The one thing about Saratoga…
If I were pressed to choose the one thing that I love most about Saratoga, my answer would be…
…that I couldn’t.
There isn’t only one. It isn’t because there are hundreds of things to love about the town, although that presents a challenge.
So I will answer by saying there are two things about Saratoga that I don’t think I could live without.
The first are the early mornings, particularly when dawn is breaking.
There aren’t many people on the street. The village is quiet. Tourists are sleeping off their evenings of revelry and recouping from their late suppers. All that are up are the horses and the horsemen, and that’s just fine by me.
Watching the sun rise over the Oklahoma Training track, seeing the sky’s glorious colors changing from darkness to purple, blue, red, orange and yellow is something you have to see for yourself.
It is watching the mist floating over its turf course while listening to an exercise rider as she cajoles and teaches the horse what she needs from him. It’s leaning against the rail, galloping through the breaking light of morn. Every stride, they get closer. The galloping sounds are rhythmic. They can lull you to sleep if you let them. The Thoroughbred and its rider moving in harmony. With all I know on this earth I have never heard a sound more calming, more peaceful and more beautiful than that of a thoroughbred galloping in the early morning hours.
The second is juvenile, but no less important.
Saratoga allows me to be a kid again. It allows me to whip my leg during a race with my Form. Today I might be trying to bring home a 14-1 shot making on the lawn. When I was a kid, I imagined I was the jockey on that horse.
OK, maybe today it is a little bit of both.
Today I have the freedom to come and go as I please, spend the money I want to spend within reason, and bring back a piece of The Spa that can go with me everywhere I go until next year.
I can hop in my truck and drive to all the places that I have the fondest memories of and I can go there again and again…the G Bar G Ranch (or where it once stood), the Avenue of the Pines, Geyser Crest, the racetrack, the Hall of Fame, Broadway, the mansions of North Broadway, the beautiful Victorian homes of the Gilded Age on both the East and West sides of town.
For me, when I am there, it is all mine.
She is my town.
But mostly it brings me back to a time in my life when I was happy, magnificently and irreversibly happy. No stress. No tension. No bills to pay or wondering if my job was in jeopardy in a tough economy.
Saratoga has always, without fail, made me forever happy.