Equicurean: The Belmont Edition

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THE HORSES, THE PEOPLE, THE LIFESTYLE BELMONT 2024 ® the belmont edition Complimentary



We at Saratoga Publishing are pleased to present our homage to the first of two years that the Belmont Stakes will be hosted by our home track, the Grande Dame of North American racing ovals – our own Saratoga Race Course.

The Belmont was first run in 1867, won by the great bay f!lly, Ruthless. (Ruthless was the first of three fillies who’ve won the race, so far.) The 2023 Belmont was taken by the beautiful gray Arcangelo, who graces our cover. Bay or gray, female or male – only the best of the best dare to go up against the rest in The Belmont.

(Regardless of where it’s held.)

The winner of this Belmont at Saratoga will probably surprise us: while the Belmont is known as the test of the champion – Saratoga is the graveyard of champions. (As you’ll read in L.A. Sokolowski’s piece on pp 36-40.)

Thank you! Like everything else in Life – there’s no such thing as a Sure Thing.

We wish you a joyous four days of celebrating the magnificent Thoroughbreds who’ll grace our track, and the camaraderie of like-minded companions. If you bet, bet wisely. If you win – good for you! (If you don’t win - hey, it’s just money.)

Welcome to The Belmont at Saratoga!

See you back here in July!


Chad Beatty


Marion E. Altieri


Aimee Davis


Kelly Schoonbeck


Chris Vallone Bushee

Jim Daley

Cindy Durfey


Marion E. Altieri

Brien Bouyea

William G. Gotimer, Jr.

Joe Raucci

L.A. Berry

Chad Beatty


Adam Coglianese / NYRA

George Adams

Susan Blackburn Photography

Samantha Bosshart

Brien Bouyea

COADY MEDIA / Arabian Jockey Club

Chelsea Durand

Dan Heary

Lane’s End Farm

National Museum of Racing

Susie Raisher

Joe Raucci

Saratoga Automobile Museum

L.A. Berry

Super Source Media Studios


2254 Route 50 South

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866



Equicurean® is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY, 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 any means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2023. Saratoga TODAY Newspaper.

COVER PHOTO Dan Heary/ Eclipse Sportswire
6 | EQUICUREAN: BELMONT | 2024 SARATOGATODAYNEWSPAPER.COM CONTENTS EQUICUREAN® the belmont edition THE HORSES, THE PEOPLE, THE LIFESTYLE SUMMER 2024 8 The Grand Dame of American Racetracks 12 Snapshot from History 14 ONLY 13 Triple Crown Winners in 99 years 16 Stakes Races 21 Purse Schedule 24 Conformation: Arcangelo 26 The Belmont Jewel 28 Belmont On Broadway 34 Americans, Meet the Arabian Horse 36 Saratoga: Graveyard of Champions 41 Fashion 48 Did You Know... Saratoga Race Course 52 Home Field Advantage 56 Saratoga: An Equine Destination 60 Enzo Ferrari: an Obsession with Speed 62 See You Back Here in July Decorating? If you’re in search of the perfect piece for your home, or a snapshot of racing history, we have the answer! For classic racing photography for purchase, visit… www.bobcoglianesephotos.com or www.etsy.com/shop/horseracingphotos

SARATOGA: The Grand Dame of

A merican R acetracks


1863, the Civil War was raging throughout the southern states.

North of the Mason-Dixon line, the war seemed far away. The economy was flourishing in the industrialized northeast. In a magical place called Saratoga, plans were being finalized for a Thoroughbred race meet

The town had everything necessary for the venture to be successful. A relatively new form of transportation, the passenger train, made it possible to make the trip from New York City to Saratoga before nightfall. The mineral springs had long made The Spa a wellknown vacation destination. Lodging and restaurants were readily available. (e.g., The Grand Union and United States Hotels on Broadway were marvels of architectural design, and luxury accommodations.)

The idea of bringing horse racing here was the brainchild of John Morrissey, a former bare- knuckles boxing champion and a well-known proprietor of gambling establishments throughout the New York area. He had the know-how, and the necessary bankroll to follow through with his grand plan.

On August 3rd, 1863, Morrissey launched the inaugural four-day Saratoga race meet. It was held at Horse Haven, on the north side of Union Avenue - now the location of the Oklahoma training track. Later that year, he formed a partnership with investors led by


William R. Travers and Leonard Jerome. Both had made great fortunes on Wall Street: they also owned and raced Thoroughbred racehorses. The trio were about to make history: they purchased property on Union Avenue directly across from the Oklahoma. A one-mile racetrack was built, and a grandstand was built to accommodate patrons.

August 3rd, 1864, was Opening Day at the new Saratoga Race Course: the first race was the inaugural running of the Travers Stakes. Named for co-owner William Travers, it was apropos that his racehorse Kentucky won the event. The week-long meet was a resounding success.

The early years of racing here saw its share of ups and downs: at the turn of the 20th Century, the track was on the decline.

William C. Whitney, one of the wealthiest individuals in the country and a horse racing enthusiast, purchased the racetrack with a group of investors in 1901. Whitney allocated over $1 Million (a huge sum in that era), into revitalizing the property. The main track was lengthened to 9 F (9 Furlongs = 1 1/8 mile.) The grandstand and clubhouse were refurbished, and the grounds given more curb appeal. Whitney is considered by many as the Savior of Saratoga Race Course.

racetrack as it appeared in the Whitney years


The Champion, Colin appeared at The Spa in 1907. The two-year-old juggernaut steamrolled his opposition in both the Grand Union Hotel Stakes and the Saratoga Special on his way to an unbeaten career. It is not a stretch to consider Colin as America’s first 20th Century horseracing superstar.

In 1911 the revival of an old law prohibiting gambling on horseracing in New York effectively closed every track in the State. For two years (1911-1912), racing was prohibited. (This affected not just the tracks, but also a large piece of the State’s economics. Many professions suffered.)

The ban was overturned in 1913, when racing resumed at Belmont Park on May 30th. Approximately 35,000 fans lauded the return of racing. (Along with a strange form of oral betting that would skirt the rules for more than two decades.) Renewed popularity of the sport was on the rise through the First World War.

In 1919, Man o’ War made his Saratoga debut in his juvenile season. After an easy score in his first start, he was defeated in the Sanford Memorial Stakes by a appropriately-named colt, Upset. The shocking result would be the only blemish on Man o’ War’s otherwiseflawless career. “Big Red” as he was known, went on

to win five of his six starts here, including the 1920 Travers Stakes. His renown has weathered the test of time: to this day he is considered by many to be one of the greatest American Thoroughbreds, ever.

In the 1930s, the country was mired in the Depression, yet Saratoga thrived during the racing season despite the hard times. (Beautiful horses, racing = a welcome distraction.)

Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox opened the decade, losing to longshot Jim Dandy in the 1930 Travers Stakes.

Two more Triple Crown winners, Omaha and War Admiral, raced at The Spa later in the decade. Omaha made appearances twice in 1934, his juvenile season. He failed to reach the winner’s circle on both occasions. In his final campaign of 1938, War Admiral swept all four of his starts here. The ‘30s were over.

The ‘40s started out with a bang: Calumet Farm’s great champion, Whirlaway romped home in the 1941 Travers Stakes. He became the only racehorse to win the August headliner and the Triple Crown. The track was temporarily closed due to wartime travel constraints from 1943-45; the races were shifted to Belmont for those years.

