Bit and Pieces

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Thoughts and observations . . .

Rain can turn everything to chaos.

Horses will stop and stare at almost anything.

Irish trainer Gordon Elliott’s team brought Dirar to the paddock for Thursday’s Turf Writers with a shamrock brushed into his hindquarters.

Get Stormy looks like he’d be a fun ride, except for the bit where he tries to knock you off.

It’s darker in the morning than it used to be.

A golf cart will get you pretty much anywhere you want to go at Saratoga Race Course.

A golf cart won’t necessarily get you anywhere you want to go outside the gates.

Somebody in racing ought to buy the Saratoga Sleigh bed and breakfast. It would make a great restaurant, clubhouse, newspaper office, haunted house, something.

Ditto for the Pepper’s Market building, only smaller.

That gas station on the corner of Union and East really isn’t a gas station anymore.

Mike Hushion is having some meet.

There are parts of the racetrack none of us will ever see.

Tea is better than coffee, in the long run.

After four weeks with kids in Saratoga, a week without kids in Saratoga is kind of lonely.

You don’t have to be a steeplechase expert to cash tickets on the steeplechase races.

Jockey – jump or flat – is a dangerous career choice.

Americans panic over weather, probably because we have too much information.

All schools and universities should start after Labor Day, and it’s got nothing to do with Saratoga.

It would be nice to eat lunch in the trustees room, in the back or out on that little porch, once.

The street lights on Union Avenue could turn off at a reasonable time of night – rather than first light.

Someday, I’m going to get a table on the third floor and have lunch with my wife – without a newspaper deadline to worry about.

Central air is a must for an office, no matter the temperature outside.

It’s great to see jockeys get along like co-workers, moments after competing like warriors.

There’s way more to a valet’s job than we know.

David Jacobson, Jonathan Sheppard and Jack Fisher have each won at least one jump race and one flat race at the meet.

Only Sheppard was expected to.

Mornings at Saratoga are far less harried than afternoons at Saratoga.

The city could make a fortune with a Union Avenue speed trap from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The racetrack is the only place on the planet where a newspaper will save a seat.

It would be great if some of the reserved seats could be opened to the general-admission crowd, especially on rainy days.

Next year, The Special wants to play a charity softball game against somebody.

Jeremiah Englhart is on our team.

A friendly dog will make anyone smile.

If you need to buy an umbrella, buy a big one.

Saratoga doesn’t do rain gutters.

John Kimmel’s courtyard might be my favorite barn on the grounds. Just think of the history in that place.

Clare Court was originally called Surcingle and used to be August Belmont Jr.’s private training facility. He built it in 1902, a year after the Sanfords constructed their private training barns across the street (now the receiving barn).

The tunnel used to be the only way into Clare Court, which once included tennis courts and gardens.

Clare Court is named after Tom and Anne Clare, track superintendents from 1924 to 1960.

The cast-iron touches around the grandstand and clubhouse are amazing if you really take the time to look at them.

Ditto for the horse heads carved out of wood.

Lots of people probably have no idea where Campfire Court, Du Pont, Madden Court and Millionaire Row are on the backside.

Barn 76 (the outriders’ barn) and Building 69 (which used to be an ice house) in Horse Haven are two of the oldest structures on the grounds – dating to pre-1850.

Horses used to pass through the clubhouse on the way from the paddock to the track.

The Oklahoma training track and stable area got its name because it was a long way from the main racetrack and back in 1903, “Oklahoma seemed as remote as Mars.”

All this history stuff came out of a new book, “The Spa, Saratoga’s Legendary Race Course” by Paul Roberts and Isabelle Taylor, that’s pretty cool.

NYRA sent me a copy. Thanks.