset here at Saratoga. 48  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017


Grandstand admission is $5; Clubhouse admission is $8. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 10:30 a.m. on weekends. On Travers Day, Saturday, August 26, gates open at 7 a.m. Travers Day admission purchased in advance is $10 for Grandstand; $25 for Clubhouse. Travers Day admission purchased day-of at the gate is $15 for Grandstand; $30 for Clubhouse. Admission is included with all reserved seats purchased in advance.

Week 3, featuring the Whitney: Wed. August 2 – Mon. August 7

Week 4, featuring the Fourstardave: Wed. August 9 – Mon. August 14

Week 5, featuring the Alabama: Wed. August 16 – Mon. August 21

Week 6, featuring the Travers: Wed. August 23 – Mon. August 28

Week 7, featuring the Woodward: Wed. August 30 – Mon. September 4


Full-season plans, which include admission, provide a reserved seat in the Clubhouse or Grandstand for the full 40-day season. Full season ticket plans may be purchased online through NYRA AccountManager.


A season pass provides fans with admission to 40 days of world-class thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course, including the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on Saturday, August 26 and the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney on Saturday, August 5. The costs for 2017 season passes are $40 for Grandstand and $65 for Clubhouse. Season passes do not include reserved seating and are valid for one admission. Season passes may be purchased online through NYRA AccountManager or at nearly 160 Stewart’s Shops locations throughout the greater Capital Region, including Warren County.


The 2017 season will feature the Saratoga Season Perks program with exclusive offers for season pass and season ticket plan holders, including:

Information and photos provided by NYRA DAILY CLUBHOUSE AND GRANDSTAND RESERVED SEATS: Daily individual reserved seats in

the Clubhouse and Grandstand, which include admission, may be purchased in advance online through A limited number of reserved seats for the current day is available for purchase beginning at 9 a.m. at the Reserved Seat Box Office, located at Gate A on Union Avenue. (7 a.m. on Travers Day, Saturday, August 26). There is a limit of four seats per person. Cash, American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted. All tickets purchased in advance of race day include the cost of admission.

WEEKLY RESERVED SEAT PLANS: Weekly ticket plans,

which include admission, provide a reserved seat in the Clubhouse or Grandstand for six consecutive days of the meet from Wednesday through Monday (Friday through Monday for Opening Weekend). Weekly ticket plans may be purchased online through NYRA AccountManager. Week-long reserved seat plans for the 2017 meet at Saratoga Race Course are available as follows: •

Week 1, Opening Weekend: Fri. July 21 – Mon. July 24

Week 2, featuring the Jim Dandy: Wed. July 26 – Mon. July 31

Guarantee of one premium Saratoga giveaway on each giveaway day (must enter through the designated season ticket holder and pass holder lines; giveaway item must be obtained by 3 p.m. in person on the day of the giveaway at Saratoga Race Course).

10 percent savings to numerous retail, restaurant and professional services locations in downtown Saratoga Springs, in partnership with the Saratoga Downtown Business Association (valid June 1, 2017 through March 1, 2018).

10 percent savings at most Saratoga Race Course concession stands, NYRA merchandise stores and Shake Shack on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and the Artist's Village on Fridays. Discount does not apply to lottery, tobacco, alcohol, restaurant dining, group sales or Dunkin' Donuts. Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  49

10 percent savings to additional New York Racing Association partners, including: 2017 Live Nation summer series at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Discount available on lawn tickets or select lowest price reserved tickets for pavilion only shows (subject to availability). Available at SPAC Box Office only, not valid for purchase day of show.

Classical series performances at Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Discount available on full-priced amphitheater seats to performances on July 20; August 5; 10 and 12.

The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom

Discount available on admission on Tuesdays only from July 21 through September 4; daily on all other dates.

Season pass and season ticket plan holders must present their season pass in order to receive the discounts. The list of incentives, deals and discounts is available at and will be continually updated with new participating organizations. A season pass must be activated in order to receive Saratoga Season Perks discounts and incentives. Season pass holders are

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required to provide a photo in order to activate their season pass. Activation instructions, including information on how to upload a digital photo, are available at


close proximity to the trackside apron, the Fourstardave Sports Bar includes more than 80 tables available for paid reservation and a sports bar which features an extensive craft beer selection, popular food vendors, and 60 flat-screen televisions. The hospitality space also provides protection from the elements. Configurations include options for up to six people, four people, and two-person tables. Two-person tables will be available for $30 on weekdays (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) and $40 on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Four-person tables will be available for $60 on weekdays and $80 on weekends. Six-person tables will be available for $90 on weekdays and $120 on weekends. All prices include admission. Travers Day pricing listed separately (see below). Personal coolers and outside food and beverage will not be permitted in the Fourstardave Sports Bar; on-track food and beverage is allowed. The Fourstardave Sports Bar opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All ticket holders must

present a ticket for a wristband upon entry. Reserved seating options in the Fourstardave Sports Bar are available for paid reservation through or by calling the NYRA Box Office at 844-NYRA-TIX. Season pass holders wishing to purchase a table without admission may call the NYRA Box Office.