August edition

In the of Equicurean, we will take a look at Saratoga from its 1946 rebirth through the present.

Stay tuned.


SNAPSHOT from History

Big Red (Secretariat) not only clocked the best cumulative time during his 1973 Triple Crown campaign, but he holds the record time for each of the Triple Crown races — 1:59.40 in the Kentucky Derby, 1:53:00 in the Preakness, and 2:24 in the Belmont.

A look back at racing history’s thirteen horses that have achieved the Triple Crown:

Justify 2018

American Pharoah 2015

Affirmed 1978

Seattle Slew 1977

Secretariat 1973

Citation 1948

Assault 1946

Count Fleet 1943

Whirlaway 1941

War Admiral 1937

Omaha 1935

Gallant Fox 1930

Sir Barton 1919

American Pharoah was the 12th Triple Crown winner in history, and in winning all four races, became the first horse to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing!

by Susie Raisher, courtesy of

Photo NYRA.

2024 Summer Season

Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival

June 29 & 30 New York City Ballet

July 9 - 13

Philadelphia Orchestra July 31- August 17 Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

June 16 - August 18

June 29 Lake Street Dive Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival June 30 Norah Jones Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival July 11 & 13 Contemporary Choreography New York City Ballet August 7 An Evening With John Legend The Philadelphia Orchestra August 16 Yo-Yo Ma Plays Dvořák The Philadelphia Orchestra For more information and tickets, visit SPAC.ORG SARATOGATODAYNEWSPAPER.COM EQUICUREAN: BELMONT | 2024 | 13



13 Triple Crown Winners in 99 years Only

How soon – or long – until we see the coronation of #14?

Sir Barton was the first horse to win the Triple Crown, in 1919. Since then, only 12 other Thoroughbreds have achieved this highest honor. Will we see the 14 th in this generation?

The Belmont Stakes honors August Belmont Sr., a leading banker and racing scion of the 19th Century. The race was first run in 1867: it is the oldest of the Triple Crown events, and one of the oldest stakes races in North America. The Belmont moved around until finally it settled in at the new Belmont Park in 1905. The race has been run on Big Sandy, Belmont’s formidable, deep track until this year. (The Belmont Stakes will be in residence here at Saratoga Race Course until it moves back home to Belmont following its reconstruction.)

Long-ago dubbed The Test of a Champion, the Belmont Stakes is the race that has secured the Triple Crown for only 12 other horses since Sir Barton’s victorious romp in 1919.

After Sir Barton, only Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault and Citation in 1948. Then—25 dry years passed, an entire generation -- before Secretariat's startling world record, 31-length victory in 1973. Seattle Slew undefeated sweep of the series in ’77 endeared him to millions of fans. And Affirmed's ’78 win by a nose over his rival, Alydar was a thrilling ride for all. These conquests enshrined these 13 into the exclusive Pantheon of Triple Crown Winners. Thirteen Belmont Stakes, 13 Champions: will there be a 14 th any time soon?

Watch and wait, for confirmation that races are not won by strategy, or the will of humans - but by that thing we race fans call, Heart.

Julie Krone and Colonial Affair Belmont Stakes 1993 Credit: Adam Coglianese / NYRA Citation Belmont Stakes 1948
Photo credit: NYRA and Adam Coglianese


Stakes Schedule

The 2024 Belmont Stakes will be run on Saturday, June 8 at Saratoga Race Course. The four-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will include 24 stakes races with purses totaling over $10 million.


RACE GRADE PURSE RESTRICTIONS SURFACE DISTANCE Belmont Gold Cup II $250,000 4&UP Turf 2 Miles Astoria $150,000 F2YO Dirt 5 1/2 Furlongs Jersey Girl $150,000 F3YO Dirt 6 Furlongs Tremont $150,000 2YO Dirt 5 1/2 Furlongs 16 | EQUICUREAN: BELMONT | 2024 SARATOGATODAYNEWSPAPER.COM
Fourstardave, The Sultan of Saratoga | Credit NYRA/Adam Coglianese


SARATOGATODAYNEWSPAPER.COM EQUICUREAN: BELMONT | 2024 | 17 RACE GRADE PURSE RESTRICTIONS SURFACE DISTANCE New York Presented by Rivers Casino I $750,000 F&M 4&UP Turf 1 3/16 DK Horse Acorn I $500,000 F3YO Dirt 1 1/8 Just a Game I $500,000 F&M 4&UP Turf 1 Mile Intercontinental Presented by MTV Solutions II $200,000 F&M 4&UP Turf 5 1/2 Furlongs



RACE GRADE PURSE RESTRICTIONS SURFACE DISTANCE Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets I $2,000,000 3YO Dirt 1 1/4 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap (BC) I $1,000,000 3&UP Dirt 1 Mile Resorts World Casino Manhattan I $1,000,000 4&UP Turf 1 3/16 Ogden Phipps Presented by Ford (BC) I $500,000 F&M 4&UP Dirt 1 1/8 Jaipur Presented by Resolute Racing (BC) I $500,000 3&UP Turf 5 1/2 Furlongs Woody Stephens Presented by Mohegan Sun I $500,000 3YO Dirt 7 Furlongs True North Presented by F.W. Webb II $350,000 4&UP Dirt 6 1/2 Furlongs Suburban II $350,000 4&UP Dirt 1 1/4 Poker III $350,000 4&UP Turf 1 Mile
Hall of Fame Trainer/Legend, D. Wayne Lukas Credit NYRA/Adam Coglianese Rachel Alexandra winning the Woodward, 2009 Credit, Susie Raisher



“…the unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable CIGAR!" (quote, Tom Durkin) Credit NYRA/Adam Coglianese BEFORE GOD THOUGHT OF TREES, IT'S SAID, HIS MIND WAS ON THE “ “ -Paul Mellon THOROUGHBRED.
I $150,000 4&UP Turf 2 3/8 Commentator (NYB) $200,000 3&UP Dirt 1 1/8 Critical Eye (NYB) $200,000 F&M 3&UP Dirt 1 1/8 Kingston (NYB) $125,000 4&UP Turf 1 1/16 Mount Vernon (NYB) $125,000 F&M 4&UP Turf 1 Mile Mike Lee (NYB) $125,000 3YO Dirt 7 Furlongs Bouwerie (NYB) $125,000 F3YO Dirt 7 Furlongs
R. Steinman (Steeplechase)

Racing Festival Purse Schedule

The races are BIG, the venue is BIG, and the purses are BIG!

“The 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will offer purse levels commensurate with the stature and importance of this historic event,” said Andrew Offerman, NYRA Senior Vice President of Racing and Operations. “Beyond the appeal of Saratoga Race Course, these overnight purses should further incentivize participation in what is sure to be a thrilling edition of the Festival.”

Open maiden special weights will feature a purse increase of $10,000 to $100,000, while New York-bred maiden special weights will also enjoy a $10,000 increase to offer a purse of $85,000.

The open non-winners of two category will be increased by $13,000 to offer a purse of $115,000, while the non-winners of one category will be upped by $10,000 for a purse of $110,000. The New York-bred non-winners of one category will be boosted by $10,000 to $90,000.

NYRA previously announced the purse of the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets will increase from $1.5 million to $2 million in 2024. In addition, NYRA has increased the purse of the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Manhattan from $750,000 to $1 million and boosted the Grade 1 New York presented by Rivers Casino from $600,000 to $750,000.


