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Opening Day at Saratoga

Posted by on July 23, 2012

My 35th consecutive opening day brings back lots of memories for me. It is a time for me to reflect and to represent the memory of my parents who loved this place so very much. This is a life lesson essay, not legal but personal.

When in Saratoga, I follow certain rituals that they both instilled in me.

In the morning, I have undertaken the ritual that my father undertook for 30 years. Start as the sun rises and go to the Oklahoma training track. Kibitz with owners, trainers, grooms and hot walkers. Treat everyone with good humor and kindness because everyone is deserving of respect. Go to the morning line and have some coffee. If it’s s not that good, the conversation will be and who knows – you may even pick up a tip or two on a horse for that afternoon.

Come home, return some phone calls, and take care of the office because first and foremost, the law practice is what allows you to enjoy the races. Take care of what needs to be taken of, make sure your clients don’t feel that you aren’t in Syracuse, but know that if they come to Saratoga you will entertain them as well.

Go to the races, be a consummate host. Do the things that are gentlemanly – do not drink too much; do not become too raucous. The box seats are treated as dignified places still; after all there are not many places that require a dress code, honor it and be proud to be a part of it.  Visit with friends; be thoughtful but not overbearing. Don’t gamble more than you can afford and know that it is all for fun.

Remember the racing community and give back. Work on projects and and for charities you believe in. Entertain with zeal. Handicap the races with an eye to the winner; exotics are for suckers (I guess I’m more of a sucker because the Exacta box is still my favorite bet!)

But most importantly, my Dad always said “ A bad day at Saratoga is better than your best day anywhere else…. and there are no bad days at Saratoga!”

I lifted a glass to his memory and knew he dialed up the perfect forecast.

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