Not an actual day at the track, but a reasonable—and affordable—facsimile
is the August place to be, they used to say—back before some
genius noticed that gambling addiction works in July, too.
But even without the compulsive drive to burn through your
discretionary income or your kids’ college funds, whiling
away a hot August day at the track can be a hoot. Thing is,
even if you’re a cowardly gambler, as I am, you’ve got to
scrounge up some change for a worthwhile day in the Spa City.
Change I don’t really have.
But I wasn’t going to let that stop me, not this year. I was
going to have a day at the track. After all, I deserve it.
And I’m a resourceful guy, there had to be some way to make
Ah, nothing says summer like beer with the word “summer” written
Provisions secured, I loaded up the car and hit the Northway.
Traffic was a bitch.
I was so happy to be underway, that it didn’t faze me in the
I parked on some guy’s lawn, which I’m told is the thing to
do—though, honestly, it took forever to slalom around the
lawn jockey, those wooden cut-outs of bent-over gardening
ladies, the lawn mower, and the wading pool of kids (I mean,
that’s not safe). It was like they didn’t even want
me to park there.
was a short walk to the table, er, the track, and I was feeling
lucky. I picked up a tip sheet and waited for inspiration.
In the first few races, I bet cautiously: It’s the way I roll,
first of all, plus nothing really struck me. I was up a little,
down a little. I was having a good time, but still waiting
for the electric moment when I felt I’d really picked a winner.
Still, though, a couple of hot dogs, a few more bottles of
summer—things were going fine. Then, in the final race, the
line-up stopped me cold: On the field would be Expecting Brainchild,
Jar of Cardinals (the favorite), Gleemer, Cool Off Kid Kilowatt
and Sot. I felt, I felt . . . something. What was it? A hunch,
a flash of intuition. I’m putting it all on Gleemer—the 20-1
longshot. I just felt it.
Jar of Cardinals came out of the gate like a rocket, maintaining
a strong lead over Expecting Brainchild and Sot. It was a
three-horse race, with Jar of Cardinals looking to fulfill
It looked bad for Gleemer. Really bad. I had to double check
to see if he had actually left the gate at all. Meanwhile,
Jar of Cardinals extended his lead. Crap.
Just when I had given up hope, though, there was a sudden
darkness and rumbling in the sky. A ferocious downpour came
out of nowhere, leaving the track a rutted mucky mess.
It was a long shot’s dream come true. Now, it was anybody’s
race. And, look, there’s Gleemer taking the lead! C’mon, Gleemer!
Run, run, Gleemer, you magnificent bastard!
crowd went wild.
I was thrilled, elated, out of my head with anticipation,
and track-induced glee. So much so, I didn’t even care, much,
when I noticed that this guy was swiping beer out of my box.
You know, you can dress some folks up . . .
sure enough, it was Gleemer at the wire—and at 20-1. Boy,
there’s nothing like that feeling. I just felt a current going
right through me. I was so jazzed I knew there was no going
home. With my winnings, I was going to treat myself to a night
out on the town, and I was going to pull out all the stops.
This was free money, after all. I wanted something classy,
something Saratoga, preferably something al fresco.
I may have overdone it a bit, truth be told. But it was all
in good fun and even after the fine-dining splurge, I somehow
managed to break even. Saratoga really is the naptime—uh,
the summer place to be.
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (Saratoga State Park, Saratoga
Springs, tickets: 476-1000). Sun: Brian Wilson.
(Phila and Putnam streets, Saratoga Springs, 583-6060).
Thu: Juan + Corbin. Fri: Acoustic Circus. Sat:
Pangaea. Sun: Chuck Kelsey.
THAN TOAST (454 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, www.thefarmtomarket.com).
Sun: Diane Cluck.
RESTAURANT (390 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 587-6262).
Sat: the Heaters.
LENA (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022). Thu:
open mic . Fri: Racquette River Rounders. Sun:
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. Sun: Sonny and
CAFÉ (392 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 583-1106). Sat:
karaoke with A-Man Productions.
CLUB HOUSE (30 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 580-0686).
Fri-Sat: DJ Daniel Van D, hiphop, club mixes.
O’DWYER’S (15 Spring St., Saratoga Springs, 583-6476).
Fri: Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.
(16 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 587-7359). Thu: Garland
Nelson and Soul Session. Fri: Tim Wechgelaer
and Sherri Nolan. Sat: Acoustic Circus. Sun: Erin
INN (1 Gridley St., Saratoga Springs, 587-4909). Thu:
Jill Hughes Band. Fri: Burners UK. Sat: Big
Smoothies. Sun: Tom Healey Band. Mon: Jeff Walton.
Wed: Soul Provider.
INN AT SARATOGA (231 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 583-1890).
Sat: Ria Curley Jazz Quartet.
TAVERN (241 Union St., Saratoga Springs, 584-9643). Fri:
the Vicaros, the Wasted, Mike Hotter.
Sat: North Allen. Wed: New Thrill Parade.
MAPLE AVENUE (9 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-CLUB).
Fri: Jazz Works. Sat: Sensemaya.
(14 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-3209). Sat: Mudfunk.
CAROLINE STREET (1 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 587-2026).
Thu: Mike Dimin; Saratoga High School Jazz
Ensemble. Fri: Joe Finn; Brian Patnaude Trio
Sat: Joe Gitto; Azzaam Hameed Duo. Sun: Chuck
D’Aloia. Mon: John Nazarenko. Tue: Masters of
Nostalgia. Wed: Peg Delaney.
PARTING GLASS (40-42 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-1916).