Additional graded events enjoying purse increases are the Grade 3 Poker from $200,000 to $350,000, along with $100,000 increases to the purses of the Grade 1 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun, the Grade 1 Jaipur presented by Resolute Racing and the Grade 2 True North presented by F. W. Webb. Accordingly, the Woody Stephens and Jaipur will offer a purse of $500,000, with the True North rising to $350,000.

Highlighted by the 156th edition of the Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday, June 8, the 2024 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will include 24 stakes races with purses totaling 10.25 million, the highest purse levels and number of stakes offered since the launch of the multi-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival in 2014.

For more information on the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, please visit BelmontStakes.com.

Hall of Fame Trainer LeRoy Jolley | Credit: NYRA / Adam Coglianese

Conformation: Arcangelo

Sometimes, It’s about Apples and Trees.

Many people make a point to bet on Gray horses. Grays comprise only a small percentage of all Thoroughbreds; thus, they stan out when they step onto the track.

Every single Gray Thoroughbred on Earth can trace their color directly to a common ancestor, an Arabian born c. 1712 in England: Alcock’s Arabian. The Gray follows through an unbroken line from Alcock’s Arabian to every Gray in 2024, including Arcangelo. Legendary Trainer, Federico Tesio, observed that Alcock’s Arabian’s influence on the breed was so great, that the stallion should be considered the fourth Foundation Sire.

Photo Credit: Lane's End Farm

Grays come in a variety of shades: sometimes dotted, spotted, or otherwise marked, blending shades of Gray, Black and White. Like the myth of the snowflake, no two Gray Thoroughbreds are exactly alike. (A rare near-exception: the uncanny resemblance of Arcangelo and his Sire, Arrogate. The mighty multimillionaire was named the IFHA Longines’ World’s Best Racehorse for two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017.)

Some people are drawn to Grays, like moths to flame. Hence, Conformation becomes an important factor when choosing a racehorse. (A true lover of Grays might be tempted to buy the horse simply because of the enchanting color.) Conformation – the way in which a horse’s physical construction conforms to established standards -- in concert with Pedigree, are two of the most important factors when bidding or outright buying any Thoroughbred, but especially a Yearling.

Conformation - the way the parts all work together, prepare a horse for doing his job: that of running quickly, with great efficiency. Human beauty is relative— every culture and every individual has standards of beauty that may not jive with those of anyone else. Not so in the equine world. Pedigree is a useful tool, but Conformation is of the utmost importance: Thoroughbreds must be able to run fast, with grace – for grace of movement actually is a factor in the science of winning races. Long, elegant strides are the domain of those who win purses, while jackrabbit runners are far-less likely to take the day. This is a most egalitarian concept: a Thoroughbred doesn't win a race because s/he is liked better by the stewards or race announcer. No one votes on who should win—or the Triple Crown would be achieved every year.

A Thoroughbred must cross the finish line first to win a race. Period.

Equine conformation follows a simple principle, that form follows function.

Whether a horse's main function is to run fast in order to win a race, or to escape predators in the wild west—the equine form has been "fearfully and wonderfully made" to accommodate that most basic of instincts.

The machinery that gives a Thoroughbred his locomotion—the self-powered, patterned motion of limbs and other anatomical parts—is vitally essential, from the core. A horse may be appealing to the eye, but if the parts aren't strung together in a way that facilitates smooth action and a long stride—beauty means nothing.

(The measuring stick for conformation: a perfect square should be formed by the horse’s legs, back and

distance between the hooves. A distasteful thought, but if you can envision a Thoroughbred with its head cut off at the neck—that squareness, or lack thereof, will be revealed.)

Many factors go into the study of conformation: yes, it's about musculature, skeletal structure and mass. But it's the way those physical attributes come together with the spirit of the horse—that one unquantifiable factor— that determines the horse's chances of becoming a Champion. Energy must overcome drag, inertia and gravity, and that is achieved by the mechanical workings of the biological attributes of the horse. Even the fact that horses are unguligrade—they are of a class of animals who walk and run on their toes—is a contributor to the relative perfection of the animal.

Of course, horses lacking excellent conformation have made monster names for themselves in the sport: Seabiscuit was small, somewhat boney and was over at the knees. The mighty Seattle Slew actually was slewfooted: when he walked, his right-front hoof turned out. He ran straight as a string, but as soon as he walked back off the track, that right hoof turned and faced East. Both Seabiscuit and Seattle Slew established themselves in the Pantheon of Thoroughbred racing, their conformational flaws notwithstanding.

Apples don’t fall far from their trees: not only does Arcangelo look like his late, great Sire – he is similarly big-chested, long-necked and rocks the glutes (engine) that gave him the bounding leap out of the starting gate, and push toward the wire.

Conformation will be studied and respected as a key factor as long as horsepeople keep hope in their hearts, and science on their minds. Conformation is not the only determining factor, but it's the first that buyers notice — and the one that has the most clout when doing the mathematics of physics, that sweet science that is studied by those aiming to win at this sport. This sport - horse racing – the only one that truly offers more intangible rewards than any other athletic endeavor on Earth.

As long as horses and humans have shared the planet, horses have raced each other for money, glory and fun. (N.B.: Weanling Thoroughbreds in a paddock will spend all day racing each other around their space –no saddles, no riders, just racing because it’s fun. They were bred to do it, and they’ll continue to do so, with or without humans tacking them up.)

Their perfectly-conformed bodies and explosive energy are the reasons why car people call it … horsepower.


Enjoy the prefect Belmont Jewel at Cantina restaurant… curbside dining, or their rooftop bar overlooking Broadway. 408 Broadway, downtown Saratoga Springs.

Photo Credit: Super Source Media studios

B e l m o n t on Broadway

June 4-9

Don’t miss Belmont on Broadway, a six-day celebration kicking off the 2024 running of the Belmont Stakes in Saratoga Springs.

Belmont on Broadway activities include a downtown window decorating contest, a pre-festival event called Embrace the Belmont, The Belmont Gala, HARDY at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Opera Saratoga’s Annual Gala, and a free outdoor concert on Broadway featuring Blues Traveler.

Mark Your Calendars...

Belmont at Saratoga Poster Artist Greg Montgomery


June 4

"Embrace the Belmont" at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. The Anatomy Gallery features information about the breeding and biology of the Thoroughbred.

The Hall of Fame features an immersive theatrical presentation and nine new interactive stations. Preserving and promote the history of thoroughbred racing in America.


June 5

Belmont Memories with Tom Durkin at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Blues Traveler FREE concert on Broadway adjacent to the Saratoga City Center

6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Blues Traveler Bio

In 1987 the four original members of Blues Traveler—John Popper, Chandler Kinchla, Brendan Hill, and the late Bobby Sheehan—gathered in their drummer’s parent’s basement in Princeton, NJ to jam. From these high school sessions emerged a band that would go on to release 14 studio albums and counting, four of which have gone gold, three platinum, and one six-times platinum- selling more than 10 million combined units worldwide. Over an illustrious career Blues Traveler has played over 2,000 live shows in front of more than 30 million people, and, in “Run-Around,” had the longest-charting radio single in Billboard history, which earned them a Grammy® for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Their movie credits include Blues Brothers 2000, Kingpin, Wildflowers and others. A television favorite, they have been featured on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, VH1's Behind the Music and they have the record for the most appearances of any artist on The Late Show with David Letterman. Blues Traveler’s latest effort, 2021’s Traveler’s Blues, is nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Traditional Blues Album,” bringing their 35+ year journey full circle.

