Archive for the Travels Category

Sep 11 2015

Intangibles Make Saratoga Special

Welcome to Saratoga

By Guest Author: Nancy Meyers

When Neal asked me to submit a series of articles about Saratoga, the initial idea was that I would focus on specific topics about where to stay, where to eat and what to see at the track and around town. I’ve enjoyed writing the articles and thank Neal for the opportunity to assist him during his time of recovery. My husband and I once again traveled to Saratoga earlier this month with our Corgi for another week to enjoy racing, the Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC and a city that we felt we knew and love. It would have been easy to simply write about specific topics and leave it at that, but our recent trip to the Spa compelled me to ask Neal to allow me to write a final installment about the intangibles that make Saratoga so special.

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Sep 5 2015

Kentucky Downs – A Pastoral and Primal Experience

Gate Break Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs Starting Gate

REPRINTED ARTICLE from September 22, 2014.

LIVE Racing in 2015 on September 5, 10, 12, 16, 19.

I recently returned to Kentucky Downs for the 2nd consecutive year, and I’m happy to report my experience was exhilarating. At one point I said to my wife, “This is becoming my favorite racetrack to visit.” Without missing a beat, she replied, “You say that about EVERY racetrack that we visit.” Touché.

We do visit a lot of racetracks. Just in the past year, I counted ten altogether. From Saratoga, down to Gulfstream, and all the way up to Emerald Downs in the Pacific Northwest. But Kentucky Downs is different, and in this case I mean “different” in a good way.

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Aug 17 2015

Heading to Saratoga: Where to Eat and Drink

Welcome to Saratoga

By Guest Author: Nancy Meyers

Part 1 of this series gave some tips on things to think about when selecting a location to stay in Saratoga. Click here to read that article.

Part 2 of this series offered some “Must See and Do’s” while you are visiting the Saratoga Springs area.  Click here to read that article.

So now that you have found a place to stay, and have outlined a plan of things to see while traveling around Saratoga, where will you enjoy a meal with family or friends?  In full disclosure, my husband and I do not have children, so if it’s family friendly places you are interested in, we can’t be of much help, except to acknowledge restaurants that appeared to have a lot of families in them.  In addition, I am only offering commentary about restaurants or bars or lounges in which we have enjoyed a cocktail or eaten a meal.  Reports from other friends about their experiences are not included. Finally, we usually rent a place within walking distance of downtown, so there are few restaurants that require a drive out of town.   Here they are, in no particular order.

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Jul 30 2015

Heading to Saratoga – Must See and Do’s

Welcome to Saratoga

By Guest Author: Nancy Meyers

Part 1 of this series gave some tips on things to think about when selecting a location to stay in Saratoga. Click here to read that article.

So now you have a place to stay and know that you are going to be spending most days at the track.  That leaves a little time to sample a lot of what makes Saratoga special especially if you complete your handicapping the night before or wait until arriving on track.

Excluding the dining and bar scene, (which will be covered in a later post), here are the various things that can make your stay extra special:

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Jul 23 2015

Heading to Saratoga – Where to Stay?

Welcome to Saratoga

By Guest Author: Nancy Meyers

Let me begin by stating that  a lot of websites can better describe the history of Saratoga, the race track, parks and tourist options  than I can in this blog.  A quick Google search can probably provide excess information in that regard. But once you’ve decided to take the plunge and travel to Saratoga, one of the most critical decisions has to be selection of accommodations.

Saratoga Springs has multiple housing options from “Mom & Pop” motels, chain hotels, B&B’s, one room efficiencies, condos, and house rentals.  If you stay on or near the main thoroughfare, Broadway, realize that a walk from downtown  Saratoga Springs to the track is a solid 20 minutes.  On a humid, salty day in August, the walk at midday or at the end of a day at the track can be a bit taxing and even result in a race through a thunderstorm – something we have experienced from time to time. Depending on the relative fitness of you and your guests and all that you want to take to the track, you may find yourself driving and parking near the track anyway.

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Jul 1 2015

Emerald Downs – A Fun Night Out

Emerald Downs Gate

Exactly one year ago, on our way to an Alaskan cruise vacation, we decided to spend a couple extra days in the Seattle area so we could visit Emerald Downs Racetrack.  We were lucky enough to have timed our visit so we were there for their annual “Fireworks Spectacular” celebrating the July 4th holiday. Having never been to Emerald Downs, we did not know what to expect.

To put things in perspective, my hometown racing venue is Saratoga, a mecca of horse racing, where the purse for one Maiden race exceeds the sum total of the purses for all nine races ($61,475) at Emerald Downs the day we attended.  The “feature” race was an $18,000 Claiming race with a purse of $14,800.  But we learned there is more to the “quality of racing” than the claiming tag or the so called value of a horse.  There is also the “quality of the racing experience.”

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Jan 18 2015

Gulfstream Park – Like Visiting A Tropical Resort

GP Main Toteboard

This will be my 4th consecutive year returning to Gulfstream Park race track in Hallandale Beach, Florida.  Every year the length of my stay increases.  After looking at some of my pictures and hearing a story, maybe you’ll understand why.

The first thing very unique about Gulfstream Park, when compared to other race tracks, is the openness to the whole facility.  There are no admission gates, and you can enter and exit as you please.  Behind the race track is an entire “village” of stores, restaurants, and pubs.  Click here to read more about the village, including a directory and photos.

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Aug 9 2014

This Could Be Para-Para Paradise – Images from Saratoga

Jose Lezcano

Jose Lezcano Styling

I say to people all of the time, even if you’re not a horse racing fan, if you have the opportunity, at least visit Saratoga for a day. The atmosphere is like no other race track … period.

Today I was sitting atop a picnic table, sipping a cold drink, watching the trainers, owners, jockeys, and horses entering the paddock … when Coldplay’s song Paradise starting reverberating in my brain.  And I thought … this truly is a paradise.

Here are a few of the images from historic Saratoga Race Course.

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Sep 26 2013

Experience Kentucky Downs – The Only European Style Track in North America

Neal at Kentucky Downs

The author near the finish line.

In September, 2013, I finally made it to Kentucky Downs. I can now cross this off my bucket list! I attended two days of live racing, with two completely different experiences.

Before I get into that, let me describe Kentucky Downs, as it is a truly unique venue for racing in North America.

It is modeled after European Turf courses, which are not oval, and definitely not flat.  Kentucky Downs has undulations on the track that include both rises and falls at various points.  Further down in the article we will show the course layout and some live pictures. Read More >>

Jun 2 2013

Monmouth Visit

Deb and I made our first trip to Monmouth Park (in Oceanport, NJ) race track over the Memorial Day weekend.  And while I’m not much of a travel critic, I will say that overall we really liked the Monmouth Park facility.  I know, you’re probably thinking, has he ever met a race track he didn’t like?  That would be a fair question.  And, the answer would be no … but, I do like some more than others. Read More >>