Saratoga Snippets: The End of Track Season
This is my second installment at Saratoga Wire of what is an extension of what I have been writing for years over at my Fun Saratoga blog. I wrote an introductory piece which appeared on this site on Sunday where I expressed my excitement about Saratoga Wire and indicated that it now made Saratoga Springs a two-newspaper town. I am happy to be part of this new endeavor and sharing my thoughts.
One of the types of posts I enjoyed writing over at Fun Saratoga that I intend to transfer to Saratoga Wire is what one reader called my “stream of consciousness” entries – just a bunch of random thoughts about Saratoga Springs and the goings on here in the Spa City. The Saratoga Snippets title was something I salvaged from the Post-Star after they dumped their blog of the same name – along with most of their Saratoga coverage.
Without further ado, here’s what is on one Saratogian’s mind as he recovers from a long track season:
* And what an interesting track season it was, at least if you’re into politics and wanted to handicap the odds on various options Governor Andrew Cuomo had in store for NYRA after track season. There wasn’t really much star-power at the stakes races this year, unless you count my chance meeting with David Cassidy on the backstretch. With most of the triple-crown heavyweights nursing injuries or already retired to stud, Saratoga Race Course spectators saw a bunch of no-name equines – at least to the casual fan.
* I really appreciated that the famed breakfast at the track offered an a la carte option this year. I’m usually just not in the mood for a full buffet. Maybe I’ll have to get my butt to the gym more often to build up an appetite, but until then I will appreciate having a somewhat lighter breakfast as I watch the ponies train.
* NYRA needs to move the Travers canoes to a better spot in the pond – you can’t see it from the grandstand nor most of the clubhouse – They are way over to the west of the finish line and hidden from 95% of the fans.
* Have you checked out Saratoga150.com? That’s the new web site set up for Saratoga Race Course’s 150th birthday – or is it an anniversary – heck I guess it’s both. Anyway it’s going to be a five-month celebration going from May through September of next year. Let’s hope it will be as fun as it sounds.
* On one hand I hate to see chain establishments like Moe’s and Dunkin Donuts at the track, on the other hand I was there watching the horses train at 7am and DD was open and… the readily available fresh coffee was appreciated.
* On the other side of that coin, NYRA really gets certain things right when it makes Saratoga Race Course more than just a bunch of animal races. The two (what I will call) Dixieland bands that play inside and in the backyard, along with the accompanying dancers, are just great, as are the rock bands that play in that little gazebo behind The Carousel. I also like the kids’ entertainment I saw in the backyard over the weekend – notably Monday which was a glorious day with lots of people at the track. Some Labor Days there are sparse crowds and are depressing, but not this vibrant one.
* Moving a little away from the track, I took my family for brunch at the Turf Club (aka Springwater Inn) on Monday and it was a good – not great – meal. It’s a nice menu and I would go again. The restaurant’s menu showed a little bit of humor where it offered two types of bacon – “oink or gobble.”
* I ran the Joseph Longobardo 5K race at Saratoga Spa State Park on Sunday. Joe Longobardo was a heroic NY State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty when I was the PBA union president for the Troopers six years ago, so it was in a way a solemn occasion but at the same time I was happy to be there honoring his life and raising money for the scholarship fund in his name. The (slow) run through such beautiful areas of the park sure made it a nicer experience as well.
* My wife Margarita and I finally made it to Druthers Brewing Company on Broadway the other day. It has a great atmosphere, a cool crowd, and damn good beer. What else could a guy want?
* Does anybody go to that Asian Restaurant in Congress Plaza? Does anyone even know it’s there?
* Spot Coffee was originally supposed to open in its Railroad Avenue location sometime this month, but when I inquired with the company they advised they were now targeting December. I suspect that really means November, but we’ll see.
* Continuing with the theme of out-of-town companies having delayed openings, is the Thirsty Owl Wine Company ever going to finish their remodeling of the Kimberly Inn on Broadway?
* Well I’ll end on this humorous note; one of the city employees I know says at work they talk about all of Saratoga’s political problems and scandalous activities and describe Saratoga Springs as being like Britney Spears – beautiful on the outside, but a total mess on the inside.
Have a great weekend everybody, I’ll catch up to you next week.
ON THE WIRE