MILLER LITE PICNIC PADDOCK: The Miller Lite Picnic Paddock is the newly designated name for the section in the backyard at Saratoga Race Course where guests may reserve picnic tables. The Miller Lite Picnic Paddock is comprised of more than 100 picnic tables, which each seat up to six guests, located adjacent to the paddock and offering premier viewing of horses being saddled before a race. Reserved tables in the Miller Lite Picnic Paddock will be available for $60 on weekdays and $90 on weekends, including Fridays. All prices include admission. Travers Day pricing listed separately (see below). Personal coolers are allowed in the reserved picnic area; coolers may contain plastic bottles or cans and are subject to search by NYRA security. Additional chairs, tents and umbrellas are prohibited. For a full list of prohibited items, visit NYRA. com. The reserved picnic area opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m.

on Saturday and Sunday. All ticket holders must present a ticket for a wristband upon entry. Reserved seating options in the picnic area are available for paid reservation through or by calling the NYRA Box Office at 844-NYRA-TIX. Season pass holders wishing to purchase a table without admission may call the NYRA Box Office.


A new offering for the 2017 season will be available in conjunction with the weekly Family Mondays series, which offers free family-friendly activities and entertainment at the Saratoga Pavilion each Monday of the meet. Exclusively available on Monday race days, the "Family Fun Four Pack" includes four Grandstand reserved seats (including admission), four hot dogs, and four 12 oz. beverages for $44. To purchase, contact the NYRA Box Office by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX or via email at


Fans may take advantage of the Saratoga Virtual Venue seating map to digitally preview their seat location and sightlines, as well as table locations in the Fourstardave Sports Bar and reserved picnic area, before purchasing tickets.


Dining reservations for the 2017 season at one

of Saratoga Race Course's restaurants, including the Turf Terrace, Club Terrace and The Porch, are currently available and can be made online at or via the Open Table mobile application. Guests can make dining reservations by searching for Saratoga Race Course and selecting the on-track restaurant of their choice. Guests will be asked to indicate the number of people in their party and preferred date. There is only one 11:30 a.m. seating available per day for each dining location, as the table belongs to the party for the entire afternoon. Guests are asked to claim their table by 1 p.m., the standard first post time for Saratoga. All guests will be required to provide a credit card when making the reservation through OpenTable. Dining reservations at Saratoga Race Course are extremely limited; subject to availability and require a non-refundable seating charge payment. No reservations will be accepted by phone. For more information on dining at Saratoga Race Course, visit


A ticket request form is now available at for groups of 20 or more interested in purchasing Grandstand reserved seats or general admission (subject to availability). Groups of 50 or more save on the regular cost of reserved seating. Additionally, group hospitality space bookings for Saratoga

Race Course are currently available for the following areas: At the Rail Pavilion; Luxury Suites; Paddock Tent; Festival Tent; Big Red Spring Tent; Top of the Stretch; and Easy Goer. Group sales reservations may be made through the NYRA Box Office by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX or via email at


Breakfast at Saratoga is a long-standing tradition. Breakfast is served on The Porch of the Clubhouse, overlooking the morning workouts of the thoroughbreds on the main track each racing day from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Breakfast admission is free (except for Travers Day, Saturday, August 26, when Clubhouse admission fee is required). Trackside parking is refunded for those guests exiting the track by 10 a.m. Mornings at Saratoga also welcome fans to go behind the scenes with a free, guided backstretch tram tour. Tram tours begin at 7:30 a.m. and depart from the clubhouse entrance approximately every 15 minutes through 9 a.m. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are 45 minutes in length.

INFORMATION: For questions about reservations for the 2017 season, contact the NYRA Box Office at (844) NYRA-TIX, via email at or online at

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The all important...


Dress Code PADDOCK SADDLING AREA & WINNER’S CIRCLE: No shorts or abbreviated wear permitted. Gentlemen–collared shirts required. Box Seat Area: No shorts or jeans permitted. Gentlemen – suits or sports jackets required.

TURF TERRACE: Neat casual attire, no jeans, shorts or abbreviated wear permitted. Gentlemen – collared shirts required (Management reserves the right to use its discretion to determine Neat Casual Attire).

AT THE RAIL PAVILION, THE PORCH, CLUB TERRACE & CAROUSEL RESTAURANT: Gentlemen – No tank tops.No short-shorts, cut-offs or abbreviated wear permitted. Proper attire at management’s discretion.

LUXURY SUITES: No abbreviated wear permitted. Gentlemen - No tank tops. Proper attire at management’s discretion.

CLUBHOUSE: No short shorts, cut-offs or abbreviated wear permitted. No tank tops. Proper attire at management’s discretion.

GRANDSTAND: Shirts and shoes required. People 12 years and over must abide by the dress code.

Equicurean | July 2017 | 53



At the Track Make your reservation online with Open Table!

