Took a two-day drive through my past this weekend.
Went up to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where I lived for three years from 2002-05. It was where I had some of the greatest times of my life, which now have led to some painful memories.
It was where I met my wife. It was where I proposed. And now that I’m divorced, well, it was a little tough, emotionally glimpsing the memories for the first time since the breakup.
After feeling pretty blue for most of Saturday, I needed a pick-me-up on Sunday. Then I remembered: I was going to Saratoga Race Course Sunday.
And it is impossible not to have a smile on your face inside those hallowed grounds.
If you’ve never been, Saratoga Race Course is one of the most wonderful places on Earth. Even if you don’t like horse racing, it’s a good time at the track. The strange and enormous hats worn by ladies there, the aroma of wonderful food (the Carolina Barbecue pulled pork was as good as I remembered it), the excitement as post time nears, and the beautiful spectacle of the thoroughbreds racing toward the finish line make for a truly wonderful day.
I was there with my friend Matt, whom I met as part of the Big Brother/Big Sister program eight years ago, and who now (egads) is almost 19 years old. He used to love the track when he was younger, so I hoped he’d enjoy it as much now.
He did. We dodged raindrops and sloshed our way through the gates, and through the first five races, we weren’t doing so well at the ticket window. Four picks, all losers, as our money washed away.
Finally, we decided the 7th would be our last betting race of the day. He pointed to horse No. 2, Motion Lounge. “That’s the one we should pick,” he said. The odds were 13-1. I was kinda hoping he’d pick a favorite. But nope, he thought No. 2 was our choice.
We walked to the window, placed our bet, and walked back outside with my friends Sally and Trevor, also visiting from out of town. Just about 3 minutes before the race started, the skies emptied and rain drenched us.
We ran back inside into the hallway and watched the race on the TV monitors. But it was raining so hard we couldn’t tell who won.
Finally, the results popped up on the screen. Motion Lounge had won.
“Whoo-hoo!” we screamed, and high-fived. Turns out the odds had ballooned to 19-1 by post time, so we were 38 bucks richer.
What had already been a great day at Saratoga got just a little bit better.
If you’re ever in the Adirondacks in August, I highly recommend a day at Saratoga. For the $3 admission price, there’s no better value in all of sports.
**The following ad was placed on Craigslist last week. I pray that it’s real, and quite frankly, who would make up something this bizarre? It read:
“A guy broke into my house last week. He didn’t take my TV, he took my remote. Now he drives by and changes the channels.
I need someone to sit at the end of my street and get his license number. I will pay $10 an hour till he is caught.”
**Hallelujah. Just when I thought every GOP presidential candidate had gone completely over the sanity bar and veered into looney-ville, Jon Huntsman stood up Sunday morning on ABC’S “This Week” and called out Michele Bachman and Rick Perry for being out of touch with reality. I don’t know where “this” version of Huntsman has been the last two months, but this interview was fantastic. It gets really good at the 3:30 mark, when he calls out Perry.