Photo Provided


June 6

Kick off to Mostly Modern Festival at Caffe Lena

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Belmont Stakes Artists’ Festival at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Belmont Welcome Patio Party with DJ John Jamz at The Night Owl 9pm-2am

Belmont Gala at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM


FRIDAy June 7

Old Tavern Farm Tour; National Museum Of Racing And Hall Of Fame 10:30 AM

Belmont at Saratoga Poster Artist Greg Montgomery Meet & Greet at Impressions of Saratoga 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Belmont Stakes Weekend Kickoff Party at The Mill on Round Lake 11 AM till close

Hardy at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center 6:45PM

Dark Horse Children’s Book

Signing with Author Maddy Zanetti at The Dark Horse Mercantile 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Spring Water Tours, Saratoga Spa State Park 11am and 1pm


June 8

Belmont Stakes Day Saturday Morning Social at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Belmont Champagne Brunch: Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs 9 AM to 1 PM

Meet Upset, The Miniature Dark Horse of Saratoga at The Dark Horse Mercantile 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

156th running of the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Race Course

Horsin’ Around at UPH: Universal Preservation Hall 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Belmont Stakes Viewing Party at Dance Fire Studio 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Belmont Watch Party at The Bunker 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Enchanted Equestrian Evening of Modern Songs at Skidmore College 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM


Brunch with Commentator at Old FriendsCabin Creek 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Opera Saratoga Gala at The Canfield Casino 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

For more information visit:www.discoversaratoga.org/belmontonbroadway


Beauty. Speed. Endurance. Heart.


The names, Godolphin, Darley and Byerley are familiar to all fans of Thoroughbred racing – and with good reason. As all successful owners and trainers know, those are the names of three very-important Arabian horses from the 17th and 18th Centuries, as their blood flows through every Thoroughbred who steps onto a track. Arabian horses literally are the very foundation of Thoroughbreds. Every Thoroughbred, in order to register as such, must prove a direct link on both Dam and Sire sides, to at least one of the three Foundation Sires: the Godolphin Arabian; the Darley Arabian and the Byerley Turk.

They were imported from the Arabian Peninsula by savvy English horsemen precisely because they were fast, sturdy, loyal and beautiful. Bred to solid English mares, Arabs can turn on a dime and can run all day. After just a couple of generations, the muscled, gorgeous, exceedingly- fast Thoroughbred emerged. Perhaps more than all the other traits, Thoroughbreds inherited the one thing that cannot be touched or described – but everyone understands: Heart.

Arabians may look frail, compared with their Thoroughbred relatives; they are anything but. Arabian

horses, generally are shorter than Thoroughbreds. To Thoroughbred fans, Arabians' legs look less-strong, but far from it. Arabians possess speed, stamina and endurance. (In fact, endurance races of 100 miles or more are commonplace in the Middle East; the horses used for these trials are Arabians. Ten furlongs to an Arabian is a walk in the park.)

The Arabian breed has been around for at least 5,000 years. Valued as a partner in war, the breed has been revered for millennia. (e.g., Napoleon’s Marengo was memorialized in the painting, Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David.) An esteemed member of Jordanian royalty describes the treasured breed:

"…the Arab horse is precious for its qualities: BEAUTY— which has become a bit of a two-edged sword…in fact they are incredibly TOUGH. Witness the fact that most endurance rides are won by Arabs and part-breds: the bones while fine are very dense, and the heart 1/3 larger than other breeds--hence the quicker pulse recovery after exhaustion. And mentally tough: they fight illness and handicaps much longer than many other breeds. PREPOTENT: Arabs are crossed with almost all other breeds as they ADD qualities without detracting in any way. INTELLIGENT: cutting people like to use them as they THINK for you and reduce the effort needed by cowboys and gauchos when herding other creatures. BRAVE I am not pro-bullfighting, but rejoneadores cross the Spanish horses with Arabs to add courage facing the bull in the arena. And FRIENDLY: they will follow a stranger across a field long after the hope of treats has gone just because they are intelligent and, unless—God forbid—horribly abused…they like people!"


There is a saying attributed to the Prophet (Mohammed) (PBUH), that, '…if your neighbour (sic) owns a horse and you do not, open a window in the wall to allow the Blessings to reach you from next door.' There is a legend that they were created beautiful to attract people's attention—so that they could then perform their various missions of helping humans and filtering out negativity…”

— Her Royal Highness Princess Alia Bint Al Hussein of Jordan

Surely, Princess Alia knows what makes Arabian horses special – and why they were chosen as the Foundation of our beloved Thoroughbreds. Four-hundred years after the first Thoroughbred graced the Earth, Arabian Horse DNA is present at Saratoga and every other track, every day of the year.

The first Bedouins saw the Arabian, and agreed that "The wind of Heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears."


* Arabian Jockey Club: www.arabianracing.org

* HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival: www.sheikhmansoorfestival.com

Track the pedigree of your favorite Thoroughbred, all the way back: www.pedigreequery.com/

SARATOGA: Digging into the

PROVIDED Graveyard

It has become the most high-spirited of hauntings: A racetrack where fiery favorites have pranced and jigged in their post parades only to forego - minutes later - a trip to the winner’s circle for a return instead to the barn, alongside owners humbled by hubris.

In his book, ‘‘The Graveyard of Champions: Saratoga’s Fallen Favorites,’ Eclipse Award-winning author Bill Heller recounted some of the finishes worth ripping up a Win ticket over and this summer, as the track enters its 161st season, that lucky long shot is never far from the thoughts of those visiting the city of Horses, Health and History.

Upsets From A to Z

Affirmed v. Alydar: 1978 Travers

“It was a disappointing end to the rivalry,” said Fred M. Kray, author of ‘Broken: The Curious Death of Alydar and End of the Golden Age of Racing,’ referring to Alydar’s win by disqualification in the Travers Stakes that year against Affirmed, a colt that, in leg after leg of the Triple Crown, had beaten his rival albeit by not much more than a head.

Alydar had just started changing leads for the first time in the Whitney Stakes, and Kray said his trainer, [John] Veitch, believed his next race, the Travers, would be “the race when they would decisively beat Affirmed.” Affirmed’s Triple Crown jockey, Steve Cauthen, had been sidelined with a knee injury so Saratoga would see jockey Laffit Pincay’s in the irons for the first time on Affirmed.

More than a few railbirds mused if that might affect the outcome. It did.

As the horses entered the homestretch, Alydar moved to pass Affirmed on the inside, catching Pincay, expecting a challenge from the outside, off guard. Realizing Alydar was going to try to pass them, Pincay reined Affirmed to the left in an effort to close off the path along rail.

Alydar clipped heels and the announcer mistakenly thought the horse was going to be pulled up and out of the race. Affirmed indeed finished first and Alydar second but pundits cried foul, leading to Affirmed’s disqualification and a forever Pyrrhic victory for Calumet Farm.

“Would Alydar have won?” muses Kray. “We’ll never know.”

Years later, Cauthen called their rivalry “very, very special.” Right down to that last Saratoga showdown. “I think it will resonate with people 100 years from now.”

Affirmed vs. Alydar, Travers Photo Credit: Barry Bornstein

American Pharoah v. Keen Ice: 2015 Travers

After American Pharoah ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015, rumors flew as to whether or not the Zayat Stable colt would come to Saratoga for the Travers Stakes. No horse since Whirlaway in 1941 had won both the Triple Crown and Travers, while two Triple Crown champions (Affirmed and Gallant Fox) had met defeat there.

