2006-06-17 by andyman
”Poor Kid” From Maryland Loves Saratoga Springs Racetrack
I have been going to Saratoga Springs Racetrack every summer since 1972.
In the late 70’s I managed to stay for the whole four week meet. In the last 25 years I’ve been lucky to last one week. In 2002 and 2005 I was only able to go for a weekend and in 2003 I drove up for one day to get the free Seabiscuit mug. I gave the mug to my mom and every time I go over to her house I see it on her coffee table. I really hope I can make it this year.
One of the things I thought was so neat when I first went to Saratoga was the way they saddled the horses around trees with numbers on them and walked the horses through the crowd. Being a poor kid from Maryland and my Dad dragging me to the local tracks around here since I was 8 years old, I had never seen the horses up close before. My first year I went to Saratoga I was 19 years old and another thing I had never seen was a steeplechase race. Man, I really thought steeplechasers were so cool. There just isn’t enough of them. Remember that horse Happy Intellectual? He was my favorite steeplechase horse. He won the Cup 3 years in a row; 1976, 1977, 1978, and I won on him all three years. Happy tried again in ’79 at the age of 13 but finished 5th that year. I believe Leaping Frog won it that year. I try to attend a few steeplechase events every year in Maryland and Virginia.
I was there when Affirmed beat Alydar and the stewards disqualified Affirmed and placed him second to Alydar. I was so embarrassed because my girlfriend got so drunk that I had to help her to the car and I missed the stretch run. In 1974 I had a really good meet. I opened a bank account and left $10,000.00 there so when I came back next year I would have a nice stake to start out with. The following year wasn’t a very good year for me. In 1975, me and a buddy of mine had to hitch hike to Saratoga and camp out until Monday morning when the bank opened so I could get my money out. One year I was talking to Charlie Whittingham in the paddock and I mentioned to him that me and two other guys were renting a house in Laurel, Maryland from someone he knew and he told me to bet his horse to place and it did. I have a lot of stupid stories, mostly about nothing, and a lot of fond memories from Saratoga.
Well, I am 53 years old now with a bad back, low finances, a sick mother, and a few other obstacles that prevent me from traveling. I just can’t stand the thought of my streak ending at 34 summers in a row that I’ve made it to Saratoga Springs Racetrack. I guess all streaks come to an end sooner or later. As the days draw closer to opening day, I’m driving myself frantic trying to figure out how I’m going to make it to Saratoga this year.
#seabiscuit #affirmed #alydar #paddock #stretch
Category History, Horse Racing, Horses, Saratoga Racetrack, Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Tales | Tags: , betting, handicapping, horse racing, horses, saratoga, saratoga springs
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