Saratoga Memories 2012

The following are images from the 2012 Saratoga meeting.
All photos by Steve Haskin

Saratoga begins at Todd Pletcher's barn and his 2-year-old assault force, which sent out an amazing 23 individual winners.

As you can see, there is no more aesthetic environment at the Spa than Pletcher Paradise.

This hole in Archwarrior's stall is no accident (See next photo)

Archwarrior and his neighbor and buddy Welterweight have gnawed away at the wall so they can "visit" each other (See next photo)

Who knows what is discussed in their many conversations

Oklahoma in the morning, where the light is heavenly

Greentree section, a paradise for horses and horsemen that houses the powerful Godolphin and Darley horses

Horses and riders enjoy their own private training track

Alpha the morning before his dead-heat victory in the Travers

The brilliant Questing captured two grade I stakes at the meet

Another shot of Questing, who had jaws dropping in her spectacular romp in the Alabama Stakes

A typical morning scene at Saratoga

If you're driving on Union Avenue in the morning, expect several stops

The beauty and serenity of Claire Court

Shug McGaughey's dynamic duo of Point of Entry (far left) and Hymn Book (far right) share bathing time

McGaughey came up under Frank Whiteley and that means plenty of leg hosing for Point of Entry

Curlin Stakes winner Street Life will stick out his tongue for anyone. Thankfully, his injury in the Travers was not life-threatening

Oklahoma can be a bevy of activity, but it also provides its quiet moments

Bill Mott and Charlotte Weber embrace following To Honor and Serve's victory in the Woodward Stakes

Fort Larned the morning after winning the Whitney

A rider's view down the backstretch of Oklahoma training track

The Chief, Allen Jerkens, still raking out the sand pen

Poor Jackson Bend had an eventful and emotionally draining Spa meet, but is lucky to be alive as he heads for some well-deserved R&R

Whitney runner-up Ron the Greek never runs a bad race

Stay Thirsty prefers rakes to play toys

Emma's Encore gave Allen Jerkens a special gift -- a grade I victory at the Spa

Nonios schooling at the gate for the Travers

10 minutes from Saratoga you can visit an old friend, Belmont winner Touch Gold, at McMahon Thoroughbreds...

...And Breeders' Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, who just got finished rolling in the dirt.

Lenny Shulman's Labs take a dip in Saratoga Lake.


Please do not take, steal, borrow or use these photos without permission from Steve Haskin.



Leave a Comment:

Karen in Texas

Thanks so much for the beautiful Saratoga photos, Steve! As always, your photography is remarkably excellent! I love the shot of Allen Jerkens with the rake, and you really captured the majesty of Point of Entry as well as the poignancy of poor Jackson Bend. I feel as though I've been given a tour of the track. Again, thanks.

13 Sep 2012 11:58 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Stunning. What a marvelous story. The amazing photos and insightful captions took me through a journey that was better than any film would have been. Thanks Steve, I thoroughly enjoyed walking around Saratoga with my coffee, on a gorgeous morning as I was invited in to see the barns, these magnificent creatures, and the other nuances behind the scenes.

13 Sep 2012 12:01 PM
Abigail Anderson

Steve!!!! These are just wonderful and they work so well as a photo essay that I felt as though I was really there. Loved all your shots, but particularly Archwarrior and Welterweight's "big secret," The Chief and the lovely Alphabet Soup. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

13 Sep 2012 12:50 PM


Thank you!!!

13 Sep 2012 1:27 PM

Thanks so much for wonderful pictures.  Saratoga is now firmly placed on my bucket list.  I watched faithfully on HRTV.  Your pictures captured a charm not seen there.

13 Sep 2012 1:31 PM
lunar spook

GREAT to see alphabet soup , the old gent still looks great !

13 Sep 2012 2:16 PM

Beautiful photos, Steve, just beautiful.

The photo of Archwarrior gnawing at the wood - hilarious! - LOL.  I wish I could understand the conversations those two horses had together.  They must have been really good! - LOL.

Saratoga is very beautiful, an oasis for horses and people alike.

And thank goodness mighty Jackson Bend is still with us.  He had a harrowing time at The Spa this year, and he is literally a walking miracle.  I hope he is a really restful and healing vacation and comes back stronger and mightier as a competitor in 2013.

Thanks again, Steve, for lovely pictoral memories of this year's Spa experience.

13 Sep 2012 2:54 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, I hope everyone can make it to the Spa. It is a trip you'll remember for a long time. It is still magic to me after (gulp!) 44 years. I've been going up there so long I saw Dr. Fager work out on a stormy morning, a week before he broke the world record for the mile. And I proposed to my wife up there in 1979. In 1972, I was having breakfast near the rail and got my first look at a highly touted 2-year-old named Secretariat, as he flew by us in a workout, decked out in his familiar blue and white blinkers. I could go on and on.

13 Sep 2012 3:08 PM

Lovely, lovely pictures.  I must say that if I was forced to go to New York, I would name Saratoga as the only place I would want to see.  

It sort of looks close to heaven.

