And We’re Off!

Well, sort of,  in a limited sort of pre-meet way.  On Sunday, Saratoga Race Course opened to the public for its annual open house; geared towards families, the day featured face painting, pony rides, and inflatables for the kids, while adults could partake of a variety of local food products.  Musicians performed throughout the day,…

Black Tie Affair, 1986 – 2010

Old Friends is a regular stop on my trips to Kentucky; each time I visit the Bluegrass, I try to say hello to my favorites (Williamstown, Will’s Way, Ogygian, Commentator) and  to meet some of the new residents.  Michael Blowen and the Old Friends volunteers are incredibly generous with their time, and it’s easy to…

Next steps

Here at the Backstretch household, we’re trying to get used to life without Madison. Several friends have recently lost close family members, and the tragedy of the world beyond our borders is horrifying beyond contemplation, so the loss of a cat does require some perspective: still, in our little world it’s been a rough couple…

A Season of (Charitable) Giving

So it’s official: It’s holiday shopping season. Black Friday has come and gone; today is Cyber Monday, when, according to people who pay attention to such things, many, many work hours are lost by those taking advantage of their office computers to do a little online shopping. You likely have plenty of gift options for…

A new Old Friend

Back in August, when Commentator’s retirement was announced, I wrote a column for the Saratogian expressing my wish for an upstate New York home for retired Thoroughbreds. Through various channels I hear that perhaps such a home is in the works, but for now, the two biggest retirement farms are located in the Bluegrass: the…

Back to Old Friends

I’m glad that even the folks who work at Old Friends admit that they’ve got favorites among their dozens of retirees; in a recent message announcing the death of Ruhlmann, Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen wrote: I really like all of our retirees but each one of us at Old Friends develop special…

Saturday morning quick picks, on charities and horses

It’s not surprising that as the holidays and end of year get closer, various charities are reminding us about donations. So if you’re looking for a way to help this holiday season, and get that 2008 tax deduction, I offer the following for your consideration: As I wrote recently, the Belmont Child Care Association is…

Ogygian: 1986 Dwyer winner

It’s tempting this morning, the day of the Dwyer Stakes for three-year-olds at Belmont, to hearken back to the epic 1920 running of the race, in which John P. Grier challenged Man O’ War for the lead, headed him at the eighth pole, and eventually gave way in what the New York Times then called…