A Weekend at the Races ~ Saratoga

A beautiful day at Saratoga...via my iPhone
This past weekend we headed up to Saratoga Springs, New York in what has become an annual ritual. There is nothing quite like a summer day spent at the races at Saratoga, especially when the weather cooperates like it did this weekend.  The annual summer race meet at Saratoga is the melding of "the sport of kings" and a country fair. There is truly something for everyone at Saratoga.

Saratoga is the oldest racetrack in the United States, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year...the sense of history is palpable at every turn.
 Don't miss the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame across the street from the track...we always stop to see the latest exhibit each year. If you love horses or sporting art, you will really enjoy this museum. It has a wonderful collection of horse paintings and sculpture, trophies from all the major races including the Kentucky Derby, and tremendous amount of information about thoroughbred racing. It also houses the Hall of Fame of thoroughbred racing, honoring horses, jockeys, trainers and owners who have made significant contributions to the sport. This years inductees included three time Kentucky Derby winning jockey, Calvin Borel.

 A statue of Secretariat in the courtyard of the museum.
Sporting art, silver trophies and racing memorabilia abound at the museum.
After racing ends, the town of Saratoga Springs has the feeling of a lively street party with street musicians, restaurants with outdoor seating and interesting gift shops and art galleries all open late.
Part of our annual ritual involves dinner at our favorite restaurant in town, Hattie's.  Hattie's has been serving the best Southern food north of the Mason-Dixon line for 75 years! The fried chicken is famous, having been written up in many magazines as some of the best in the country.  (Note: If you can't make it to the restaurant, they also have an location at the track.)
If that isn't a full enough day for your, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center has regular concerts throughout the summer in an outdoor amphitheater. In past years, we have seen Stevie Nicks and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young there - it is a lovely, intimate concert venue.
Here are a few more of my images from last weekend...

Shake Shack has a shake called "The Sloppy Track", exclusive to the Saratoga location made with salted caramel custard...it is insanely good.
"Wise Dan" won the Eclipse Award for 2012 American Horse of the Year and was the winner of the big race on Saturday.
Watching the horses walk onto the track from the paddock.
Two year old "Sweet Whiskey" won her maiden race easy, almost setting a track record...watch for her in the Kentucky Oaks next year.
A jockey signing autographs before his next race...when my children were younger, they enjoyed seeing who could get the most autographs.  
Win or lose, you definitely can't beat a weekend in Saratoga!
If you are interesting in more information about thoroughbred racing in Saratoga, this video is excellent:
Also, if you are fan of thoroughbred racing, this multimedia presentation on veteran jockey Russell Baze from yesterday's New York Times web site is excellent.

Copy of Oh, the places WEB SIZED
(I am participating in the "Oh, The Places I've Been" link party organized by The Tablescaper with this post...come on over and check out everyone else's posts!)