Ahhh, “The August Place to Be”…..Saratoga Springs, NY. It’s home of the Saratoga Thoroughbred Horse meet (aka ‘The Spa’) for about 40 racing days.
The combination of the relaxed vibe of the town, track season and the chance to make a score at the Spa is what makes it a real special place. It is a place where like minded horse racing fanatics and close friends rally and meet up each year to partake in this unique racetrack camaraderie.
It all began when our close gang of degenerates got our first taste of this magic about 30+ years ago. We took the Northway down to the track while attending summer camp at Camp Echo Lake, just 30 minutes north of this little oasis known as Saratoga. As the gang grew up together and graduated from college, we rented various houses for the entire Saratoga meet (from approx. 1986 – 2016). We each split a share depending upon how much time we were able to escape from work. We lived together with the common interest of basically eating, partying, clowning around and most importantly, betting on the ponies every single day……with the exception of ‘dark day Tuesday’s’ where we don’t roll because it’s the day of rest, kinda like Shomer Shabbet. These dark days served as a much needed respite in order to get our marbles together from screaming, whipping and betting our asses off at our designated spot, by the Big Red Spring in the backyard park area. Outside of Tuesday’s, it was nonstop pounding on all other days.
As years past, some in our gang got married and had children. As a result, we each gradually morphed into having different lifestyles and subsequently, moved in different housing directions. Whereas, in the past we were a collection of super low-life degenerates living under one roof. I can say, over the years, we transformed into semi-responsible degenerates under various roofs.
However, we all had one thing in common….. carve out as much time at the track and squeeze in as many racing days as humanly possible without pissing off our wives/girlfriends. If you are lucky enough to carve out enough time and spend the entire meet at Saratoga, which very few are able to accomplish, you then earn the title of “King of Saratoga”. Some people would argue to be “King”, you must crush Saratoga and show a significant profit for the meet. However, that is a fallacy in Big Doug’s book of life. It is time spent, not money won. I will make one exception, if you do hit a killer Pick 6 (over 6 figures), you have also earned the right to be called “King of Saratoga”.
The sheer beauty of the Toga meet, is that each day requires no communication nor any hassle of day planning, whatsoever. Like clockwork, all fellow degenerates know where to find each other when the clock hits 1 PM, our bellies full from either Marino’s, Roma’s, or Spring Street Deli and the starting gates open for the 1st race.
Well, another meet is officially over and each of the attending degenerates will scatter to their own lifestyles for the next 11 months. Hopefully, we will see everyone next summer. As for Barbie and I, we are off on Year 2 of our RTW (aka Round the World) Journey. First stop is a few week stint in Amsterdam, Netherlands and then the magical mystery trip continues to some far out, fun as shit places.
BTW, you may have missed the previous three (3) entries on this blog (New Orleans, Hawaii & Zion National Park) which we visited upon our return from SE Asia. For some reason, no email alert went out to my minyans on the mailing list, so go check it out.
Honorable mention to the following in attendance during the 2016 Saratoga meet.
The Pounders –
Coop, Eroe, Shal, Joey the Student, Big Pete, Lee, Little Pete & his Gang, Charles Fay, Bobby the Kid, Adam, Big Doug & Barbie.
Friends of the Pounders –
Rob Oringer, David Pearl, Scott Rothbort, Billy & Melissa Gildin, Colby C Rock, Mitchell Reiver, Ross Oringer & his bud Tyler, Matthew & Zach, Gavin & Cora, Blake & Barrett, Kim & Jake, Margaret & Lyndsey, John, the Harvard computer guy.
And of course, all the great guys led by Paul in the entire Purple Gang.