Thu: Goin’ Nowhere, Vesper. Fri: Good for
the Soul. Sat: Allan Payette Band.
HOTEL (534 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 584-4000). Fri:
MEALS CABARET (86 Congress St., Saratoga Springs, 583-8833).
Fri: the Decadent Royals, Erin Harkes.
CITY TAVERN (Caroline Street and Maple Avenue, Saratoga
Springs, 581-3230). Thu: Rick Bolton. Fri-Sat:
DJ Chris. Tue: Dark Day Blues, George Fletcher’s
Bourbon Renewal. Wed: happy hour with Jeff Halstead.
(168 Lincoln Ave., Saratoga Springs, 584-4030). All shows
at 5:30 PM. Thu, Sat: Barrence Whitfield and
the Savages. Fri: New York Players. Sun: Johnny
Rabb and the Jailhouse Rockers. Mon: the Heaters.
Wed: Good For the Soul.
is a Musical, Arts Center Theatre, 320 Broadway,
Saratoga Springs. Semi-autobiographical one-man production
about “the life and mind of a musical playwright.” Through
8/31. $15, $12. 584-4132.
York City Ballet Workout, Total Body Trifecta Studio,
61 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs. Mon, 6:15-7:15 PM; Wed,
5:15-6:15 PM. With Mary Ann Fantauzzi. 581-8025.
Swing, Maui Wowi Surf Shack, 441 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.
Wed, 9 PM. 580-1433.
Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga
Springs. 8/11, 8:15 PM: Philadelphia Orchestra will present
their Tchaikovsky Spectacular, with pianist Alexander Melnikov
and cellist Daniel Müller-Schott. 8/12, 8:15 PM: Philadelphia
Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, and, with
pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Grieg’s Piano Concerto. 8/13,
8:15 PM: Pianist André Watts will join the Philadelphia Orchestra
for Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Also, Ravel’s Bolero and
works by Strauss and Franck. 8/17, 8:15 PM: Philadelphia Orchestra
will present Van Cliburn, An American Legend. Works by Sibelius,
Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. $60-$15. 587-3330.
Little Theater, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga
Springs. 8/14, 2:15 PM: Saratoga Chamber Music Festival presents
the premiere of Ranjbaran’s Piano Quintet, and works by Mozart,
Poulenc and Brahms. 8/16, 8:15 PM: Martha Argerich Presents,
an program featuring the legendary pianist and guests performing
works by Bartók, Shostakovich, Franck and Kreisler. $34.50-$29.50.
Clement’s Church, 231 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs. 8/14,
7 PM: Saratoga Choral Festival annual concert. $15, $10 students.
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Center Gallery, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 584-4132.
Saratoga Inside Out.
Café, 392 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 583-1106. Works
by Pierre Bellocq.
Congress Park, Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 584-4132. Also,
Public Art Works, featuring works by Lee Nicholls,
Bill McTygue, and Michael L. Noonan.
Books, 441 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 583-0025. Horses
on Broadway, paintings by Sharon Crute.
Gallery 100, 445 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 580-0818.
Photographs by Phillip V. Caruso.
Trading Co., 68 Beekman St., Saratoga Springs. 584-5772.
Truth Be Told, paintings by Chris Murray.
Museum of Dance, 99 S. Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 584-2225.
Dancing Rebels, an exhibit highlighting the work of
the New Dance Group.
Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, 191 Union Ave., Saratoga
Springs. 584-0400. Peb: The Art of Humor, featuring
cartoons and caricatures by Pierre Bellocq, celebrating horses
and racing personalities. Also, 11th Annual Horsing Around
with the Arts student art show. Also, Golden Memories:
Fifty Years of the Racing Hall of Fame; also, paintings
from the Charles H. Thierot Collection.
New York State Military Museum, 61 Lake Ave., Saratoga
Springs. 581-5100. New York’s Fighting Zouaves. Also,
Battleground for Freedom: New York during the Revolutionary
War. Also, To the Standard: Civil War Cavalry Flags
from the NYS Battle Flag Collection.
Saratoga Automobile Museum, 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga
Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs. 587-1935 ext. 20. East
of Detroit, and New York Racing exhibit.
County Arts Council, Member Exhibition Hall, 320 Broadway,
Saratoga Springs. 584-4132. Works by Paul Arnold.
Springs Public Library, 49 Henry St., Saratoga Springs.
584-7860. Works by Monique Lemaire.
Visitors Center, 297 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 587-3241.
Works by Robert Ewell.
Skidmore College, Schick Art Gallery, 815 N. Broadway,
Saratoga Springs. 580-5049. Anything But Realism, group
Street Gallery, 110 Spring St., Saratoga Springs. 587-6433.
Pathways, paintings by Joanne K. Murphy.
Teaching Museum and Gallery, Skidmore College, 815 N.
Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 580-8080. Weapons of Mass Dissemination:
The Propaganda of War. Also, Opener 9: Michael Oatman.
Farmers Market, Dave Meager Community Center, Route 9,
Malta. Tuesdays, 11 AM-2 PM.
Saratoga Farmers Market, High Rock Park, High Rock Avenue,
Saratoga Springs. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM; Wednesdays, 3-6 PM.
Mountain Bike Association. Informal rides Tuesdays 6 PM,
Sundays 10 AM. 788-0847, www.saratogamtb.org.
Polo Association, Bloomfield and Denton roads, Saratoga
Springs. Matches every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday through
9/4, weather permitting. Gates open 4 PM, start time 5:30
PM. Post-game dinners 7:10 PM. $8 per person or $20 per carload.
Under 16 free. Season passes available. 584-8108, www.saratogapolo.com.
the paddock area before the Whitney Handicap.