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The Saratoga Special is about to become a teen-ager. In 17 days, the daily paper covering American racing's most prestigious meet celebrates its lucky 13th season. Who would have thunk it? With that in mind, I thought I'd share some favorite photos that capture the spirit of this magical place in upstate New York. So let the countdown begin. We'll try to keep this going daily til Opening Day.

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I guarantee there will be plenty of frog photos over the 40-day meet. Some butterflies, dragon flies, goats, roosters, and horses, too.

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It wouldn't be Saratoga without those beautiful sunrise photos.

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Of course, there will be a mix of backside bath shots.

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Later in the meet as the morning chill cools the air we'll be looking for our jackets and sweatshirts.

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Fantastic finishes are part and parcel of racing's most competitive meet. Remeber Funny Cide (left)?

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These old boys have been a fixture on the infield for years. I suspect they will be as ornery as ever.

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We'll definitely keep an eye peeled for the hawks that reside in the grandstand eaves and make a majestic appearance on the spires from time to time.

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Though, sadly, John's Call has departed this life, the race in his memory will be run on the turf on Wednesday July 31.

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Mary Lou Whitney, right, remains a big part of the spirit of Saratoga, and the marquee race run in honor of her family is scheduled for Aug. 3.

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The Phipps barn, just inside the Fifth Avenue stable entrance, is bound to be a hopping place with Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the house.

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We can't get enough of these beautiful shots of horses and exercise riders on the Oklahoma track at dawn.

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A view of the grandstand and the half-mile pole.

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Rainbows for luck.

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A rooster crosses the road...just to get to the other side.

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Whatever you do, don't forget to bring an umbrella to the Spa.

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Sunrise from the rooftop.

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Now that picnic tables are reserved on Travers Day, will scenes like this be relegated to memory?

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The clubhouse entrance.