When one first thinks of Saratoga NY the immediate recognition is Saratoga Springs itself. Known for their natural mineral waters Saratoga Springs hosts a number of spas offering “relief and rejuvenation” for the visitor partaking in its waters. Saratoga Springs is also the home of Skidmore College. Skidmore is a private liberal arts college that embraces the idea that “creative thinking is an integral part of the campus culture as well as holding the belief that a liberal arts education best prepares one for a lifelong experience of continued learning.
On the other side of town, or actually just a few blocks away is Saratoga Race Course. At one time the Vanderbilt’s, Rockefeller’s and the who’s who in society would come to Saratoga referring to it as their summer playground. It was all about horse breeding and racing then and now for approximately the last week in July through labor day weekend it remains all about horse racing.
no images were foundAs you can see it is early am. The photo is of the clubhouse/grandstand area taken from the trackside rail on what is called the first turn. That is, the first turn on the oval beginning where the “finish line” is located, usually directly across from the clubhouse. If you work in this profession from a guard at the gate, a groom, jockey, trainer et. al. you can rely on your work day beginning before the rooster crows. Every race horse on the Saratoga grounds will receive one on one attention in some form or other each day. There are approximately 2000 horses stalled at Saratoga during the racing season. Each horse’s stall is cleaned, hay is hung, oats put in buckets and hung on the wall each and every day. All will be groomed and those that work out ( are ridden ) on one of the many training tracks or main tracks will be walked to cool down, showered, brushed and all around prettied up. There is no lack of attentiveness for these stately animals.
I decided to purchase my first DSLR camera in order to photograph horses and their surroundings which I found colorful and storytelling. Being a lifelong racing enthusiast I decided to own a thoroughbred once group ownership took foothold in the business. So there I was owning a small fraction of three horses, one of which earned enough purse money to cover the cost of owning all three. Very cool. Ironically once I purchased the camera I sold my shares of ownership in order to purchase a few lenses. The idea of photographing race horses has festered for quite a while so I decided to see if I could reach out to past friendships trying to get unrestricted backstretch access to the barn areas. Thanks to my friend Joel this was accomplished.