To get to Saratoga, Red Smith famously said, “From New York City you drive north for about 175 miles, turn left on Union Avenue and go back 100 years.”
So I did.
And here’s what was going on in the run-up to the 1910 Saratoga meeting. The more things change…
July 24, 1910: “Hotels and Cottages Filling Up In Anticipation of the Races.”
“With the racing season only ten days away, the cottages and hotels are filling up rapidly for next month. Indicators points to one of the busiest four weeks in recent years. Richard T. Wilson, Jr., of New York, the President of the Saratoga Racing Association, who was one of the arrivals of the week, expressed the belief that the Summer race meeting would be thronged.”
July 25, 1910: “Saratoga Racing Purses Increased.”
“Books are out for the twenty-one days of racing to be conducted by the Saratoga Racing Association, at Saratoga Springs, Aug. 4 to 27. The programme is the most pretentious of any associations this season, and while some of the others have been cutting down and re-trenching on account of the adverse legislation to the sport, the Saratoga association has increased several of its stakes, and, not satisfied with renewing the old ones, has added some new ones.
“Secretary Earlocker has already assigned more than 1,000 stalls to applicants, and several have secured accommodation outside both the track and Horse Haven, the adjoining training ground.”
August 2, 1910: “Racing at Saratoga.”
“Saratoga County has a new Sheriff this year, but his orders are not different from those of other years since the anti-betting law was enacted. Verbal betting, according to court decisions, will be permitted, Sheriff Washburn stated to-day.”
August 3, 1910: “Strong Indications That Racing in New York State Will End on Sept. 1.”
“With only one more day of racing at Yonkers most of the interest in the sport is now centred in Saratoga, and at the course of the Empire City Racing Association yesterday the well-defined rumor that the Futurity would be run off at Saratoga created almost as much interest as the races themselves. The Futurity is the richest of the two-year-old fixtures and has been the best offering for the young horses of the Coney Island Jockey Club. With the passage of the laws that fix responsibility for betting on the directors and managers of race courses it was rumored that the Coney Island Jockey Club would not conduct its Fall meeting.
August 6, 1910: “New York Racing Ends August 31.”
“Letters were received from the Brooklyn Jockey Club, the Coney Island Jockey Club, the Empire City Racing Association, the Metropolitan Jockey Club, and the Queens County Jockey Club announcing that they would not make use of the dates that had been allotted.
“Permission was asked and granted for the transfer of three days—Aug. 29, 30, and 31—from the Coney Island Jockey Club to the Saratoga Racing Association for the purpose of running off the Futurity over the latter track. In granting the request the stewards did so with the proviso that it would not establish a precedent.”
Back tomorrow with a look at Opening Day, 1910…