On racing, community, and The Saratoga Special

Any successful race meeting anywhere in the world requires the cooperation and coordination of a number of distinct communities. The first essential community is made up of the employees and management of the racing association that hosts the meet. Communities of owners, trainers, and jockeys are required to stage the races. Certainly, the breeding communities near and far observe every race meeting with great interest, and no race meet could ever be conducted without the tireless work of the men and women who care for the horses on backstretches and in yards around the world.

Saratoga’s summer stand is one of the most eagerly awaited race meetings in the United States, and you will find all communities mentioned above actively participating.  Two others deserve mention – the wagering community and the local community in Saratoga Springs. Bettor participation ensures an average daily all-sources handle in excess of $13 million, the highest in the country. The local residents – and the summer visitors they welcome with open arms – turn out in droves, allowing Saratoga to routinely report average daily attendance of more than 20,000.

Yet another community informs all those I have previously mentioned – the media. Here in New York over the past year, regional consumer newspapers have focused on bird droppings at Aqueduct Racetrack, the salaries of New York Racing Association executives, and price increases at Saratoga, among other subjects, some newsworthy and some patently ridiculous. 

During the Spa meeting, The Saratoga Special provides daily coverage about all racing community constituents previously mentioned. The Special is the most informed and intelligent publication that covers any race meeting in the country, and possibly around the world. The newspaper provides excellent articles on handicapping and frequent owner, trainer, and jockey profiles that inform the reader and enhance the racing experience. The Saratoga Special is a “must read” each day during the Saratoga meet – and its affiliated media properties under the ST Publishing umbrella, including ThisIsHorseRacing.com, provide this quality coverage year round. 

After reports that efforts were made to curtail distribution of The Saratoga Special at Saratoga Race Course in 2014 – a move that would have proven divisive and detrimental to the racing communities that make this meet a success – I was relieved to learn that the parties involved have reached an agreement to provide distribution of The Special at levels consistent with prior years. Racing finds plenty of enemies from without – we must stand behind those who work to unite our communities from within. 

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