The New York Racing Association, Inc. announced a new digital process for dining reservations during the 2017 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course, which will begin on Friday, July 21 and continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 4. Individual dining reservations will be accepted online at or on the Open Table mobile app. “This digital platform brings ease and convenience to the process of securing a dining reservation at Saratoga Race Course for our guests. Guests will now be able to submit a reservation request on their own timetable rather than wait to phone on a specific date and time,” said New York Racing Association Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer Lynn LaRocca. “As we continue to modernize practices at this historic venue, we hope this process will make it simpler than ever for racing fans to enjoy an afternoon at one of our on-track restaurants this summer.” Following the reservation request, a NYRA dining representative will contact guests to confirm dates, based on availability. Seating charge payment will be required at this time to finalize the reservation. Seating charges are final and non-refundable. Dining reservations are non-transferable. Additionally, full space group hospitality reservations for the 2017 54  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

season at Saratoga Race Course will be available for the following areas: At the Rail Pavilion; Luxury Suites; Paddock Tent; Festival Tent; Big Red Spring Tent; and Top of the Stretch. There is only one 11:30 a.m. seating available per day for each dining location, as the table belongs to the party for the entire afternoon. Guests are asked to claim their table by 1 p.m., the standard first post time for Saratoga. All guests will be required to provide a credit card when making the reservation through OpenTable. Dining reservations at Saratoga Race Course are subject to availability and require a non-refundable seating charge payment. No reservations will be accepted by phone. All dining reservations are sold out for the Grade 1 Travers on Saturday, August 26. Reservations at the Turf Terrace and The Porch are also fully booked for the Grade 1 Whitney on Saturday, August 5 and the Grade 1 Alabama on Saturday, August 19. The Porch is also sold out on Opening Day, Friday, July 21. Group sales reservations will be processed through the NYRA Box Office by phone at (844) NYRA-TIX or via email at For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit

Product Spotlight

“It’s the worldwide brand with hometown roots.”

EMBRACE THE RACE® is the exclusive provider of The Apparel for the Horse Racing Lifestyle® and The Official Apparel of Horse Racing®. With headquarters in downtown Saratoga Springs, EMBRACE THE RACE® offers luxury clothing and accessories for horse racing enthusiasts around the world.

From hats and ties, dresses and polos, sweaters, accessories and more - for men, women and children – there is something for everyone who believes in The Passion of Horse Racing®.

The Passion of Horse Racing® The timeless sense of opportunity and possibilities. The allure and pursuit of achievement. The memories and moments that form a never ending bond among those who share the experience.

Wear What You Love™ Visit the EMBRACE THE RACE® Company Store at 12 Circular Street across from Congress Park and the Holiday Inn, private parking available. Shopping is also available with select Saratoga retailers, online at or call (518) 580-4500 to arrange a private shopping experience.

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  55

National Museum of


191 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs NY 12866 (518) 584-0400 |


Racing Season: Daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Adults Students Senior Citizens (55 and older) Children 5 and under Members

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• • • • •

$10.00 $5.00 $5.00 Free Free

NYRA employees (Please show NYRA identification) Hall of Fame inductees Active United States military personnel and their accompanying family members. (Proper military identification is required) Museum Members. (Please show membership card) Members of the NY Thoroughbred Breeders with membership card/pin Members of AMA (American Museum Association) with card


• •

AAA Discount - Buy one, get one free on adult admissions ($10) Buy one, get one free with Downtown Business Association Card




he racing simulator is a mechanical horse synchronized to move with jockey cam videos. The simulator will enable our visitors to mount up and experience a jockey’s point of view. There are three levels of difficulty: Warm Up, Apprentice, and Jockey. We provide a unique experience that will allow the rider to appreciate a few of the qualities required to be a jockey. However, the ride is physically demanding and is not suitable for everyone. IN ORDER TO USE THE SIMULATOR A VISITOR MUST:

Sign a release

Buy a ticket ($5.00 with a paid museum admission - members ride free)

Be at least 48” tall

Demonstrate the ability to mount the non-motorized equicizer

Wear appropriate clothing – no open-toed shoes are allowed

Jockey Jerry Bailey aboard the racing simulator. The racing simulator is a mechanical horse, synchronized to move with jockeycam videos. It allows visitors to mount up and experience the thrill of racing from the jockey's point of view.


Have a bad back, neck or bone condition

Are pregnant

Have had recent surgery or illness

Have heart trouble

Have high blood pressure

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  57




legend was born one hundred years ago, and his legacy lives on today. Man o' War raced to the pinnacle of American Thoroughbred racing with the help of a handful of fellow Hall of Fame members, including his breeder, trainer and three of his four jockeys.

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Join the National Museum of Racing as we celebrate the centennial of his birth with our newest special exhibition, Man o' War at 100. Featuring photographs and artifacts from the Museum Collection, in addition to items on loan, this exhibition traces the story of the original "Big Red," from his early days on Belmont's Nursery Stud in Lexington, Ky., to his racing days and retirement at Faraway Farm, with emphasis on his Hall of Fame connections and contribution to

the sport of Thoroughbred racing in America. A companion exhibit, Man o' War and the Hall of Fame, is on display in the Museum Lobby. This exhibit features his original breeding shed door from Faraway Farm, on loan to the Museum from Mt. Brilliant Farm, and focuses on his career at stud and his Hall of Fame descendants. On display through December 2018.

