Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Saratoga Jumpstart 2010

Each year, on the weekend before the meet opens at Saratoga, NYRA and the local community put on an open house. While it is mostly a chance for local non-profits to do some fundraising, and for families from the area to enjoy a day out in the sun with pony rides, face painting, clown shows and the like, it does feature some racing. The clowns here also have the good graces to actually wear red rubber noses and size 36EEEE shoes, unlike the clowns I see at other tracks.

The National Steeplechase Association (NSA) sanctions a series of steeplechase races, giving a further layer of meaning to the event's official name - Saratoga Jumpstart. These races are what attracted me back for the second year in a row.

The track looks great, as always. This place is like the Fresh Air Fund camp for Thoroughbreds. Some new construction of what I gather to be food service concessions over by the paddock, but otherwise not much changed.

After the races I drove around the town a little. Many, many For Sale signs. Hard to tell whether this happens every year before and during the season, whether it reflects the general economy, or whether folks in Saratoga know something about NYRA's future the rest of us don't. Looks like a healthy Pick Six could get you a nice Victorian of your choice.


Final Straw, a 4yo gelding, in the paddock.

Leaving the paddock on the way to the track.

View of the Winner's Circle.

The field approaches the second fence in Race 1.

The field taking fence #2 in the second race.

Quiet Approval winning the fourth race, a $25,000 Allowance.

Danielle Hodsdon up on Parker's Project in the Winner's Circle after Race 3.

Winning jockey Danielle Hodsdon and a young fan,

Jockey Roderick Mackenzie looking a little grim - before the race.

What the real journalists were wearing. Noted author Bill Heller. See the Weekend Getaway post (February 10, 2010) for what he looks like in Florida.