Thursday, September 4, 2014

Saratoga Race Course Saratoga, NY

I am not a gambler, and I most certainly do not bet the horses, but I married into both. The casino/ horse track/OTB lifestyle came with the marriage vow, and I have learned to make the best of it. Winning is best, the comps and freebee's  a perk, but loosing funds...I will have no part of. Unfortunately it comes with the territory.
At any rate, a summer picnic at the track cannot be missed, and this year we made plans to attend the Saratoga Race Course.
 It is the oldest race course and quite beautiful.

Mark and I have to make an appointment to further investigate the city of Saratoga Springs. (also beautiful) and attend the Horse Racing museum. Mark has never been, which I find incredibly odd since he is such a fan.
Perhaps you are aware of why Sarartoga's was an important city in the 1800's or maybe not, but I can share this little secret about the place. It is home to many natural springs once thought to cure ailments of all kinds. Bath houses were very popular years ago and Saratoga had the spring to fill them. There is one spring located on the Race Course property free water for anyone thirsty....
 or who like that stuff....It doesn't taste like any water I like to drink, they should offer a WARNING sign...this does not taste anything like that Evian you purchase in the bottle or even that stuff coming out of your sink.....It reminds me a little like seltzer water without the bubbles...
 The boys are not falling for it,..they have been fooled before.

We has been coming to Saratoga for years. I have been for as long as Mark and I have been married, and remember the days (usually the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend) when they offer family days and free give-a-ways. This year we missed both in an attempt to play of the poor weather conditions predicted for the next two days, Family fun days has games, bounces houses, pony rides, balloons, clowns and lots of fun for the kids. The Sunday give-aways are usually t-shirts, glasses or other Saratoga labeled items. We have gotten multiple shirts, umbrellas, wine glasses, blankets, and coolers. We missed some great ones like the Saratoga folding chair...oh well.
This year we went to simply enjoy the day.
 Inside the paddock. The area where the horses prepare for the race. (also the back drop for the tv announcer station).
Had to get Mark's picture in front the the Four Star Dave restaurant with his Four Star Dave t-shirt. I have been debriefed about Four Star Dave a few times....apparently he was a pretty AMAZING horse, but that is about all I heard each time the story is told.
Inside the track area. Years ago people could walk out to the center area. There is a lake in the middle and a canoe rests upon it with the name of some horse (another story I have been told before, but never really listened).

 Interesting fact...I actually do remember somethings...Do you know what the difference is between a race course and a race track???? Bet you don't... Well a race course runs on dirt, where a race track runs on grass. Now you know!!!
 View of the original building..pretty cool....

Inside is pretty neat too.
 Some of the original posts.
 The clubhouse. I would have loved to go in and see more, but it cost extra to seat in the club house and you must have on proper attire.
 These are pretty neat too.

 An owner that Mark was inclined to request a picture with.
Old pictures...and of course there are the hats...
 and the silks...(the colors of the horse's owners)
I skipped the hats, but I did purchase some 1/2 off jewelry.
The family....
Mark's aunt comes every year and attends nearly every day, She scored us a picnic table at the early entrance time( they open early and allow people to get seats etc. then close before the actual park opens around 10am).
Dont worry if you don't have an Aunt to score you a table early, there is always space for folding chairs under the old trees that fill the grounds and you can always purchase seats in the boxes. Although this year there were so many more tables then I ever remember. I was told they were left over from Travers weekend and they we being sold at $100- a pop. WOW!!!
Once you have your seat, eat a nice sandwich and stand for the National is soon time to examine your book, pick your favorites and then get a good look at your winner at the paddock before it is RACE TIME..

 Who is the winner???? Is it #1, #2?????
 Mark had me get a picture of this owner.

 This guy looked right at me...should have bet on him. Although I have no idea what race or what his name was...
 We usually watch the race from the monitors scattered all over the park area.
Mid way through the day we took another walk this time in search of Jocky spotting. We ran into some entertainment.

These guys have been playing here for years, The dancing was a nice bonus.
We also ran into Sam the Bugler. You know Sam...he has been announcing the start of the Saratoga races for years...da da da don don don don don da da..and their off!!!

Then the jocky's emerged from the jocky room. Mark reported that he used to wait outside the jocky room and ask for autographs just like many of these kids here.

Ben was thrilled to be taller then most of these guys.

My idea of a beautiful race day is a bottle of wine, some snacks and a comfortable chair with shade. I got my race day. Mark and his mother's idea of a beautiful race day is full of winnings. Their day was not as pleasant. We had fun just the same, although I did run out of wine and we left early apparently we ran out of money too and the day had to come to an end.
There were some wins and more losses. Mark explained that we had just bought some very expensive jewelry (even at 1/2 off). His way of joking about his losses.  I certainly feel like I walked away the biggest winner. Only $20- spent and I have some jewelry to remember the day.. one loosing win, place, or show ticket stub, and nearly done with the book I brought with me to read. Add the bonus of feeling pretty gosh darn good too with a bit of that wine affecting my head. I am ready for next year...must bring more wine next time....
Here is my post on travelbuddy about Saratoga from a few years ago. if you are interested in more about my thoughts on Saratoga Race Course.
After a day at the races we were hungry and had a nice dinner at The Peppermill in Glens Falls before the boys cached in some of their winnings (Their Aunt won and dolled out some $$$$) at the go cart track. We had a 1/2 off second players admission. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look in those tourist area books that you can find anywhere in tourist will almost always find a coupon on two....

After go carts...we had to get ice cream. My first favorite, and apparently EVERYONE elses...Martha's
A picture of Martha's ice cream as we drove by....was way to crowded. Next best and incredibly good is Coopers Cave...

Ice CREAM was time for bed, we have a big day planned at the Great Escape for tomorrow.