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  59


Behind the scenes…

Sunny Hale

Polo primer

Teen polo phenoms

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Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty

General Manager Robin Mitchell

Creative Consultant Chris Vallone Bushee

Creative Director Samantha Simek

Advertising Design Morgan Rook

Advertising Sales Jim Daley Cindy Durfey

Contributing Writers Polo

Alan Edstrom


Mark Bardack Dennis G. Hogan Pat McKenna L.A. Pomeroy Megin Potter Maureen Werther

Photographers Polo

Jordan Craig Dan Heary Ann MacAffer Cliff Oliver


City of Bowie Museums DGH Photo Matt Goins Susie Raisher John Seymour The New England Carousel Museum

Published by

Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (518) 581-2480 Equicurean is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by a ny means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2017, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Photo by Ann MacAffer

4  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

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Contents n Heary Cover photo by Da

14 8


Welcome to Saratoga Polo


Schedule of Events


Polo Primer

22 18

Polo Equipment

34 20

Welcoming the Next Generation


Sunny Hale


Polo Traditions


The Science of Sabrage

38 38

Teen Polo Phenoms

When you’re all done with this side of the magazine, FLIP to see the other side! 6  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  7


Photo by Cliff Oliver


Summer in Saratoga WHEN... • the grass is getting greener • the flowers are blooming • the horses and players are returning to Historic Whitney Field for

Championship Polo! Photo by Cliff Oliver

8  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

Opening Day

on July 7th starts the season off with the

Celebrate Saratoga Tournament

On the Field, Cuko Escapite leads some of the best polo players from across the country and around the world.

IN THE STANDS: • "Friends of Music Saratoga" Night with young talent singing the National Anthem •

Adirondack Thunder Hockey Celebration

Upset, The Dark Horse Mascot from Impressions of Saratoga visits

Sabring some Veuve Clicquot Champagne

...and the Finals of the Opening weekend festivities continues on Sunday July 9th with even more excitement and fun! Pre-sales for this season are already exceeding expectations, with several tournaments already selling out to capacity - and you can get your tickets now at for Clubhouse Seats and Tailgating Spaces.

Photo by Jordan Craig


Throughout the season we'll be celebrating Announcer Bob Bullock's 30th anniversary in the booth with the July 16th Bob Bullock “Voice of Saratoga Polo Association” Cup

During the Veuve Clicquot Challenge Tournament, we'll celebrate the Hodes & Landy 25th Anniversary Cup

The Times Union Presents The Mid-Summer Celebration Tournament on July 28th featuring Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

• ...and at July 30th's Times Union Cup, AIM Services will host the “Best Polo Pooch Contest”so bring your dog out to strut their stuff! •

OrthoNY will be hosting a Match Cup this Season

This year, The Whitney Cup is brought to you by the Adelphi Hotel and the beloved trophy will be brought to the field by Independent Helicopter

This year, the trophies are designed by artist Frankie Flores from Flores Fine Art Gallery and Roger Kaye!

...and lots, lots more every Friday and Sunday July 7th through September 3rd - the gates open at 4 p.m. and the matches begin at 5:30 p.m.! Tickets can be purchased online at, and you can always find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at

Equicurean | July 2017 | 9


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Saratoga Polo Not Your Average Pony Ride!


Don’t Miss the Action! BUY TICKETS

On Line: • Phone: 518.584.8108 • On-Site: Day of Match


Enjoy air-conditioned comfort. Full cash bar and food available from Old Daley Catering.

Individual, family and corporate subscriptions allow you to enjoy a host of benefits including season-long Clubhouse admission. Reserved tailgate spots and box seats are also available. For more details visit us on line or call 518.584.8108.






GEnERal FIElDSIDE ADMISSION Pull your car right up to the action and watch from your tailgate, lawn chairs or picnic blanket.

$30/cARLOAD $50/RESERvED CaRloaD

9 8








a SaR



C So Pol o aS ™

Fridays and Sundays July 7 - September 3 at 5:30pm

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Saratoga Polo


Celebrate Saratoga Tournament "Friends of Music Saratoga" Night
 Adirondack Thunder Hockey Celebration
 Upset, The Dark Horse Mascot


Celebrate Saratoga Tournament


SPA Anniversary Tournament

12  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017


SPA Anniversary Tournament The Bob Bullock “Voice of Saratoga Polo Association” Cup
 Upset, The Dark Horse Mascot


Veuve Clicquot Challenge Tournament 
 Hodes & Landy 25th Anniversary Cup


Veuve Clicquot Challenge Tournament
 The Veuve Clicquot Cup

Photo by Cliff Oliver


The Times Union Presents 
 The Mid-Summer Celebration Tournament
 Featuring Merrill Lynch Wealth Management


The Times Union Presents 
 The Mid-Summer Celebration Tournament 
 The Times Union Cup
 AIM Services Inc “Best Polo Pooch Contest”


The Whitney Cup Tournament presented by the Adelphi Hotel


The Whitney Cup Tournament 
 presented by the Adelphi Hotel


The Barrantes Cup Tournament 
 Featuring Cooked Perfect

Photo by Cliff Oliver


The Ylvisaker Cup Tournament


The Ylvisaker Cup Tournament 
 Upset, The Dark Horse Mascot


Saratoga Special Tournament


Saratoga Special Tournament


The Polo Hall of Fame Tournament


The Polo Hall of Fame Tournament 

Equicurean | July 2017 | 13


14  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017



Also called a period. There are six chukkers in a polo game (four in the Arena Polo), each lasting seven and a half minutes. After six-and-a-half minutes, a bell will sound to indicate 30 seconds remain in the period. At the end of seven and a half minutes of elapsed time, a horn will sound to terminate the period. If the score is tied at the end of last period of play, the game shall be resumed in overtime periods, known as sudden death.

Two mounted umpires (one for each side of the field) consult each other after each infringement and impose a penalty only if they agree. If they do not agree, they ride to the sidelines to confer with the third man, known as the referee.

turn the page

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  15



This occurs when two riders make contact and attempt to push each other off the line of the ball to prevent the other from striking. The horses are the ones intended to do the pushing, although a player may use his body but not his elbows.

