Opinions - 2013 - 2015

Time to define. How will Saratoga 2015 be defined?

A lot of ways, for a lot of people - some good, some bad, some career-changing, some life-altering. We don't look at stats about handle, attendance, fan enhancement or economic impact. We look at the human and equine impact.

Here are a few...

For Joe Parker, it was the year he won two races (at least), that's two more than a Hall of Fame trainer, a Travers-winning trainer and a Breeders' Cup Classic-winning trainer combined.

For Lisa Lewis, it was the year she went back on her own and did it her way, going 3-for-5 (before today) from her Belmont Park base.

For Todd Pletcher, it was more of the same.

For Chad Brown, it was the year - perhaps - he toppled Pletcher.

For Lauren Robson, it was the year of affirmation as she won her first race here as an owner.

For James Bond, it was a year he rocked the tote board three times.

For the fan, it was a long summer.

For Rudy Rodriguez, it was 'what might have been' early, and 'what was' later, as he won 12 races and counting.

For Flintshire, it was the year he wowed America.

For Gary Barber, it was the year he won a jump race.

For stewards, it was the year of the hot seat, as they overturned the Sanford and the CCA Oaks.

For Billy Blake, Brandon Valvo and Annise Montplaisir, it was the summer they learned they wanted to stay in the game.

For Chris Antley's legacy, it was rest.

For restaurants, it was the year 15 Church became the most talked about spot in town.

For King Leatherbury, it was the year he was recognized for plying his trade, day in, day out.

For Sunday cards, it was the year of the standalone features Alydar, Tale Of The Cat and Smart N Fancy.

For Tony Dutrow, it was the year the light turned green for good.

For Eric Cancel, it was proof that apprentices can crack the top 10 at Saratoga.

For Rachel Alexandra, it was the start of her career as a foundation mare.

For Fasig-Tipton, it was another summer of proof that there is no place like Saratoga.

For owners Michael Dubb, Klaravich and Patricia Generazio, it was battle.

For some accomplished trainers (you know who you are), it was a summer to forget.

For steeplechasing, it was heartbreaking.

For Javier Castellano, it was the year he polished his craft, winning his fifth Travers and solidifying himself amongst the sport's best - ever.

For Kendrick Carmouche and agent Kidd Breeden, it was arrival time, the year they asked 'What took you so long?' rather than 'What are you doing here?'

For Irad Ortiz Jr., it was the breakthrough.

For Mark and Norm Casse, it was frustrating - and educational.

For Corey Lanerie, it was the year he fled.

For Alex Cintron, Rafael Hernandez and other accomplished jockeys, it was deep water.

For Tepin, it was two strides too long.

For Jeremiah Englehart, it was stellar, maybe next year will be the year they dump a truck a load of dirt for his shedrow in the hollow of Horse Haven. 

For Untapable, it was a hangover from her stellar 3-year-old campaign.

For Doug Cowans, it was the year he almost pulled off the River Downs-Saratoga shocker in the With Anticipation and the year he had to leave his horse in Saratoga.

For Barclay Tagg, it was the year he reminded the world that he can still train, if given the horse, he was hitting 36 percent into today.

For Lane's End, it was the year A. P. Indy had an heir apparent. 

For American Pharoah, it was the toughest of beats.

For the outriders, it was another year of unsung heroism, especially, the running grab of Bourbon Courage.

For Joel Rosario, it was slow, then strong, then painful.

For American Pharoah's fans, it was a reminder that the sport takes as much as it gives.

For Keen Ice, it was the perfect storm.

For Nolan Clancy, it was his last summer before high school.

For Brad Cox, it was another step up the New York ladder.

For The Special's photographers Tod Marks, Dave Harmon and Connie Bush, it was another year of bringing it every day.

For Adam Rice, it was the year bettors wrote his name in the beware column.

For crowd control, it was the year they sold out the Travers and the year we wondered why.

For Travers Day, it was the year of seven stakes.

For Jimmy Jerkens, Leah Gyarmati, Mike Hushion and all the other disciples of Allen Jerkens, it was the first summer that you couldn't call up The Chief for a word of advice or a vote of confidence.

For The Special, it was the most pages we ever wrote, certainly less drama than last year and another season of covering the best six-plus weeks of racing.