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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weathering the (opening day) storm

Marylou Whitney was the gracious hostess of her traditional opening day luncheon in the far end of the Carousel Restaurant at Saratoga Race Course. You can bet the rain didn't keep away those invited to the buffet -- horse owners and trainers, politicians past and present and friends of Whitney. Jeannette Jordan will undoubtedly fill you in on the details in her column in Tuesday's Saratogian.

My betting strategy this season is to follow the Pink Sheet's Bill Taylor. I was only there for two races, so I'm 1-2 with his wins -- although it's not fair to hold the handicappers to their picks when the rain messes up the races.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Off to the races

Sunday, July 20, Saratoga Race Course will be packed with people checking out the place for the annual open house prior to the start of the racing season, which is Wednesday. At the open house, you get to see horses up close, eat food at stands set up by local nonprofit groups, check out what's new on the grounds and basically soak up the ambiance.
The only thing missing will be the real races and the opportunity to bet on them.
I'm interested in seeing the pavilion tents that will now be closed and air-conditioned, as well as the air-conditioned suite set up near the breakfast area close to the winners circle and the finish line.
Last summer I overheard a tourist say he was surprised the track wasn't air-conditioned. It really was hot. But, hello, Saratoga Race Course isn't an OTB parlor or a sports bar. It's a racetrack. Outdoors.
But if air-conditioning brings people to the track, what's wrong with that? There are still plenty of places in the stands, along the apron and in the picnic areas to sweat like crazy and pray for a breeze.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A walk in the park, new weather map, and the ballet

Mostly sunny and pleasant weather is predicted for today, which may be the nicest of the week. So it says on The Saratogian's new weather page on the back of the main news section. We kept what we think were the most useful and interesting features and added a few new elements, including the pollen readings and today's and tomorrow's forecasts for "recreation cities" where you might be headed for vacation (or wishing you were heading for). If you have comments or suggestions, let me know.
To be honest, I didn't check the newspaper before deciding today would be a great day to walk to work. I looked out the window. And I took a route through Congress Park, a lovely, calming, friendly place. The mama ducks were leading their babies through the water, the flowers are in bloom, Spit and Spat are spitting, and the Shakespeare stage was awaiting tonight's free performance. How lucky to have a respite like Congress Park right in the heart of town.
Hoping to get to the ballet sometime in the next week. Despite being ballet-challenged, I rarely miss the opportunity to bring a lawn chair to SPAC and soak up the dance and music under the stars. It's an experience that makes for a perfect night, especially a night like tonight -- the weather page forecast is clear and cool.