Jockey Victor Espinoza remembers feeling like he “was in trouble” by the half-mile pole that Saratoga afternoon. He asked American Pharoah to pull away from a challenge by Frosted on the far turn and didn’t feel his colt shift gears. Meanwhile a 16-1 long shot in the $1.6 million stakes race, named Keen Ice, thrice beaten previously by American Pharoah, but under a new set of hands in Javier Castellano, overtook the Triple Crown champ at the sixteenth pole and claimed the win by three-quarters of a length. For Keen Ice, it was only the second win out of 11 starts.

“Anything can happen in horse racing, and that’s what makes this a great game,” Castellano said afterwards.

In front of 50,000 spectators, American Pharoah’s loss would haunt the Graveyard but the gutsy colt’s greatness remained intact. In October, he became the first horse in history to complete the ‘Grand Slam of Thoroughbred Racing,’ after winning not only the Triple Crown but also the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and in track record (2:00:07) time.


Photo Credit: NYRA for Keen Ice.

Gallant Fox v. Jim Dandy: 1930 Travers

Have you ever wondered why Saratoga hosts a race called the Jim Dandy Stakes? It is named for Wilshire Stables’ 100-1 long shot, trained by John McKee, who delivered an “unthinkable defeat,” as sportswriter J. Keeler Johnson quipped, to what was then only the second Triple Crown champion in racing history, Belair Stud’s Gallant Fox.

Gallant Fox’s trainer, ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons, was haunted by his horse’s loss to Jim Dandy at the Graveyard of Champions for the rest of his life. In 1964, Saratoga premiered the stakes race and in 1965, a year before he died, Fitzsimmons still called the result, “A fluke, by a fluke horse who had no business in the race.”

Coincidentally, what Jim Dandy’s otherwise unremarkable career could lay claim to was not one, but two long shot wins at Saratoga. In the 1929 Grand Union Hotel Stakes, over a sloppy track, Jim Dandy had a 50-1 upset win. So savvy bettors should have noticed the racehorse liked the mud.

Which leveraged in his favor on the day of the Travers, when Gallant Fox, the heavy favorite at 1-2 odds, faced but three rivals: Whichone (8-5), Sun Falcon (30-1) and the 100-1 Jim Dandy.

Only it had rained and rained hard, reducing the track to a gloppy mess track officials called “heavy.” As Gallant Fox and Whichone engaged in a speed duel along the slightly less cuppy outside of the track, Jim Dandy sat along the rail in third place and played in the mud, waiting for the favorites to tire. When they did, the chestnut colt made his move.

The muddy track would be blamed for Gallant Fox's poor performance, but he would rebound to win the Saratoga Cup and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and become the only Triple Crown champion to sire a Triple Crown winner, Omaha (1935). Jim Dandy would never win another stakes race and would retire at age 12 on a record of seven wins in 141 starts.


Credit National Museum of Racing for the Jim Dandy image, and NYRA for Keen Ice.

Among sportswriters and racing fans, the result and name are synonymous: Upset.

Because one of the greatest racehorses of all time, Glenriddle Farm’s Man O’ War, won 20 out of 21 races over the course of his recordsetting career, but saw his one and only loss at Saratoga, as a two year-old, to a colt all-too-fittingly named, Upset.

Man O’ War was purchased at the Saratoga yearling sales by Samuel Riddle, at the urging of trainer Louis Feustel, for $5,000. “As soon as I saw him, I was bowled over,” Riddle said.

The big red two-year old had collected six consecutive wins when he arrived in Saratoga that August for the Sanford Stakes, including having beaten Upset on six prior occasions.But in 1919, races had finish wires but not have starting gates, and getting a string of fractious young stallions to line up


before a tape was sprung was no easy feat.The Louisville Courier-Journal described Man O’ War as “almost left at the post” as the horse fretted and spun around, regaining ground to sit third as the field rounded the homestretch of the six-furlong race. Blocked and forced to move to the outside, Man O’ War missed overtaking the winner, carrying 15 less pounds than the favorite, by half a length.

The win went to Upset, who made sportswriters’ jobs easy slugging a title for the next day’s newspapers. Man O’ War never lost at Saratoga again and would retire to stud in 1921, destined to become the grandsire (through Hard Tack) of an uncomely colt named Seabiscuit, who was purchased at the 1936 Saratoga yearling sale for $8,000 and became an upset celebrity in his own right after beating Riddle’s War Admiral in a highly touted match race and family feud (War Admiral was sired by Man O’ War) in 1938 at Pimlico.

Man O War v. Upset: 1919 Sanford Memorial Man O'War Beaten by Upset 1919 Sanford Stakes Photo credit: Keeneland Library Cook Collection

Secretariat v. Onion: 1973 Whitney Stakes

Apparently no one paid much attention when an H. Allen ‘The Chief’ Jerkens-trained four year-old colt from Hobeau Farms called Onion set a new track record for six-and-a-half furlongs at Saratoga in July, just weeks before Meadow Stable’s newly-minted 1973 Triple Crown champion Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte were to step onto the track at odds of 1-20 in the Whitney Stakes against a whopping four challengers.

Breaking from the gate on their right were Onion and Jacinto Vásquez, who took the lead early and never let go, winning by a length ahead of Secretariat and Turcotte. It was Onion’s first and only stake win but it was one for the ages. According to then-historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Allan Carter, Onion was given good odds (9-2) and, “His biggest asset was Allen Jerkens.”

“I probably caught him on a bad day,” Vásquez told the New York Daily News. “Onion wasn’t the same caliber. It’s just that he loved Saratoga and had a good day.”

“Some people think a thoroughbred horse is a machine, something you can start up and run just by pushing a button. It’s not at all that easy, not by a damn sight,” Henny Hoeffner, assistant trainer to Lucien Laurin, told reporter Jim McCulley.

“All I know,” Turcotte said afterwards, “is that I feel lousy about it.”

As for Secretariat, his groom, Ed Sweat, said by the next morning’s feeding, “He didn’t miss a single oat.”

Onion beating Secretariat, 1973 Whitney

Another Season of Surprises

Saratoga’s Graveyard of Champions has no statute of limitations.

When the first weekend of racing opened in 2023, all three stakes races on the card saw the favorite horse – In Italian in the Diana, Annapolis in the Kelso, and Gold Sweep in the Sanford - enter the starting gate only to reach the wire as second best.

From his catbird seat as a track announcer for 43 years, including 24 with the New York Racing Association, Tom Durkin has learned about a little something making presumptions over horse racing results: “You never get married to your preparation.”

And always, always put $2 on the long shot.



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Did you know...


Race Course

Info that may prove to be helpful, or at least, interesting…

Saratoga’s first-ever Thoroughbred race meet took place in August 1863 – exactly one month after the devastating Battle of Gettysburg. America sorely needed a distraction, and an entrepreneurial soul - the restless, Irish-born gambler and jack-of-several-trades, John “Old Smoke” Morrissey - knew that Thoroughbred racing was just the proverbial ticket.

That first, four-day meet brought thousands of fans and curious folk to Saratoga. The races were contested at Horse Haven, the one-mile oval track built in 1847 for harness racing. (That original track was north of Union Avenue, across from the current Saratoga Race Course. It’s still there - the first track, a silent witness to American horse racing history.)