13 Sep 2012 3:54 PM

oh great, now not only is Steve a fantastic writer, he's a wonderful photographer as well!!!!!!!!!  

(but thanks - the memories live on - it was a wonderful summer)

13 Sep 2012 5:13 PM

These are amazing!! just made my day!

13 Sep 2012 5:35 PM

Oh my goodness!  Steve these are awesome photos of Saratoga.  Thank you a million times!  I was so depressed that I did not make it up there this year, even just 3 hours away, but now I feel like I was really there.  I love Pletcher Paradise and Lenny's labs.

You captured the true essence of Saratoga in all of these photos.

The two talking through the wall of the stall is a scream!  I too feel like we all just went on a special tour of the barns with Steve.  What a treat and comfort Steve's articles and photos have been this year.  I can't thank you enough.

13 Sep 2012 6:09 PM
Linda in Texas

Jackson Bend a very special horse, with a very special trainer, Nick Zito. Thank you for the photo so  close up, you had to be on your knees to take that photo at the level you did. And Emma's Encore with such kind soft eyes.

The flowers ever present in the photos were lovely. Love Point of Entry, Touch of Gold, Fort Larned, Lenny's Labs, (grew up with them).

Your statement said "I could go on and on."  Oh Please Do, tell us and show us more! And Mandy,Joan and Steve did you have someone snap a photo of the three or more of you,i sure hope so.I wanted to see Mandy all dressed up.

And did ya'll go eat fried chicken at Hattie's! It's a 'Southern Thing' question, raised on it.:)

A true walk down the memory lane of a place that is like no other and has forgotten clock's exist except at the track. And that's the truth.

Thank you Steve, Joan and Mandy.

I know there must be more photos to

follow. And more stories. You have a captive audience and we all hope you know that you are simply the best at what you capture in words and in photos.

13 Sep 2012 6:43 PM
an ole railbird

 saratoga is such a beautiful place. and is so perfectly placed, amoungst all of new yorks blunders.

i remain, "an ole railbird"

13 Sep 2012 7:26 PM

Beautiful - thank you!

13 Sep 2012 7:44 PM

Steve - simply spectacular!

13 Sep 2012 8:35 PM

And look at the lovely Questing.  I knew my boy Hard Spun would sire greatness one day!  She is Darley bred and papa is none other than Hard Spun!  

Oooooooh, to walk with morning coffee through Pletcher Paradise!

Hold on to the coffee though, Thirsty looks like he would try to drink it!

I do remember driving out of Saratoga a few years ago at dusk and seeing the silhouettes of their heads in their barns as you drive away, it is so beautiful and so surreal.

13 Sep 2012 8:37 PM
Barbara W

Absolutely gorgeous photos! Love those inquisitive TBs, who could get into so much more mischief if they just had hands.

Thanks for posting these. They are all wonderful.

13 Sep 2012 8:57 PM

rowdee - there is A LOT more of new york that looks like this as opposed to Manhatten or the Bronx or Yonkers.  if you think New York is strictly skyscrapers and concrete you're really missing out.

13 Sep 2012 9:08 PM
Mister Frisky

Great photos,horses and dogs nothing better.

13 Sep 2012 10:07 PM

gorgeous, poignant, humorous, evocative captured and communicated everything about what I imagine to be the real Saratoga and its summer residents -- in just a very few pictures and words.  THANK YOU!  What a treat!

13 Sep 2012 10:18 PM
The Deacon

No one does it betterthen Saratoga and Steve Haskin, and more great news from the Paynter camp. Great day all in all............thanks for sharing Steve.

You are the Kodak Man!!

14 Sep 2012 3:34 AM

Thank you for these wonderful photos!

14 Sep 2012 5:36 AM

Wow, Steve!  Thank you so much for posting these beautiful photos. I missed out on Saratoga this year, but was lucky enough to visit in 2010 and 2011.  The place definitely gets into your soul and always leaves you wanting more.  What magnificent Thoroughbreds--God's finest creation!  Thanks again!

14 Sep 2012 7:38 AM
Jackie WV

Steve, Thank you so much for the gorgeous photos!!  I really felt like I was there.  I'm going to do my best to make it there next year!!  I had no idea that Fort Larned was so stunning!! I've followed Jackson Bend from his beginning and just love him.....loved the shot of him so much and so happy he's ok!! I always look forward to your articles......even your photos can bring a tear to my eyes.  Thanks again!!

14 Sep 2012 9:25 AM
Bill Rinker

Steve, Thanks so much for all the wonderful photos and captions, as always your work is superb. I was especially moved with your Saratoga reminiscences, please go on and on.

14 Sep 2012 9:48 AM

I especially liked seeing Alphabet Soup and Lenny's Labs, but the whole batch of photos was wonderful.  This way those of us who have never been there know what a beautiful place Saratoga is.

14 Sep 2012 10:13 AM
Linda in Texas

Dear Agnes, if you have never been to Saratoga Springs, New York. Gift yourself with a well earned trip and treat yourself with a visit.

If you do not drive, there is a lovely train ride you can take from downtown NYC right up alongside The Hudson River. My son drove me the first time, but the next time i am taking the train during the month of August.

