Taking Stock of a Spectacular Summer – our 19th & our 1st

Labor Day AM – butterfly!

“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” – Hemingway

Hello Friends!

Never have the Maven and I woken up so happy on the day after Labor Day.

Frankly, as anyone who had to suffer through us – especially me, the Magpie, in the days following our return to reality from Saratoga after the past many years… it was, in a word, ugly.  In more words, it was unattractive, whiny, sulky, and generally obnoxious just how much we moaned & groaned about our forced exile from the place we believed we were meant to be.  First world problems for sure. And now, the summer is over – and we woke up  here! Yippee!!

While many are suffering the end of the season blues, I have to say that we are absolutely at peace with the finish.  I believe that I couldn’t have  squeezed more juice out of the summer than I did, and I’m admittedly a bit weary from the effort of being on and on the go in a non-stop hustle for 40 days.  Now, we get to truly settle in, establish our patterns of “normal life” – without the countdown til the track  season opens in 2019 (319 days by my calculations). Plus, we get to start exploring the “beyond Saratoga” of Upstate New York, New England and all the cute towns and beautiful scenery that await us – along with all the cute cows, sheep, goats, apples and pumpkins along the way.  We have a huge list (see the Faves page, where I’ve started the list, collected along our journey so far – all sight unseen) and we’re working on our strategy for how to choose where to go first.   Stay tuned for a big bowl of ideas!

Tonight, racing the clock as always, as I know that the system starts to shut down at 10pm (9:30pm now), I wanted to at least start to capture some reflections on this amazing whirlwind summer… a project I plan to spend more time on over the days ahead.

For today, let’s start with some stats and a list of names –

  • 50 personal notes of congratulations from the TRF Herd written and delivered to trainers (with Stakes winners) on the Saratoga backstretch;
  • 40 days  of racing (47 days of summer schedule), starting on July 20th;
  • 39 nights with guests here with us at Casa Weir, starting July 1st;
  • 32 individual guests (plus one special pup) spent time in our happy home, starting July 1;
  • 10 max peeps squeezed in on our front porch for one semi-rained out cookout;
  • 531,407 steps counted by my fitbit;
  • number of Hattie’s fried chicken pieces consumed (at home and at Hatties)… classified!

As I’ve shared with so many visitors to Saratoga this summer, I believe the true magic of the racetrack is that while the horses are the heart of the whole complicated network that makes racing possible, it is the extraordinary complexity of humans on the racetrack that I find so incredibly compelling.  In fact, my friend Teresa just published an article with a focus on the community of the backstretch, take a look. With that in mind, I wanted to try to list the names of the many, many folks on around and affiliated with the Saratoga Race Track who made my summer so much better, for making me feel welcome.  I’m grateful beyond words for every smile and greeting.

I am so thankful for this opportunity – to start again, to be wholly and completely me, to not hold back and to throw myself into this  new world with unabashed glee.  To purposefully, intentionally and thoughtfully endeavor to make a first impression on so many people in one nonstop, action-packed 7 week stretch.  I have always cherished those rare, weird moment in life when one is new – and this was all that on steroids for 40+ days staight. To the best of my ability, I spent a summer being the most enthusiastic, energetic “new girl” one could imagine.  My mantra was to simply become a Positive, Pleasant  Presence – and, as always, to “be me – but not too much me”.   All I can say is that I did my best, I tried to trust my gut, read the tea  leaves, back off when in doubt and as-much-as-possible leave them wanting more (instead of looking for the door).

So much to reflect on, and I’d like to try to share a few specific, granular stories as I get some distance on the whole adventure.  For now, I’ll sign off with the happy footnote that my first day after Labor Day here in Saratoga included my first “all me” check arriving as a result of my Chenery Champion Brunch in August. My first official, and significant, points on the board.  Yay!  And now, much more to do – the horses are counting on me!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful September. Remember, Labor Day is the New Year’s Day of the Fall!


See photos below – my heartfelt thanks to each of them for making this first summer so special and so very spectacular.  Meet a few of my Saratoga Summer Peeps!

Frank DeGregorio – met him on our shared first day, bday 8/2
Seth Merrow – a friend for many years, and host of Capital OTB (my first live TV appearance!)
Mike MacAdam, Daily Gazette, a friend for many years – kindly put my picture in the paper to welcome me to town.
Richie Migliore and Jennifer Stevens – TRF superstar Board Member and fantabulous Teammate
Tony “Ski” Podlaski – on the roof, such a warm welcome to the press room!
Backstretch walkabout with Kylie the Magnificent – glad she’s on my team!
Rick and Dorothy, the most welcoming NYRA security team in the clubhouse box seats – looking forward to introducing them to our horses!
Tom, Fran and Bill – dynamic trio, great volunteers and staff members, all with their heart in the right place!
The one and only – Mr. Durkin!
Mary Keiser – my first friend on the backstretch, thanks to Fran, and her 3 fabulous retired thoroughbreds who now work as ponies in the AM
Superstar – Cheryl on the TRF team, on the backstretch on a sunny AM
WooWooo! Ernie Munick, NYRA cameraman, Quick Call’s biggest fan.
Pancake lunch with the TRF team: Chelsea, Cheryl, Kylie, Bill, (me) and Jenn in front.
Cindy, Steve and Pat (my neighbor) – they can’t escape me! (But really, who can?)
Bobby and Andy – thank you Andy for making us feel so welcome!
TAG – OS reunion and keystone to so many of our Saratoga friendships!
The magnificent (and very patient with me!) Morleys!! XXOO
Superstar TRF Teammates – Cheryl and Carolyn.
#1 Awesome teammate – Jenn!
Super adorable Kariann and Sophia (my partner in crime at the Washington County Fair)
Matt (aka Smiley) Hegarty – he really does love the fair!
Adam, Bobby and Matt – fun with tractors at the Fair
Awesome Alyssa and her super sweet goat-raising friend, Dave.
Berenice, from Puebla, with one of her retired racehorse ponies!
Rudy Rodriguez – the busiest and friendliest trainer on the Oklahoma!
Rudy Jr, good morning!

And so many more!

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