The summer of 2020 was like no other.
Thanks to covid 19, Saratoga Race Course was not open to the general public.
The meet went on as scheduled, but no fans were allowed on the premises.
2020 was the first time in 40 plus years the Daily Racing Blog (and staff) did not see any races in person at The Spa.
There is simply nothing like opening day at Saratoga Race Course.
No other occasion is so filled with color and hope, ambition and chance, all of it reflected in the high shine of horses’ coats and the gemlike gleam of the silks.
No place so perfectly combines aesthetic splendor with the fine-tuned equine athletes. The iconic clubhouse roofline and infield gazebo lend a timeless air of pageantry.
The architecture may be Queen Anne, but the swooping turrets and fluttering flags lend the feel that you’ve landed in the midst of a medieval tournament, only instead of heavy-hoofed chargers and jousting knights, the contestants are lean thoroughbreds bearing brave hard riders.
The trainers flick their stopwatches, while the owners’ feet hover a hair’s breadth off the ground.
It is all so very transporting.
Legendary sports scribe Red Smith once wrote on how to get to Saratoga; “From New York City you drive north for about 175 miles, turn left on Union Avenue and go back 100 years.”
So as you enter the grounds of Saratoga Race Course this year (opening day or otherwise) go slow.
Breath deep, take a long slow look at the historical surroundings and take a step back.
It doesn’t need to be 100 years back, but to a time before the pandemic.
Then smile and know, that at least temporarily, everything is right with the world.
Thursday, July 15th is Opening Day. Post Time 1:05
Riders Up !