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Wrapping up The Spa

Saratoga Race Course has been described as “The Summer Place to Be.” After some major upsets took place in the past, it was referred to as “The Graveyard of Champions.” Announcer Tom Durkin likes to welcome the daily patrons to the “Spaaaaaaaa.”

Call it anything you want, but if you attend the races you cannot help but notice that there are a lot of people that could be considered wealthy in attendance. These folks are given first-class treatment for parking and clubhouse or private boxes for one reason: they are paying for it, and, they can afford it.

Over the years Saratoga has kept its traditions while also making major upgrades to accommodate the people who enjoy being accommodated.

I guess the press does not fall into that category.

I would guess the only modifications made to the rooftop press box over the last 50 years would be the addition of electrical outlets to benefit the laptop media and putting up a few “No Smoking” signs.

After taking the clubhouse elevator to the top floor and having the operator say “he was having an up and down day,” I did not know what to expect as I was granted access to the rooftop catwalk by a security guard.

At the end of the catwalk, I found an ashtray that must only get emptied when the wind blows and a sign on the door that read “No Shorts Allowed in Press Box.” I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but short has never been one of them, so me and my naked knees entered.

I could not help but notice the worn and plain carpeting. It reminded me of the flooring of many construction trailers that I have been in over the years that we had to bring back to life before we took them off rental.

Glancing around the room I spotted many upholstered folding chairs (the kind with the upholstered area being the size of a baseball card), formica-top counters which serve as work stations, a few wastebaskets, a two-slice toaster and an electric toaster oven. I got the impression the reporters that brought those items to the press box haven’t been back for a while and probably have their names on granite slabs with numbers below them.

Your humble Beacon scribe surely wouldn’t rate a prime space in the box filled with Daily Racing Form veterans and national beat writers, so I tried to be inconspicuous.

After not finding Mike Welsch of the DRF, whom I’ve known since our Green Mountain days, I decided to interview Pedro of Center Plate Food Services. Pedro provides the refreshments for the media and has done a great job at Saratoga for more than seven years.

There were beverages and snacks and it appeared that on Friday, Pedro was featuring beans and franks as his catch of the day. Nobody was complaining, because it beat option two, which was either going downstairs and paying for lunch or trying your luck with the toaster oven.

The fact that Saratoga doesn’t feature an ultra-modern press facility is not an issue at all with the many writers that will call it home for 40 days this summer.

When they glance out those windows over the magnificent view of the race course and infield, nothing else matters; they are in heaven. If you don’t believe me, try taking one of their seats.

The tolerance of the press was certainly rewarded on Friday evening when NYRA put on a first-class “Press Party” at the Fasig-Tipton facility across the street.

Attention county senior golfers

The 10th annual Berkshire County Senior Golf Series commences on Sept. 5 at Worthington Golf Club.

There will be seven weekly events in all and six of them will take place on Wednesdays. The Sept. 25 event at Skyline will fall on Tuesday.

Series guru Dick Rivers runs the events and does a great job. Entry fee is $40; you must be 50 years old to be eligible with a valid handicap card.

If you need more information you may call Mr. Rivers at (413) 441-7985.

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Posted by on August 30, 2012. Filed under Berkshire Sports Guy,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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