Throwback Thursday: The Special, Opening Day 2007

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The year was 2007, The Saratoga Special’s seventh in business. We were young (or less old), the paper was a tall tabloid (today’s version is more square), the participants were at once familiar and unfamiliar and the magic was still there.

The Special set up in a half-under-construction house on Lincoln Avenue with a staff of future giants in the game. Joe and Sean were there of course, but the others included Pete Fornatale, Alysse Jacobs and Brian Nadeau. Jamie Santo handled the copy editing. Tod Marks and Dave Harmon were the main photographers, with contributions from Barabara Livingston.

Oh, and the landlord would stop by to drink beer he left in the refrigerator. He also dropped an air conditioner out a window.

Fornatale, Nadeau and Frank Scatoni handicapped and Santo took charge of the “Fickle Finger of Fate” picks where we spun a wheel from a board game to come up with the numbers. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, the guesses actually held their own.

The Opening Day edition – Wednesday, July 25 – went to 24 pages and covered a variety of stories including:

• A conversation with jockey Calvin Borel.

• An article on the new floor in the clubhouse.

• Andrew Byrnes talking about filling races, or trying to fill races.

• A preview of the Schuylerville Stakes with check-ins with Barclay Tagg about According To Plan (“I never make plans,” is how he put it), Gary Contessa about I Promise and Ronny Werner about Yes By West. Rick Dutrow won it with Subtle Aly.

Scan the entries and you’ll see familiar names.

The mighty Stud Muffin – who would go on to win 14 races and earn $671,865 – was entered as a main-track-only in the seventh race.

Future Fall Highweight Handicap winner Grand Champion was part of the third race. He finished third to future stakes winner and $511,990 earner Lord Snowdon.

Of course Here and There was part of the paper. Rick Violette assistant Rusty Myers led off Worth Repeating with this gem about having another cup of coffee: “No thanks, I’ve had two. If I have three, I’ll start firing people.”

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