Anytime a ball crosses the line between the goal posts, it is considered a goal regardless of whether a horse or mallet causes the ball to go through. In order to equalize wind and turf conditions, the teams change sides after every goal scored.

tail Shot Hitting the ball behind and across the horse’s rump.

tHIRD MAN The referee sitting at the sidelines. If and when the two umpires on the field are in disagreement, the third man makes the final decision. 16  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017

Neck Shot A ball which is hit under the horse’s neck from either side. This is approximately 80 percent of their game.

Throw-In A chukker begins and many plays resume with the umpire bowling the ball between the two ready teams. A ceremonial throw-in is done by a guest at the beginning of the match.

Hook A player may spoil another’s shot by putting his mallct in the way of the striking player. A cross hook occurs when the player reaches over his opponent’s mount in an attempt to hook; this is considered a foul.

POSITIONS Each of the four team members plays a distinctly different position. Since polo is such a fluid game, the players may momentarily change positions, but they will try and return to their initial assignment. No. 1 is the most forward offensive player. No. 2 is just as offensive, but plays deeper and works harder. No. 3 is the pivot player between offense and defense and tries to tum all plays to offense. No. 4, or the back, is the defensive player whose role is principally to protect the goal.

Sideboards Boards that are 9 to II inches along the sidelines. Sideboards are optional.

Mallet Also known as a “stick.” The shaft is made from a bamboo shoot and the head from either the bamboo root or a hardwood such as maple. These vary in length from 48 to 54 inches and are very flexible in comparison to a golf club or hockey stick.

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  17

PoloEquipment Have you ever wondered what is required for the horse and rider to stay safe during a Polo match? HELMET REINS SADDLE






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A mallet, usually 49”-54”consists of the shaft, normally made of a flexible, solid, bamboo-like wood known as Manau (from the palm family of plants) and the head, made of ash or maple. There is also a strap that goes around the player’s wrist.


Just like most contact sports, the helmet is probably the most important part of safety equipment. With the horses moving at an average speed of 40 mph at the ball travelling at a top speed of 100mph, the hard outer shell and cushioned inner layer can prevent head trauma in an unlikely case of an accident.


Usually made of solid plastic 3 to 3 ½ inches in diameter and 3 ½ to 4 ½ ounces in weight. For many years they were made of wood, but because of their fragile nature, would often split in two.


Often made from shock resistant resin and leather.


All of these pieces of equipment protect the lower legs of the horse. Wraps are fabric pieces wound around the lower leg of the horse, and the boots are often leather.


This is looped over the horse's head and ears to support the bit in the mouth.


This band is looped across the forehead to prevent the bridle from slipping backward.


A metal mouthpiece helps to direct the horse.


Helps to stop the horse from avoiding the bit.


Helps to stop the bridle from slipping.


The reins are attached to the bit rings.

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Penelope Miller: Welcoming the Next Equestrian Generation WRITTEN BY ALAN EDSTROM


If there was a point in her life that didn’t have a horse in it, Penelope Miller doesn’t remember it.

If she wasn’t riding horses, as a kid, she was reading about horses. “Happier on a horse than on my feet, that’s what I always said.” she exclaimed during a recent conversation.

It makes sense that this passion for the sport has led to her role in promoting everything equine as the Senior Manager of Digital Media for America's Best Racing. “A Horse Crazy Kid, that’s what my family would call me – and I’m sure they could have predicted that I would be so involved with the Thoroughbred industry for most of my life so far. My goal is to make sure that the great sport of horse racing is enjoyed by people all over the nation.”

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right….and just this year, her father, Leverett S. Miller was inducted into the National Polo Museum and Hall of Fame. More than anything else, it is Penelope’s aunt, Marylou Whitney, who has been a guiding force in helping Penelope understand that Saratoga is defined by traditions, “As we grow, this city has remained relevant while maintaining its historic charm with an incredible balance between the past and the future.” “I’m very lucky to have a familial connection that adds even more because it’s extraordinarily personal….it feels like home. It’s beyond humbling to pass the passion to new generations.” “My motto about Saratoga and the equestrian legacy that we share is this…experience it once and love it forever. To know it is to love it!”

In the best of all worlds, life-long passions should become careers, and Penelope has tried all aspects of the horse industry – from training retired thoroughbreds, as a hunter/jumper, polo, and everything in between. The Saratoga Season has always been a major focus of her life, having only missed one summer when she was working in Australia. “For horse-lovers, Saratoga is this paradise filled with wonderful people from all over the world coming here. I remember staying up late and snooping on my parents getting ready for parties, and playing dress-up. Seeing people making a celebration of this city for two months every year – it’s a magical place truly unlike anywhere else in the world – so wonderful.” This world became so appealing that she wanted to find a way to bring this excitement to her peers and younger audiences, so she began working with the Jockey Club to bring this world to people not exposed the way she was. Showcasing with SPAC, Lake George, Saratoga Polo, Saratoga Race Course and the lifestyle - the region is what’s appealing to this demographic. “It’s accessible but far enough away from the crowds of New York City, and the major metropolitan centers. It’s also amazing how the digital media-savvy audiences embrace what we have always loved about this town. The new crowds see Saratoga as being ultimately ‘Instagram-able’. “ Much like polo, the social part of all the equestrian events is extremely appealing. “We have found that for millennials and younger audiences – the social aspect draws them in, and the connection to animals makes that connection even stronger – we have made that a focus of what we do at America’s Best Racing.” And now, with the introduction of social media and live streaming on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, and more, these strong tools have allowed Penelope to share everything that surrounds an event instantaneously and see how it grows audiences exponentially. Having lived her life surrounded by a horse-loving family and the history of the sport in Saratoga helps to instill the passion that Penelope passes along every day. That legacy includes some of the greats in equestrian sports including her great grandfather, Harry Payne Whitney - who helped to revive the Saratoga Race Course and was a legendary 10 goal polo player and namesake of the Saratoga Polo Association Field. Penelope’s uncle, Cornelius Vanderbilt (Sonny) Whitney, was also an avid racing enthusiast and phenomenal polo player in his own

