Following the foreshadowing of my last post, I’m very focused on the process of building habits in this new life – with the motivation of the fact we simply have no excuse if we can’t build the lifestyle we’ve dreamed of here, where there are next to zero external factors preventing us from structuring our time as we wish, and accomplishing the things we’ve decided are important. Much as we’ve repeated throughout this journey, this our moment – if not now, if not us who – we simply have to make the most of it in honor of all that we left behind (if nothing else).
(I started that little bit a week or so ago, and here I am – 6:40am on Opening Day 2018, July 20th, determined to give some effort to building a new habit: writing!)
Here we are! A glorious morning in mid-July, Opening Day has arrived – and the anticipation has been wonderful. I think of each of my wintery walks in March, chatting with Meg in Paris, looking down Crescent Ave toward the track and imagining horses there. By May it seemed like they might appear any moment, but then I learned they don’t start working on the Main track until the last days of June… but still things were slowly, but surely coming back to life – not only all the glorious flowers of the Saratoga Spring, but barn by barn along Gridley Ave, a few more stalls were filled and a few more sets were walking across Nelson to trek over to the Oklahoma to stretch their legs. And how many times have I greeted Mr. Bond and his exercise riders? It’s really going to be fun – at least for me – when we finally meet “officially” and I can offer my name along with my always crazy-enthusiastic grin and my shock of blond (I suppose I’m rapidly moving toward platinum) hair popping out of my visor.
I vividly remember that last Friday in June as I walked back from my morning jog along Nelson and realized the first horse I’d seen on the main track, was there, jogging backwards along the first turn. I think there were 3 or maybe 5 that day, a very rare and special day indeed. And in a flash of summer fun – my auntie’s visit, Cynthia’s rainy weekend visit, and the girls coming up from VA & NC for our hot & steamy 4th of July with the Doobie brothers, a parade, fireworks and lots of horsie fun – we’re now here on July 20th. Wow.
Yesterday, Jennifer and I made our reconnaissance trip around the frontside of the track to give our press passes a spin. To my amazement, I learned that at the beginning of the meet there’s a rather lush carpet of grass all across the backyard and under all the picnic tables. Something I’d never encountered in all our August visits over the years! We oogled an absolute herd of beauties schooling in the paddock, each set of grooms greeting us and a few making sure we knew their baby’s name. Gorgeous! And then, we spotted TRF Board member and New York racing’s favorite hometown hero, Richie Migliore in the paddock (with Barbara Livingston), and popped in to say hello and attend to a fun bit of TRF business. The stories he shared about his childhood and the pony races were amazing. I really do want to write down a draft to see if there’s any chance I can help him turn his story into a book – I can’t believe it’s not already been done.
After a fun visit to the Jock’s room, gathering our loot for the TRF Open Barn, we headed to the press room – and in a very auspicious twist, we were greeted by Dave Grening’s trunk and our good friend Mike MacAdam typing away in his own private office – offering a warm welcome to this newbie. Of course, we had to go up to the roof, and it was positively spectacular – straight up PINCH ME – when Richie and Jennifer and I had been chatting earlier, we were talking about a certain scene that we all agreed must be what heaven looks like… and then suddenly, we’re up on the rooftop of the Saratoga grandstand… and I’m pretty sure I have my own clear vision for what that the view from that happy place might be.
So, in the spirit of starting a new habit – my goal is to write at least 20 minutes a day, ideally 30, and maybe on a rainy day more and just because I love to share, and it will kind of keep me accountable, I’m going to write straight into the blog – for any of my dear peeps who might want to follow along.
Thanks for joining me on this adventure. We are now entering a new chapter, an exciting one, 40 days of a new life – lots & lots of new people in my world, a new routine for both Bobby and I, as we find our place in the racing community that is now our home.
Off to the backstretch!