The car is half packed. Ran out of daylight yesterday, so now an Espresso machine, two bags of shirts and a Saratoga Special jacket sit in the hallway while my Subaru Outback waits in the driveway.
Miles is off to camp, Annie off to the barn and I'm off to Saratoga. My streak of Saratoga summers continues, dating back to 1989, when I made $255 a week galloping six a day for Mickey Preger. What a boss, what a legend.
Billy Wright and El Senor were there, so was Roger and Mona Massimo, Fearless Leader and Little Bad Wolf. Give me five minutes and I could go stall-by-stall, every name, every horse. But, wow, that was all the way back in 1989. It will be 30 years in a few years, could that be right?
Saratoga has changed and I've changed - everything changes.
The Saratoga Special returns Friday, a daily odyssey of racing and writing. It began in 2001, with a sense of pride, urgency and responsibility. It wasn't pretty, but we survived. It has changed over the years, we feel more secure, but only slightly. To write, you need to feel like it matters. Like the world can't live without it. The urgency has inevitably waned, but it hasn't gone away. When we started you couldn't watch a race on your phone, you didn't get bombarded with 140-characters, hell, you couldn't even read the full paper on the Internet. Now, races and horses hit you like confetti. We're trying to make them last, at least twirl in the air for a moment or two before they hit the ground and are swept into oblivion.
We'll do our best.