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his winter, everyone involved with Saratoga Polo was heartbroken at the loss of our dear friend, Sunny Hale.

Not only was she the greatest female polo player in history, she was a staunch advocate and inspiration for the next generations of polo players. She was generous with her time, her passions, and her soul.

“If you ever wondered what was out there in the world, I encourage you to take adventures every day. There are some amazing things you will find.” – SUNNY HALE

As a sports role model, she was a constant welcoming presence at Saratoga Polo Association, always willing to say yes to whatever helped the sport of polo, the support of women on the field, and communicating to young people to never give up on their dreams. Sunny Hale understood the Whitney Field history and legacy and took it to heart whenever she was on the turf, at the trophy stand, or while spending every minute with young people long after the last chukker was played. We will miss Sunny because of the joy she brought to our lives and the passion she so graciously offered to everyone around her. Saratoga and the lives of her fans have been made richer for having shared the field with Sunny Hale, and each time we step out into the world, we’ll look for all those amazing adventures. 22  |  Equicurean  |  July 2017 20161213_SP_Ads_LivePassionately.indd 1

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ll sports have traditions, but few have ones as unique and interactive as the game of Polo. With traditions that bring the spectators onto the field and make them part of the experience, Polo offers something for everyone.

Head out to the Historic Whitney Field this summer for the 119th anniversary season at Saratoga Polo and share in the festivities, some old, some new. To help make the most of your visit we have some fun facts and tips about what to expect…

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The Divot Stomp Brought to you by The Pink Paddock

Photos by Cliff Oliver


erhaps the most widely known polo tradition is the ceremonial stomping of the divots.

What is a divot? It is a mound of earth that has been torn up by the horse’s hooves as they gallop down the field, upwards of 40 miles per hour.

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Photo by Cliff Oliver

Photo by Jordan Craig

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During half-time of a match, spectators are invited to go onto the field not only to help replace the mounds, but to walk about, socialize, and take in the scene. “It’s the equivalent of asking the people in the stands at a baseball game to fix the infield during a game,” said Alan Edstrom, Director of Events at Saratoga Polo. “It’s also a great civilized way for people to meet, drink and know that they are helping the match move along safely. I’ll bet you won’t get that at Yankee Stadium!” Photo by Cliff Oliver

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  29



Tailgating T

here are two distinct sides to the field at Saratoga Polo:

The Clubhouse side, where guests are seated in the shade of a pavilion. There the guests are more likely to get dressed in their finest summer attire, and order food from the wait staff. and… The Tailgating side where guests pile into a car, pull up to the edge of the field, unpack their chairs, dining room tables, and a smorgasbord of picnic goodies that sometimes rivals the feast at a king’s supper, sometimes with fashion to match.

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Photo by Jordan Craig

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The tailgating tradition at polo is quite different than other sports. Unlike baseball and football where your party is isolated in parking lots, polo lets you stretch out on the green grass and host your party on the edge of the field. You’ll also see a vast spectrum of everything from man-cave inspired barbecues and Great Gatsby themed picnics, to luaus with costumed party-goers. At Saratoga Polo, the fans let their imaginations go wild, …and if you want the best of both worlds, come several times, and party on both sides of the field!

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Photo by Cliff Oliver

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The Science of SABRAGE


fter a polo match, everyone looks forward to celebrating a victory with bottle after bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, and joy is in the air. But leave it to polo aficionados to focus on a ceremony that combines a little bit of the bubbly with the flair of a sword, and leave it to a strong willed woman, Barbe Nicole Ponsardin – aka Veuve Clicquot, to use this “Sabrage” technique to promote her family’s Champagne in such theatrical style almost two hundred years ago.

Over the years, hundreds of polo fans at Whitney Field have experienced the art of the sabrage, but very few have said “Hey, what’s the science behind the sabrage?”


Well, here you go… While the sabrage that was done by Madame Clicquot was more of a slicing the top off the bottle, the technique that guests at Saratoga Polo use is a little more nuanced. The technique that George DuPont and Brenda Lynn from the National Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame taught Saratoga Polo’s Managing Partner Jim Rossi uses an ice cold bottle, the carbonation of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne and the alignment of the sword along the bottles’ seam to literally crack the glass and pop the cork.

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Chill the Veuve Clicquot in a bucket of ice.


Take the bottle of Veuve Clicquot out of the bucket and hold it by the bottom indentation.


Photo by Jordan Craig

Grab your sabrage sword by the hilt and align the back edge of the blade on the bottle, using the seam of the bottle as a guide.

