Seasons at the Spa

It’s hard to believe that it was just three weeks ago this past Monday that we were still racing at the Spa. The opening of school is as absorbing and all-consuming as racing at Saratoga, and it’s easy for memories of summer to dissipate as quickly as the fog over the Oklahoma on a warm August morning.

But the first trip north of the school year always brings with it the reminder, and at this time of year, it’s jarring. The Oklahoma is still abuzz with activity; horses are still stabled on the main track. Much of Saratoga Race Course looks ready for business…while parts of it look ready to be tucked away for its winter rest.

The off-season walk-around is a bit of an elegy, a farewell when it’s quiet, a chance to feel the silence and hear the echoes, and to anticipate, already, the return to activity, in 10 months’ time.

As always, click to enlarge.

A mild autumn has left the horticulture just inside the Wright St. gate and in the paddock as fresh and lively as it was this summer…

Flowers still rim the Turf Terrace, evoking summer…

…while fall, and happy squirrels who have the place to themselves, have firmly taken hold in the backyard.

Some spots look tantalizingly close to being open for business…

…while others say firmly, “See you next year…”

The still-verdant backstretch can tease us into thinking that it’s still summer…

…and on the roof, I found this, exactly like this, I swear.

Thank you, whoever you are, who left it right there, just like that.

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