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Guest Column: Special days at Saratoga

Early in the meet I sat on a picnic table by the coffee shack on the backstretch of Saratoga Race Course and reflected on how my interest and participation in horse racing have brought me many wonderful experiences. Saratoga has played the central part in these experiences.

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with The Little Guys

First you have to find them. Many don’t appear on the barn list and sometimes when they do appear, you can’t find them in their assigned barns. Some are tucked in the trees in the far corners of Horse Haven. Some are wedged between bigger stables, just a stall or two, like bobbers on a pond. Some bed down in private barns around town, others reside in low-ceilinged barns on the harness track, others, hell, we’re still looking for them.

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Bill Mott

The tour begins in Bill Mott’s office near the Oklahoma Training Track. The Hall of Famer shows some photos and paintings hanging on the wall of the spacious standalone office building. The walls and shelves contain a variety of Mott’s horses – Cigar, Theatrical, Royal Delta, Drosselmeyer and Singleton, winner of the Hazel Park Mile in 1979. In the photo, the gray gelding streaks across the line in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Michigan track. (Originally published in Sept. 1 edition of The Saratoga Special.)

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Phil Serpe

Warm weather? Stress? Not a problem for Phil Serpe. He lets those things roll off when he’s in Saratoga, more specifically when he’s in the courtyard in front of is barn on the middle of the Saratoga backstretch. The area is known as Blue Heaven and there’s a sign hung high on the telephone pole to prove it.

Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour with Michelle Nevin

Michelle Nevin leaned on a board inside her shedrow of Barn 73 on the Oklahoma Training Track Thursday morning as training hours wound down. The native of Tipperary, Ireland, grew up in racing and took out her license in America in 2013.