Horse Haven is a track-within-a-track, being on the property of The Oklahoma Training Track. (Stories abound, about how The Oklahoma was named. The most prevalent theory is that some disgruntled horseman complained that the walk from the Race Course to his barns on the Training Track was a tad long, that “…it’s in OKLAHOMA!”) Whatever the truth, the name stuck, and The Oklahoma has become one of Saratoga Race Course’s most-beloved features, for horses and humans, alike.

Check it out: race fans who park on the Oklahoma Training Track walk across Horse Haven on their way to Union Avenue – and may not realize that they’re treading on historic ground!

Lizzie W., a three-year-old bay f!lly, was the first victorious Thoroughbred at Saratoga, taking two of three 8F heats. (8F = 8 Furlongs = 1 mile.)

Horse Haven View 2, Thoroughbred Racing Commentary / Samantha Bosshart Horse Haven Sign, NYRA

The quick and the dead:

Four horses are buried in Clare Court, in the main track’s backstretch: Fourstardave (The Sultan of Saratoga), Mourjane (IRE), Quick Call and A Phenomenon.

Champion f!lly Go for Wand is buried in the track’s infield, at the flagpole. She died at the end of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Belmont in 1990, then brought to Saratoga for burial the next day. She presides over every race on our famed oval.

Saratoga’s beloved son, Funny Cide, lived his last years at the Kentucky Horse Park, but part of him came Home to Saratoga for his final rest. Part of his ashes were buried outside the Clubhouse in 2023; the rest of his ashes went back to the Kentucky Horse Park, and to the Home of his very-first breaths: McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds’ Saratoga farm.

Hollywood in Saratoga:

Hollywood has a long history of fascination with Saratoga, and with our track. Some of the films shot here (so far) include Ghost Story, Billy Bathgate, The Horse Whisperer and the beloved Seabiscuit. Saratoga, a treasure from 1937, starred dreamboat Clark Gable and sex symbol Jean Harlow, and featured many familiar buildings and locations from around the Race Course’s campus. The romantic comedy showcases the Race Course as it reigned in the ‘30s, in glorious black-and-white.

Important Info:

Horses always have the right-of-way in Saratoga, especially in the area (main and side streets) of the Race Course/Oklahoma. There are several streets and intersections where horses will be crossing with their connections, between now and mid-November. Simply obey local speed limits, then dial it back by 50%. And remember: even a 900-pound Yearling is more than twice the weight of a white-tailed deer Buck. (You do NOT want a throw-down with a horse: neither of you will win.)

Go for Wand’s final rest, Saratoga Infield / Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association Saratoga film Poster, 1937 / MGM Photo Courtesy of NYRA

Put Some Spring in Your Step!

Saratoga Springs is named for the mineral springs that bubble up from under our feet, at various places around the city and her parks. The Big Red Spring is a must-experience, right on the track’s main campus, near the Paddock at the back of the picnic area. (You may not love the taste of the water, but, hey, at least it’s free.) Bonus points, if you deduced that it’s named to honor the two Big Red Champions of American Thoroughbred racing: Secretariat and Man O’War.

And…there’s this Canoe…

No, no one misplaced their watercraft on the way to Saratoga Lake. The Travers Canoe lives in the Infield Pond and celebrates the winner of the previous year’s Travers Stakes. It’sa beautiful old tradition, befitting the elegance of the place. Factoid: Late Travers Eve 1996, the Canoe was…borrowed…by some enthusiastic racetrackers. [Gentlemen who worked for a trainer.] The Canoe was carried all the way down Union Avenue, across Circular to Lake - thence to the floor of the Parting Glass, the downtown Irish bar. The bartender was taken aback, but he cleared the floor to accommodate the beautiful curragh.

(The Canoe was returned in one piece, unscratched, to the Pond before 9AM on Travers Day.)

Put a Lid on it: Last but not least: horse racing is the one sport where spectators are encouraged to wear hats, inside and outside. Whether for style or to keep the scorching Saratoga Summer Sun off your delicate pate – at least bring a chapeau of some sort, when you pack your Saratoga Trunk. You’ll thank me.

Photo Courtesy Super Source Media Studios Photo Credit: Dan Heary

Living Large at The Spa Field Advantage Home

Equin E Body, Mind and Soul – th E Winning t rif E cta

Imagine that in today’s mail, you received a letter telling you that you’d won a Golden Ticket for a vacation in Saratoga Springs. You’re very excited, because everyone knows that the otherworldly American city possesses healing properties. Around every corner there are mineral springs, places where healing waters burst forth from Mother Earth.

The original Americans (Mohican, Kanienʼkehá:ka [Mohawk] and Abenaki people) who’ve cared for this land for over 10,000 years, consider it to be a place for healing and peace for all. Clearly, Saratoga Springs is far-more than just a casual vacation spot.

Saratoga has been recognized also by Europeans and their descendants as a destination for healing (“taking the waters”) since at least the late 17th Century. Gideon Putnam built his first hostelry in 1802, which evolved into the Grand Union Hotel – the world’s largest hotel. The enormous front promenade, which held 400 people, was one of the spaces used in the 1937 film, Saratoga. What an exciting trip! Your Spa vacation will include comfortable, charming accommodations with large windows so you can breathe deeply the fresh Adirondack air. Exquisite delicacies, at the finest establishments in town and as much of Saratoga’s waters, both flat and sparkling as you can hold, will be available to you, 24/7.

A foggy early morning workout for Rachel Alexandra at the Oklahoma Track in 2009. Credit: Beth Arkin / NYRA

The length of your fabulous vacation will be determined solely by your needs: you may stay a week, or seven months. Your call. You assess your mental, spiritual and physical states, and decide that a three-month retreat at Saratoga will be just perfect. We don’t know of a single person who wouldn’t jump at the chance to take advantage of this gift: After even a few days, you’ll probably come to think of Saratoga as being, Home. You may even decide to move here.

Now, picture yourself as a Thoroughbred. This region is home to many breeds of horses, for all the same reasons that owners and trainers of Thoroughbreds recognize: that Saratoga Springs is a place of rest, rejuvenation and healing.

For approximately seven months of every year, The Oklahoma Training Track is open for Thoroughbreds to come, train, rest and heal. By the time the Saratoga meet starts, upward of 2,000 horses will be ontrack. (Add to that the horses who work as Ponies, and a lively, enormous community of equids who come here for “Summer Camp.”)

Virtually every great American Thoroughbred has spent at least part of career years on the grounds of The Oklahoma; main track or Gridley/ Raceway extensions.

Like the registry at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the list of the superstar Thoroughbreds who’ve spent time at the Spa is a virtual Who’s Who of the greatest of all-time. The complete list could fill a library, but that list includes Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Rachel Alexandra, Curlin, Wise Dan, Bernardini, Discreet Cat, Alydar, Nearctic, Regret, Songbird, Point Given, Blind Luck…the list goes on.

The Saratoga Spa Treatment: Feels so Good! Photo Credit: Adam Coglianese / NYRA

These and many more – Champions and beginners, alike –come to Saratoga. Some, to take a step back and rest. Others, to train in an atmosphere that’s more relaxed, and more jovial than in most other racing towns.

Saratoga is the Spa where a horse can sleep his day away – or prove his mettle: In fact, it was at Saratoga that trainer, Billy Turner, discovered that Seattle Slew could run like a maniac. He’d brought the horse to Saratoga in 1976, when Slew was two, to give the big boy a chance to workout here and see what he had under the hood. (Turned out, he had a four-barrel 455 under his hood, like a big, black ’69 Buick Electra 225. That horse could RUN!)