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In one swift move, sweep the sword towards the bottle lip.

If done correctly, the little crack will unleash the carbonation that has been warming up in the Veuve Clicquot, and the locked down cage will propel the cork and glass bottle lip forward. If ANY of these steps aren’t followed correctly, you’ll either have to try the sword move several times (in front of fans), or walk away with a smashed bottle and spilled champagne (and what a terrible shame THAT would be!). Saratoga Polo invites all its guests to join us as we present this art of the victory on legendary Whitney Field, and salute what Barbe Nicole Ponsardin made popular in the tradition that Veuve Clicquot continues today, with the opportunity to sabre a bottle at a match.

Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  37

© Jordan Craig

Hannah and

Her Sister Teen Polo Phenoms Busting the Sport Wide Open in Saratoga



ast year, polo legend Sunny Hale wanted to introduce the world to the next generation of up-and-coming polo stars and she chose Saratoga as the stage. She brought along a high school rising junior from Maryland named Hannah Reynolds and her younger sister, Olivia, to play.

For most people that age, being thrown into “the big leagues” like that would be a frightening experience, but Sunny knew talent and poise when she saw it, and mentored them through the experience. The two young women came through with flying colors — along with a few black and blue marks as a testament to their summer adventures.

This season, Hannah and Olivia (better known as Boo to her polo pals) are back in Saratoga and we had a chance to talk with them about what it’s like to play here while juggling a normal teenage life, and what it means to continue the legacy of their mentor Sunny Hale, who passed away while battling cancer this past winter. When asked about what coming to Saratoga to play polo was like last year, Hannah took a breath and giggled. “Everyone on the field was great, and the crowd was unlike anything we’ve ever been a part of – they were so welcoming, and big, and loud,” she said. “As soon as we hit the field, I felt like it was a football crowd. It was like – crazy. It was super-fun and nice.” “Getting ready for coming up here (for the first time), it was ‘I don’t know what to do’” Hannah added. Boo chimed in: “We over-packed – definitely.” 38  |  Equicurean  |  July 2016

After a knowing chuckle, and a look that only an older sister can give, Hannah remembered “We were freaking out, but as soon as we got on the field, (we thought) these are awesome people, and let’s just play some polo!” We asked the Reynolds sisters, who have been playing polo for seven years, if they were conscious of being treated like little girls, invading what is typically a maledominated sport. Hannah thought about it and said “I feel like any place we go to, it always seems that way at first, but by the second chukker, it comes down to just playing on the field. You have to let them know that what you do is as serious as what they think they’re doing.” As an example, Hannah told this story about her first match at Saratoga. “I was playing against Gregorio Simiones last year, and I

hit him. He kind of just looked at me and kind of laughed, so I came back and hit him again and he was like “OK, that’s the way it’s going to be, huh?” “Here in Saratoga, it’s not like anywhere else: good players are good players. In other places, like Florida, Boo and I come in, and they’re like ‘Great. A girl. Let’s make her kind of just wander up and down the field, kind of like for a photo’ — until they realize that we’re a big part of the team. It’s about either winning or losing and their attitude changes. But here in Saratoga, everyone meshes and it’s great.” Last year, Boo got to play during the final few weeks of the season, when there were four sold-out crowds. She even got to compete against her sister. “That last game — it was the best game we’ve ever played against each other. I was scared, and a little intimidated” “It was pretty awesome,” Hannah jumped in. “I actually had fun losing to Boo.” When talking to Boo and Hannah, they are so poised and sophisticated that you almost forget that, while they are two of the best young polo players around, they are still teenagers. Which made us wonder about what it must be like to go back to high school after such an intense summer. “It was great to be able to do nothing but focus on the horses, the players, and the sport, and nothing else got in the way,” Hannah said. “I felt like being in Saratoga made me more open to other people. I’m actually a lot more outgoing and (open to) trying more things back home because of my experiences here. And that’s been really cool.” “Plus, at Garrison Forest School (in Maryland), where I am the captain (of the polo team), we won a National Interscholastic Championship in a shootout. So that was great, too.” Cuko Escapite, Saratoga Polo Association’s club manager, and dear friend to Sunny, has been working with the sisters throughout the winter season. He mentored them to thrive in the interscholastic and outdoor field tournaments, helping them to reclaim their school’s US Polo Association Girls’ National Interscholastic Championship Finals this past April against the Maryland Polo Club. “He has helped us a ton. We couldn’t do things like this without him,” Hannah said. Boo takes the rush of winning an interscholastic national championship, as well as playing polo in Saratoga, all in stride. “Being here in Saratoga (has) changed me, definitely, and winning Nationals opened doors for me. Being

a freshman (in high school) next year, it’s going to be very exciting.” “At school, people really don’t know what we do,” she continued. “(Polo) is not a common sport like lacrosse, but when I talk about it, they’re like ‘It sounds cool’, and some people even come to matches.” “I don’t talk about polo a lot in school because we have (been given) different opportunities than the other kids. We have a different relationship with the teachers, who really think it’s awesome, and support us a lot.” Hannah is a little guarded when talking about her polo experiences with her peer group. “We don’t really say much, and until this year, our friends never came to matches,” she said. “We slowly started talking about Saratoga, and some of them are interested in coming out here. It’s not like they don’t care, but polo really isn’t as big a deal in Maryland” Boo laughed and said, “You know, here in the summer, we’re like ‘the polo girls.’ But back during the regular year, we’re just ‘ohthose-girls-who-live-on-the-farm’.” “I know, right?” Hannah added, “But for my friend groups, we’re just like normal teenage girls — you know: ‘ya just wanna haaang out?’ I don’t hide it, but in the winter I’m just Hannah.” Being teenage polo phenoms is one thing, but going to school is a big part of who they are. Hannah talked about working at a gallery. But not just any gallery — the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. This past winter, she did an intense series of full-day classes, where she and other students shadowed museum professionals and did projects where they would analyze two works of art that were 100 years apart and look at how the works changed in style, substance and technique. The student group would then present in front of the staff and professors at the gallery.

