Visitors to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) at Saratoga Spa State Park can now enjoy a new $9.5 million visitors services center unveiled earlier this season by Governor Kathy Hochul prior to her swearing-in in August. [Read more…] about New Visitor Facility Opens at Saratoga Performing Arts Center
The saga of thoroughbred racing at Saratoga has largely been told by and about the horse owners, tycoons, the rich and famous of their era.
The people who actually care for the horses, the backstretch (barn area) workers, grooms and hot walkers often receive little attention. [Read more…] about The Saratoga Racecourse Backstretch Backstory
Visitors from every part of the world have made their way to Saratoga Springs for myriad reasons, but mainly for their health or their hippic interest.
They have been accommodated in fabulous structures, but unfortunately most of these great hotels have been lost. In their time they established a superior level of service, dedicated to sybarite satisfaction which help make Saratoga a resort destination. They mainly stood along Broadway.
The Kensington Hotel however, stood away from the others. Its location was on fashionable Union Avenue, the splendid thoroughfare which reaches from the village to Saratoga Lake, with the race track in between. [Read more…] about Saratoga’s Kensington Hotel: From Sanitarium to Skidmore
To the Editor of The Stationer
As the heated term of the year draws near I presume that any number of stationer clerks [stationary store clerks] are asking themselves as to how, when and where they shall spend their vacations. I want to give them a bit of advice regarding a summer outing. [Read more…] about 1890 Hikers: Albany to Lake George and Back
Saratoga has always been a gambling town. Even before the famous racetrack was built, Saratoga was full of gambling dens.
Many of the early gambling places were run by men who were considered “gentlemen gamblers.” They ran relatively clean games and generally avoided violence or other forms of vice. They were professional gamblers.
Later, with gambling well entrenched and Saratoga’s location along the notorious bootleg trail from Canada during prohibition, Saratoga attracted nationally known gangsters. [Read more…] about Gamblers and Gangsters of Saratoga
This week Fasig-Tipton will conduct its 100th Saratoga Yearling Sale. This is a remarkable achievement, not only in the thoroughbred industry, but for any business to reach the century mark with their product.
The yearling sales at Saratoga Race Course have long set the standard for the thoroughbred industry. Fasig-Tipton entered as a participant in 1917, with their purchase of property on East Avenue, giving them the advantage over existing auction companies like Powers-Hunter and the Kentucky Sales Company, who conducted their auctions in the race track paddock. Interestingly, all the competing companies would often hire the same auctioneer, the venerable George A. Bain, to deliver the chant. [Read more…] about The 100th Fasig-Tipton Yearling Horse Sale in Saratoga: Some History
The Saratoga Dreams B&B at 203 Union Avenue gives a modern day traveler, the opportunity to step back into the marvelous past of Saratoga Springs. Climbing the stairs starts the adventure, where you first see the statue of Seabiscuit at the National Museum of Racing next door, and across the street you may catch a glimpse of runners being “tacked-up” in the paddock at Saratoga Race Course.
The large covered porch, typical of so many of Saratoga Springs’ Queen Anne style homes, allows an elevated view of “Tex” Hughlette Wheeler’s fabulous sculpture. Charles S. Howard, Seabiscuit’s owner, commissioned cowboy sculptor Wheeler (who’s unique given name of Hughlette was the surname of the doctor who delivered him during his mother’s difficult pregnancy), to “capture the horse from life,” and had two castings made. Howard’s heirs graciously donated this casting, originally at the Howard’s Ridgewood Farm, to the National Museum of Racing. The other bronze which Howard had cast has always stood in the Santa Anita paddock. [Read more…] about Albany’s John McBain Davidson: Safes, Steamboats & Horse Racing
The Saratoga Springs City Council has accepted a donation by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation to make a repair to the architectural surround of the Spirit of Life and Spencer Trask Memorial in Congress Park, a National Historic Landmark. In 2019 a baluster of the surround was stolen. [Read more…] about Saratoga’s Spencer Trask Memorial Being Restored After Vandalism
Just before dawn on July 7th, 1944, several thousand Japanese soldiers, sailors and civilians swarmed from their positions along the northwestern corner of the Pacific island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas. The target of what would be the largest attack of the Second World War was the U.S. Army’s 27th Infantry Division, specifically the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 105th Infantry Regiment.
By the end of the day, more than 900 out of the approximately 1,100 soldiers in those two battalions would be casualties. Many of them were from the Albany-Saratoga region. Nearly all the approximately 30,000 Japanese attackers were killed in what was the last major enemy assault on Saipan during 25 days of fighting that left about 15,000 Americans killed, wounded or missing in action. Another 20,000 Japanese civilians were killed or committed suicide out of fear of American troops. [Read more…] about Capital District Soldiers at the Battle of Saipan
There was this gentleman named Charlie Ellison, or Charles R. Ellison to be precise, from Chicago. He was involved with the horse racing game in the late nineteenth century, and as the calendar flipped to 1900, began finding great success.
Ellison was famous for his large wagers, and turf writers seemed to revel in detailing his betting successes His countenance was fair, and as he was towheaded, these very recognizable locks earned him a unique sobriquet, the “Blonde Plunger.” The plunger in his nickname implied a reckless speculator or gambler. [Read more…] about The Horse ‘Governor Hughes’ & Gambling Suppression in NY