In July of 2005, Preakness and Belmont winner, Afleet Alex was found to have a hairline fracture of his left, front cannon bone. He came to Saratoga to retreat and heal. It was obvious that his time here was well-spent: when we visited him at his maintrack barn, he was relaxed and playful. He accepted treats and hugs, and actually posed when we held our cameras up to snap him!

Horses are sentient beings, totally self-aware. They are not “it,” or “a thing.” They are she/her, he/him. Beings. Breathing and thinking, capable of making decisions and of enjoying Life.

Horses, especially working horses, have stress. Whether that stress is from carrying a load that’s too heavy for her frame; stress from worrying about a thunderstorm or the stress of gate training. Horses are claustrophobic; that’s why racehorses must all get their gate cards, issued by Head Starters at every track where they race. The thought of being confined in such a small space as a gate stall is overwhelming to most Thoroughbreds. Hence, all connections work together to gate-train, to help each horse feel good about it.

Stress is but one reason why trainers bring their horses to Saratoga. They bring them to train, to workout, sure –

and sometimes, just to relax and roll in round pens while the trainer plots out the next steps. Like any world-class spa, acupuncture, Reiki and Chiropractic often fill out a racehorse’s schedule for their stay at the Spa.

If taking the waters here in Saratoga, and receiving spa treatments is balm to body, mind and spirit of humans – we should recognize that our equine colleagues can benefit similarly. The waters here are filled with minerals that bathe every cell of bodies—horse and human. Refreshing to drink in a bucket and mixed in with daily feed, the therapeutic waters of Saratoga play a vital role in the healing of horses.

2YO filly, Irish Course just says, NO. Photo Credit: Jerry Frutkoff / Pimlico Race Course Perfect Thoroughbred Bodies on the Nurturing Saratoga Grass Photo Credit: Adam Coglianese/NYRA Credit: Charles Bierstadt (1819-1903) / Library of Congress

The invigorating Adirondack air, especially night air, enters lungs and thereby feeds the cells. (Humans will attest, that getting a great night’s sleep when bedding down in a place with clean, healthy air improves quality of Life.)

Horses feel the good Earth, the cool, cushioning grass beneath their hooves, and embrace their unity with the natural world, and their wild cousins in North Dakota and Mongolia There’s no such creature as a “wild Thoroughbred”: the Thoroughbred is a created breed. They have never lived in the wild, on their own, although the common preservation instincts are in there, in their DNA. The only time Thoroughbreds’ hooves ever touch grass is when a human leads a Thoroughbred to a grassy area to graze, or they turf-race. They depend on humans for everything.)

Like humans, who come here and quickly think of it as Home, many horses also become fond of the Spa City, and think of The Oklahoma and the main track as being Home. They settle in. They chill. Like Seattle Slew, horses can come here – workout, and find their Inner Champion on the soft, smooth surfaces of our tracks. Saratoga is a feast for all the five physical Senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch. The bodies of all living beings experience Life via these Senses, and use them to move through the world.

Those Senses feed the Body, of course, but the input provided by the Senses also should feed Mind and Spirit. That’s where the Saratoga Touch is invaluable: when we feel safe and cared-for, we feel at Home. Home is safe, secure and where we can excel.

The Five Senses are fine for getting to the gate – but those Sixth and Seventh Senses win the race. In Saratoga, horses who feel at Home, comfortable and safe connect with the Natural World, the part that these hothouse horses too-often miss. Here, the gates of the hothouse are flung open, wide – and our beloved, invented breed is one step closer to the world of their ancient equine tribe, running wild, beautiful, and free.

The Goal of all that training: the Saratoga Starting Gate Photo Credit: Katey Freeman Holmes

Saratoga: An Equine


The 2024 Belmont Stakes will draw race fans from far and wide, including some visiting The Spa City for the first time. While Saratoga Race Course will be the focus for fans and industry participants during these four days in June, the area offers other equine spots worth checking out:

Oklahoma Training Track

Directly across Union Avenue from Saratoga Race Course is the Oklahoma training track. Since 1900 the Oklahoma oval has functioned as a training track for Thoroughbreds stabled and/or running at Saratoga. The legend goes that the Oklahoma got its name from disgruntled Horsemen, who found the hike between the main track and the training track a little-too long for their taste. Supposedly they bleated that it “…might as well be in Oklahoma!”

On the site stands the Whitney Viewing Stand; it’s open free-of-charge to the public during weekend training hours, between 7:00 AM - 10:00 AM. It contains historic facts about the races at Saratoga, and provides a superb viewing position to watch the workouts while you sip your coffee or take pictures. The Oklahoma Training Track is accessible to pedestrians through Gate 21 (Potato Chip Lane) on East Avenue.

Oklahoma Whitney Viewing Stand Credit Susie Raisher

Fasig Tipton Sales Pavilion

If you have ever wondered where the famed auctions of wellbred million-dollar Yearlings take place: it’s directly across Union from Saratoga Race Course, on East Avenue. All dark-green and rich woods, the FasigTipton Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion and accompanying barns are hard to miss. Each August the well-heeled and curious, alike, mingle (and drink and eat) as 200+ 900-pound baby Thoroughbreds go through the auction ring. The average purchase price typically exceeds $500,000, with many going for more than $4 million dollars. The Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga sale traces back to 1917, when Fasig-Tipton formed an alliance with some of the top Kentucky breeders to sell their Yearlings during the Saratoga race meet. In fact, the great Man o’ War sold as a Yearling at the 1918 Saratoga sale, as have several other champions.

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

Also near the Saratoga Race Course, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is the official shrine of American Thoroughbred racing. Beginning in 1951, before moving to its current location at 191 Union Avenue in 1955, it houses racing memorabilia, educational materials, and the Hall of Fame, where an interactive display of horses and humans of distinction in Thoroughbred racing are honored. Admission is nominal; hours vary by season, but it is well worth the time to see the heroes of the turf.

Saratoga Raceway

Saratoga is also home to year-round harness racing. Across from Clare Court at the Saratoga Race Course, Standardbred trotters and pacers race nearly year-round on the oval on Nelson Avenue. While there is little overlap between the two sports, it does underscore the connection between the city, its history and the County’s rich equine history. Saratoga Raceway now shares its facility with a Casino, nightclub and on-campus restaurants.

Fasig-Tipton Credit: Supersource Media Studios National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Exterior Credit: Brien Bouyea Lawn jockeys outside the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Credit: Brien Bouyea Thoroughbred auctions at Fasig-Tipton Credit: Supersource Media Studios

After-Race Gatherings:

Downtown Saratoga offers something for everyone, from fine cuisine dining to delis and myriad coffee shops. The congestion on Broadway often forces race fans to seek consolation for their losses instead at the the bars and restaurants that are adjacent to the race course. Fans and industry pros traditionally have gathered immediately after the races at some of these establishments, within walking distance of the Saratoga Race Course:

Just steps outside the Nelson Avenue gate of the Race Course, live music and libations abound at Siros, which boasts a long history of servicing both Patricians and Plebians in its sophisticated indoor restaurant and outside party facility.

The Horseshoe Inn Bar and Grill attracts the more adventurous and young revelers, wooing large crowds of dancers to the beats of lively local bands under a large tent. The far-more relaxed Trackside Grill is the (indoor) place to grab a burger and a beer, and go over tomorrow’s races rather than fight the traffic.

