Saratoga Journal: Final Thoughts
By: Tom Bellhouse
Saratoga 2009 has come and gone. What a fantastic summer. Let's take a look back on some of the memories from this meet:
Almost every day during the meet started around 5 am for me. Rise and shine. Put on my West Point pullover (some mornings it wasn't even necessary) and headed over to the track. Waved to the security guards at the Nelson Avenue stable gate. Some days I even brought them donuts to show our appreciation for accommodating the WPT partners. Made sure the WPT golf cart was charged and ready to go. Acquired the ever famous set list. Got my daily cup of coffee (The lady at the Morning Line knew exactly how much cream and sugar.) Around 6:30 the first glimpse of the West Point crew was spotted at the Morning Line. All of us huddled around and talked about the latest racing news and the West Point Stars. "There's Middle Of The Nite." "Wow , look at Flat Bold." "Who is that in a West Point saddle towel?" On race days, we all stood and talked about how we saw the race playing out. We each glanced through the Saratoga Special each and every day. Sometimes some of us were lucky enough to be quoted. On good days, our horses' pictures were in the winners' section. Terry even had a photo from the 1970s make it into the "Special." Those were the good ole' days when he used to walk hots. Sometimes we just stood there and took it all in. How many people wish they could be standing on the Saratoga backside watching Kentucky Derby and Belmont winners gallop by? For those of us who experienced the Saratoga backside this year (and in years past), it is truly something special. Every racing enthusiast must make a stop to the backstretch at the Spa. If you want to see some black and gold, you know where to find us (the Morning Line coffee stand). Great things happen back there. It's where the magic begins.
WPT had some great days of racing this year. Opening day was a successful, with Saratoga Russell drawing away in impressive fashion. We then had two two-year-old winners in Encore Saritta and Successful Score "score" later in the meet for Dallas Stewart and Dale Romans, respectively. Our famous little grey horse Macho Again made our hearts stop on two separate Saturdays this summer, with scintillating performances in both the Whitney and the Woodward. As many of you know, he came flying at Rachel Alexandra, only to miss by a diminishing head. We had some unlucky racing days, but all of our horses came home safe and sound and provided us with the opportunity to run at the nation's premiere venue. We made the big screen in the clubhouse our home on race days and were fortunate enough to beat home a few winners. A rolled up program or racing form works wonders to bring ‘em home. Some of us even walked out a few or a few hundred richer.
Our partners truly made the Saratoga experience special this year. Everybody was so supportive and excited about the meet from day one until the last race on Labor Day. We love bringing people together who are so passionate about our great sport. From our backstretch tours, to our Whitney party, to our Travers Barbeque, West Point truly united some wonderful people this summer. Most of our team was up for the Whitney and it was great to share such a great weekend with the people who make West Point tick.
I think most of us can't believe its really over. I think it's the fastest six weeks of the year. Now we can all recharge our batteries and look forward to success for the rest of the year. We have some exciting horses in our stable that are destined to do great things. Saratoga 2010 seems so far away right now, but before we know it we'll be sipping coffee at the Morning Line and feeling our hearts beat through our chests in front of the big screen.
Goodbye Saratoga 2009.