© Jordan Craig

She loves creating using gouache, ink, or charcoal, and feels it allows her to take everyday problems at school or life and channel them into her art. One of the painters that influences her passion is African-American artist Kerry James Marshall. Hannah sees the silhouettes in his paintings as a way to let people put their own feelings and emotions into the work, devoid of race, or anything else. Boo is interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and animal science, saying that she’s not as artistically inclined as Hannah. Boo even got a chance to hear engineers talk about Equicurean  |  July 2017  |  39

careers in STEM in Washington, DC, on a school trip last December.

the opportunity comes up to play pro polo, we’ll have to take it into account.”

Inspired by this trip, she would love to work with NASA or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), but also focusing on working with horses. Engineering is one of the things that gets her excited in life, even to the point of re-designing farm tools to make life easier. One project she worked on was designing a ramp to make it easier for Hannah to pick up manure. Like the TV character MacGuyver, she uses whatever she can find around the barn to solve a challenge.

This past winter, one of Hannah and Boo’s biggest mentors, Sunny Hale, passed away due to complications from cancer. It hit Team Reynolds like a brick, affected Hannah, if for nothing else, the fact that “she’s not going to be around as a mentor and friend.”

“There’s a lot of pressure living up to Hannah’s legacy,” Boo said, with a hint of sarcasm. But then added, “I want to do things for me and not just because Hannah did it. People will recognize me as not just Hannah’s sister, which is fine, but I want to make my own mark – do my own thing.” Behind every teenager, there’s a mom encouraging them on. “Our Mom (Cheryl) is the backbone of what we do, supporting us in every way,” Boo says with a sincerity beyond her years. “She’s always finding ways to make us better and finding new opportunities. She’s the one who introduced us to polo.” Hannah remembers, “We were like ‘this is dangerous, this is crazy’ and she was like, ‘no, just try it, just try it’ and all the while, she herself never played, maybe just some Western riding.”

Above: Hannah spending time with the kids. Below: Hannah and Sunny at the flat track.

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Sunny Hale opened so many doors for Hannah, and welcomed her to Saratoga. Sunny was going to bring her on the Women’s World Tour as one of the next generation of women’s players. “Sunny was the kind of person who would spend the time, inviting us to Florida, and around the world,” Hannah said. “She was just so inspirational in general. When she passed away, I could only just watch all of her videos. I kind of dove into her life, recapping what were the good points and what were the bad points and how she handled it.” “She said that competition and challenges are always going to arise because they’re out there to get you. She taught me not to fight back — keep yourself level-headed because then you have the power. Otherwise they do.” “People try and make you upset and rattle you, that’s what Sunny said to me,” Hannah recalled about her mentor. “But you can’t give up that power to them. Why waste your power on them – something that’s not going to change — take a step back. People are always going to talk, so get perspective of what’s important to you.”

“There are times that we need space,” she continued. “I mean, we’re a house full of girls – but she’s doing it because she loves us. “I also remember Sunny taking time with We kind of owe everything to her. She works the kids. Because she would do that with her butt off to let us do things like this.” me, I want to do that for the kids in honor Boo added in, “She always is there to of Sunny. Every time I go out onto the field, remind us ‘You are not bigger than the earth.’ just this little part of what I do is going to be We know that if we don’t keep ourselves for her – for Sunny. Every day, I’m going to in check, all these things can be yanked make myself a little better for her.” away. Yeah, she’s strict, and we can get very After a deep breath, she summed it all up, egotistical, but we know when she walks “And you know, she didn’t have to do all she into the house, we have to say, ‘OK, OK… did, but she did, and I do it for her.” sorry. Got it.’” Finally, when asked what they are looking Hannah put the final word about Mom this way, forward to most in Saratoga, Boo and Hannah “We love her to death, and every day we try and answered enthusiastically, “Meeting new get up earlier and do something for her.” people and making new connections, and we The sisters want to go to college, because love places like Uncommon Grounds!” polo is a rough sport, with some career “Definitely, the horses and playing are fun, uncertainty and injuries. “It’s NOT easy, and but it’s about the people, and they’re just there’s so much behind the scenes that takes genuinely kind and nice, asking questions up your time,” said Hannah. “My mom and I that require attention. And we’re happy to both know that college is for academics, and take it all in.” we both know that once you’re in school, you’re not going to be able to fall back into mom’s arms. You’re on your own, which is good. Whatever happens, happens, and if

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Equicurean 2017  

Equicurean Magazine, starting with the Thoroughbred side. This double-sided magazine is for both Thoroughbred and Polo enthusiasts! Featurin...

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