The Horseshoe offers a delicious breakfast menu earlier in the day – the perfect place to grab a repast before a long day at the track. Breakfast begins around 10:00 AM, when the morning workouts are completed; the tables and barstoolsare filled with both racing fans and participants. European racing and soccer games are televised early in the morning, and the anticipation of the days’ racing makes this a good place to handicap and start your day.

On the opposite side the grandstand on Union Avenue stands King’s Tavern, which has been a casual post-race gathering spot for generations. King’s is ansunpretentious as it gets: with music, good conversation and cold beer, it’s a good spot to watch the traffic clear out before you move on to the rest of your evening.

Siro's inside bar. Photo provided Horeshoe Inn Bar and Grill. Photo provided Live Band on Broadway Photo Super Source Media studios
SARATOGATODAYNEWSPAPER.COM EQUICUREAN: BELMONT | 2024 | 59 For more details and events visit: DiscoverSaratoga.org/BelmontOnBroadway This special celebration is a collaborative effort between Discover Saratoga, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association, and Saratoga City Center. plus ACTIVITIES & EVENTS ALL WEEK. Live music * watch parties * Belmont storefront displays * and more! FREE CONCERT BY Media Sponsors june 04—09 20 24 A Six-Day Fan-Fest Celebration featuring: june 05 6:00 —10:00pm IN FRONT OF SARATOGA SPRINGS CITY CENTER
60 | EQUICUREAN: BELMONT | 2024 SARATOGATODAYNEWSPAPER.COM ENZO Horse Power An obsession with Saratoga Automobile Museum 110 Ave of the Pines Saratoga Springs 518-587-1935 saratogaautomuseum.org
Museum Caption:1950 166 Barchetta - 1 of 3, 166 Barchetta’s in the Scuderia Ferrari Racing Line-up.
Photo Credit: Saratoga Automobile
If you feel the “Need for Speed” you don’t want to miss the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s newest exhibit,
“Enzo Ferrari: An Obsession with Speed.”

Open to the public all summer, this unique exhibit will immerse visitors in the world of Ferrari, showcasing a curated collection of iconic vehicles that have defined the brand's illustrious history.

From the sleek curves of the Dino, to the cutting-edge technology of the F310B driven by Michael Schumacher, this exhibit offers a rare glimpse into the evolution of Ferrari's automotive prowess.

At the heart of the exhibit lies a tribute to the visionary behind the prancing horse emblem – An Obsession with Speed delves into the life and legacy of this automotive maestro, tracing his journey from a racer to the founder of one of the most celebrated automobile brands in the world. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore Enzo Ferrari's personal chronicles, including rare photographs, artifacts, and anecdotes that shaped the Ferrari legend.

Enzo Ferrari's indomitable spirit and commitment to perfection will be palpable throughout the exhibit. From the iconic and petit Ferrari 166 Barchetta, the company's first of a long line of winning racing machines, to the modern masterpieces that continue to dominate Formula 1 circuits, "An Obession with Speed" brings together a carefully curated collection that showcases Ferrari's relentless pursuit of innovation and performance.

This is a must-attend event for automotive enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone with an appreciation for the artistry and ingenuity that define Ferrari.


Saratoga: All Things to All People

It’s June 2024, and the Belmont Stakes has moved here, to Saratoga. Our Fair City is the setting for the final leg of the American Triple Crown, and a weekend of racing to remember. The four-day Festival of Racing features 20+ Stakes races, and over $10 Million in purse money.

After four days of heart-stopping Thoroughbred racing and partying like it’s 1999, fans will return to their

homes and lives for a few weeks, resting up for the 2024 Saratoga race meet on the same venerable oval that’s hosted the greatest Champions for over 150 years. In little over a month, Saratoga Race Course will be alive with 40 days of racing: the 2024 meet will commence on July 11th, and wrap it up on Labor Day, September 2nd. The meet this year will offer 71 stakes worth $20.75 Million.

photo credi: NYRA / Adam Coglianese Lukas Lookin' Good in the Saddle

Few sports venues can compare to the beauty and charm of America’s oldest and most-revered Thoroughbred racetrack. Augusta, home of the Masters golf tournament, along with Fenway Park and Wrigley Field -- both, tributes to baseball’s glorious past -- may come close, but none can surpass the splendor and history of Saratoga Race Course.

Summer in Saratoga has long been a magnet for many, offering myriad distractions. Ah, Summer in Saratoga: the Sport of Kings reigns here, sharing the city with multiple museums, golf courses, dining options and arts experiences. SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) will present progressive contemporary performing artists – along with venerable classical artists, long in residence.

Traveling East on Union Avenue sits Saratoga National Golf Club, a world-class 18-hole course with a palatial Clubhouse that rivals actual castles. The course’s marvelous layout is as challenging as it is beautiful. The 18- hole public course in the Spa State Park is


scenic, fun and not quite as demanding as the aforementioned National. (Nine holes at the Spa makes for an enjoyable morning before heading over to the races.)

Walking Union Avenue is a delight: the boulevard is home to 19th Century mansions, fine dining and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. There, the history of American Thoroughbred racing is laid out in perennial displays, and new exhibits every season. Here the horses, trainers and jockeys who surpassed their rivals in talent and fortitude are enshrined for eternity in the Hall of Fame. Trophies won by America’s greatest horses abound. The Horseplay Interactive Gallery keeps youths delighted for hours.

The Museum is the mecca to which all true fans of the sport must make a pilgrimage at least once. Novices and newbies may be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds – but they’ll come away with excitement that will grow their affection for the sport for years to come.

Walk across Union from the Museum, and enter the gates of the Saratoga Race Course. Even the name is a reminder that this is no mere oval: this is history, itself. The ghosts of Man o’ War, Secretariat and so many other great Champions can be felt as you stroll the elegant grounds.

One reason fans come here is to wager on the otherworldly Thoroughbreds, horses who are bred for both speed and endurance, over distances ranging from five furlongs to over 1 1/4 mile. At Saratoga you’ll witness the best, most-accomplished Thoroughbreds, along with up-and-comers, who’ve trekked here to prove themselves. All will strut their stuff in the Paddock before they hit the track and duke it out. (As they say, “If you ain’t the lead horse… the view never changes.”)

Belmont 2007 Start Afleet Alex following his 2005 Belmont victory. Comin' Atcha Credit: Chelsea Durand

The best horses will compete in Stakes races sure to thrill. The Whitney, Jim Dandy, Fourstardave, Alabama, Diana, Personal Ensign, Ballerina, Fasig-Tipton Lure, The Test, and the Travers Stakes (the “mid-Summer Derby”) are among the hottest tickets in all of Thoroughbred racing, every year.

And of course, the winners of all three Triple Crown races may spend their Summer in Saratoga. (This town is a spa destination for horses, too…) Racing’s brightest stars will grace our track, and win new fans.

Horse racing is a sport that absolutely cannot ever be predicted. “Sure things” come in dead-last. 100-1 longshots win by 20 lengths. The one sure thing since the track’s 1863 founding is that at least one Champion-in-the-making will step onto our mysterious surface, and prove themselves to be made of The Right Stuff. Come for the racing – and leave room for the city, the people, the culinary and artistic offerings.

Saratoga really is All Things to All People.
you back here, in July.
Cody's Wish Credit: Susie Raisher Turf Horses Leap out of the Saratoga gate

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