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Andrea Fischman

Love, Sweat and Beers

A day at the races as seen from two different perspectives

By Bev and Alison

A day at the races can be many things. It can be a moneymaking venture. It can be a social event. It can be a chance to get a free bobble-head doll. But where you spend your time at the racetrack can definitely affect your day.

Bev and I are best friends (depending on whom you ask), and we both ended up at the Saratoga Racetrack on the same day last week—but we weren’t together. Unbeknownst to us, we had each separately decided to play hooky from our jobs and head to the track. Bev has friends in high places and was able to nab a box-seat ticket. I, on the other hand, have high friends—and they don’t even know what a box-seat at the track is, much less stand a chance of being allowed to sit in one (or being able to sit still in one).

That night, after we each had exhausted ourselves with the horsey set (of varying sorts), while chatting on the phone, we discovered that though we watched the same horses dash toward the same finish line, just about everything else we encountered that day was dissimilar.

Bev: When I first got to the track that day I was so excited. I just love watching everything about it, and the view from the box is killer. You can watch the grounds being groomed, the ducks splashing around in the water, the horses getting cooled down after the race with a hose. I especially love it when the hoser is in a suit and tie, and getting his expensive shoes all wet from the spray. That’s love—whether it’s for the horse or money, I don’t care.

Alison: I didn’t see any of that from my dirt-level view. While you were watching the love between man and horse, I was watching the love between man and hops. I actually had to relocate from my blanket seat after golden showers of the beer kind got me all wet and pissy. Gee, you can’t swing a dead cat near me without hitting a bad pun. Many apologies. Anyhoo, I abandoned my blanket to the beer wars and reestablished a spot for myself among the teeming masses in the grandstand. I don’t know what it was about being in there, but people were more able to keep beer in their glasses and away from me. And I met up with a ton of people I know.

Bev: What I would have given to have some friendly jostling while stuffed away in the rafters of the track. I’d try to talk to somebody, and they’d look at me like I was some crazy peddler.

Alison: What were you wearing? I’ve seen some of those quote-unquote outfits you wear. I swear, you forget you’re in public sometimes. And you’d talk to the ceiling fan if you thought it would talk back to you. And what the hell is a peddler? Are you like channeling someone from the 19th century or something?

Bev: I fit right in, so be quiet. It’s just that people weren’t that chatty.

Alison: Well, conversation wasn’t something I lacked down with the masses. Sunscreen was.

Bev: Well I was perfectly cool. Speaking of fans, rather than speaking to them, a huge flock of them circled over my head all day long. I didn’t even realize how hot it actually was. I was so comfy, in fact, that the notion of betting slipped my mind for a while.

Alison: It was all about the gambling for me and my grandstand cronies. I got a great tip and boxed a trifecta, which won me tons of loot. There were high fives all around.

Bev: I got no high fives, and no boxed trifectas. I don’t even know what a boxed trifecta is. It sounds painful.

Alison: Only as painful as a $400 windfall is painful. The Bud and the hotdogs were on me.

Bev: Buying your friends again, I see. And gloating won’t make this one want to stick around much longer. I admit that I didn’t fit in with my boxey neighbors, and hooting and hollering definitely seemed off limits. But I did enjoy being brought a gorgeous shrimp cocktail by an agreeable young girl who treated me like I was royalty.

Alison: Get over yourself.

Bev (unaffected): And our restrooms were dreamy. There were no lines, they smelled delish, and a kind woman swabbed my wet hands dry.

Alison: I have a hard time believing that your bathrooms smelled like anything other than what they are. But you have me there, my friend. I had to wait in line for what seemed like an eternity until I gained entrance into the stinky, bepuddled stall. And drinking watery beer all day didn’t help matters any.

Bev: I hope you had a designated driver.

Alison: I met one. And he’s got a friend who will loan us his box seats next weekend.

Bev: Well, enjoy the view and behave yourself. And don’t forget to get those boxed trifectas looked at by a professional.


This Week in Saratoga

Thursday, Aug. 22

Catching Babies, Saratoga County Arts Center, 320 Broadway, Saratoga. 8 PM: One-act play based on the life of Saratoga midwife Mariana Ferrara. $12. 583-2158.

Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan, Broadway Joe’s Off-Broadway Theatre and Grille, Congress Street Plaza, Saratoga Springs. 8:30 PM: Cabaret performance with Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs Award-winning singer/comic. $20. 587-3456.

Friday, Aug. 23

Bailey’s Café, Phila and Putnam streets, Saratoga Springs. 7-9 PM: Celebrity bartenders will appear to benefit the Disabled Jockey Fund. All their tips plus a donation from Bailey’s are donated to the charity. 583-6060.

Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan, Broadway Joe’s Off-Broadway Theatre and Grille. 8:30 PM: Cabaret performance with Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs Award-winning singer/comic. $20. 587-3456.

A Nash Rambler, Saratoga County Arts Center. 8 PM: A one-act staged reading of the works of Odgen Nash, one of America’s greatest wits. $8. 583-2158.

Yallah Shekhina Shakti Dancers. Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs. 8 PM: A six-woman dance troupe will perform in folkloric costumes to celebrate life, abundance, prosperity and healing with original choreography based on ancient and contemporary belly dance traditions. $15, $12 Caffe members. 370-1564.

Saturday, Aug. 24

Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan, Broadway Joe’s Off-Broadway Theatre and Grille. 8:30 PM: Cabaret performance with Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs Award-winning singer/comic. $20. 587-3456.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs. 7:30 PM. Concert with Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. 476-1000.

Saratoga Shorts, Saratoga County Arts Center. 8 PM: An eclectic one-act program of contemporary short fiction read by some of the area’s finest actors. $8. 583-2158.

Sunday, Aug. 25

Saratoga Performing Arts Center. 7:30 PM: Concert with the Irish Tenors. 476-1000.

Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta. 11 AM: Gates open for Rockfest 2002 with Dokken, L.A. Guns, Warrant, Ratt and Firehouse. 371-0012

Tuesday, Aug. 27

Congress Park, Saratoga Springs. 7 PM: Concert with the McKrells (rain date: Wed, Aug. 28). 587-3241.

Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan, Broadway Joe’s Off-Broadway Theatre and Grille. 8:30 PM: Cabaret performance with Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs Award-winning singer/comic. $20. 587-3456.

Wednesday, Aug. 28

The “Insert Something Funny” Players, Saratoga Arts Council. 8:30 PM: Short form improvisational comedy. $9.95, $7.95 seniors and students. www.insertsomethingfunny.com.

Nancy Timpanaro-Hogan, Broadway Joe’s Off-Broadway Theatre and Grille. 8:30 PM: Cabaret performance with Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs Award-winning singer/comic. $20. 587-3456.

Saratoga Music Hall, City Hall, Broadway and Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs. 8 PM: Concert featuring Rick Dellaratta Quartet, more. 384-6493.

Saratoga Race Course
134th Season

Open daily through Sept. 3, except Tuesdays.

Location Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, 584-6200

Admission $5 grandstand, $8 clubhouse, children under 12 free.

Parking $7 per car at the main gate and across Union Avenue at the Oklahoma Training Track.

Racing At least nine races a day; pari-mutuel wagering on every race.

First Race Post Time 1 PM (except Travers Day, Aug. 24, when it’s 12:30 PM)

Major Stakes Races Travers Stakes (Aug. 24); Spinaway Stakes (Aug. 30); Hopeful Stakes (Sept. 1).

Promotional Item Giveaways T-shirt (Sept. 1).



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