Saratoga Diary XXXIX: No Graveyard Blues for Songbird
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., July 24, 2016--
Maybe I should have had Broadway John chronicle what opening week of Saratoga 148 looked like and felt like. Per usual, good news and bad, mostly bad, but the best thing to report is the racing this first weekend of the cherished Saratoga season.
You might not care about the rantings from some loon from Queens. Lest I remind you Diary that it’s been a pretty good week for loons from Queens.
The saving grace is, as always, the horses and the competition, four-legged and two, with storylines ever where you turn. But as people in my set know, we insist on sharing bad news immediately. Here’s the notable and notorious events of the week:
Saratoga: Meeting and Exceeding Expectations
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 7, 2015—Strange, posting this first ever Saratoga Diary from the Sunshine State. Ironic, too, since daily summer storms here are running to form while the Spa atmospherics were unusually remarkable; clear days with hardly a trace of humidity.
Quickly: Name another extended race meet in which only 10* turf races were rescheduled to the main track?
NYRA bashing is a popular sport, one that goes with the territory. And while I can nitpick with the best of them, I did not see a multitude of major faults to bitch about; not even the well-publicized cap on Travers day attendance.
Complaining about the current NYRA administration comes easily, especially when racetrack language is generously peppered with corporate speak, but they hosted a very successful season by any measure.
Yes, compared to other years, prices were exorbitant. But when likened to other major sports—and Saratoga is a world class sports venue--prices were in line, even if $5 for bottled water on Travers day was excessive.
For anyone attending the Travers, the “guest experience” was enjoyable. One could move about the crowded facility with relative ease and clubhouse betting queues were not inordinately deep--at least on the three or four occasions we left our press box sanctuary.
Simply because the brand says Saratoga doesn't mean the race meet will be memorable. But in 2015 it was. The racing was spectacular, even many mundane weekday programs necessitated by the expansion of Mega Racedays.