Saratoga is a state of mind that will stay with you always. So glad i would not give up until i visited even if on a cold February day and found the ambience i had from photos was still there.

Steve is the beautiful young lady petting Street Life your daughter Mandy? For some reason i believe she resembles a photo of a very young girl in one of your previous photos.

Thanks Steve. Just had to tell Agnes how Saratoga made me feel.

14 Sep 2012 1:31 PM

Steve- loved the photo essay- especially Archwarrior and Welterweight's "chat room" and the morning shot of Oklahoma track.  As someone else mentioned, I hope someday to get to the Spa; it's beautiful!  Thanks for sharing these special moments with us.  Hopefully we'll see you at the BC

14 Sep 2012 2:46 PM

Beautiful shots Steve.  STILL hope to make it to SARATOGA someday.

14 Sep 2012 3:25 PM

Anyone read: Profitable Horse Racing Handicapping: How to Maximize Profits and Minimize Losses

Its on the kindle store for like 3 bucks any good?

14 Sep 2012 3:35 PM
steve from st louis

Would the Earth really go off its axis if the NYRA would grant  Saratoga a 120-day meet, June through September? Run the Belmont the first Saturday in June and shut down for the summer. Would anyone complain of the lack of asphalt and concrete compared to Belmont? More of a good thing is better than not enough of a good thing. Plus, Steve Haskin would have twice as many photos and to me, that would be a great thing.

14 Sep 2012 3:58 PM

Beautiful place with beautiful horses.  Thanks for sharing......

14 Sep 2012 4:27 PM

Steve from St Louis I disagree with you totally they should leave it as it is.What I would like to see is the other meets shortened.I am looking at this from a bettors perspective I dont know what your point of view is.There are too many races with five six and seven horse fields,I would rather have less races with bigger fields. Keenland and Saratoga enjoy more full field races with quality horses, and the connections have an urgency to win because the meets are short. There arent enough high quality horses to fill races for 120 days so I say shorten the meets for the bettor.I realize that claiming races are the bread and butter of the industry, but I am a bettor and most of those races are unplayable for me.

14 Sep 2012 6:28 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

Being such a huge fan of Touch Gold, and of course the BC Classic champ THE SOUP!, it's nice to see an updated photo  of the two of them.  Thank you for the lovely photos Steve, your truly the best at what you do in this industry!.

14 Sep 2012 6:45 PM
Mary Jo in Florida

Just wonderful pictures. I love that you got one of my favorites, Jackson Bend and it is good to see Frank Whiteley's name mentioned.

I did want to say that I saw you in the paddock the day of the Woodward and you are even better looking in person!

Saratoga is a very special place and I'm looking forward to going back next year. It is heaven.

14 Sep 2012 6:49 PM

Archwarrior:  "Pssssst.  Pssssst. Hey Welt, c'mon bud, wake up, you in there?"

Welterweight:  "I need my beauty sleep, call me later."  (yawning)

Archwarrior:  "You gotta check out the cute filly moving in next door!  I think I'm in love!"

Welterweight:  "Ok, now where's my groom, I have to look my best."

Archwarrior:  "C'mon man we gotta be in gate school in an hour."

Welterweight:  "Ok here's the plan, we whinny at the filly as we walk to school.  After school we'll meet her for oats and carrots at the watering hole."

Archwarrior:  "I wish we could stay at this place they call Saratoga all year.  The two-leggers ain't so bad after all Welt!"

14 Sep 2012 6:51 PM

I've never been to Saratoga so your photo gallery was a real treat. You showed us things the average fan would never be able to access. Thank you so much.  You are a more than able photograhper! I can't select a favorite I loved all of them!

14 Sep 2012 8:29 PM


We need a blog article about Camelot on here? Its unbelievable that history is about to be made, generating so many questions such as who will win European HOTY (Camelot or Frankel)?  Also, can Camelot do what Nijinsky failed to do the Triple Crown and Arc D'Triomphe?  And how about a shot at the Breeder's Cup Turf?  This is quite an event and all we get here is deafening silence? Wow!!!  

14 Sep 2012 9:04 PM

What lovely pictures! Thank you so much for sharing them!

Saratoga looks like heaven on Earth for horses and horse lovers.

14 Sep 2012 10:17 PM
Steve Haskin

Mary Jo, Thank you very much for this: "I did want to say that I saw you in the paddock the day of the Woodward and you are even better looking in person!" But are you sure it was me you were looking at?

Ranagulzion, that is my next column.

14 Sep 2012 10:23 PM

Looking forward to it Steve. Thanks.

14 Sep 2012 10:39 PM

Im old and sick and it is on my bucket list to see the ponies run at the SPA

14 Sep 2012 10:51 PM
Greg R

That's more than I've ever seen of Saratoga backside.  Feel like I've just had a wonderful visit there - from 2,000 miles away.  This page is one to hang onto!

14 Sep 2012 11:51 PM

The Conversation:

"Does Chantix help or is it best to go cold turkey? I've got to quit cribbing."

A question for the Master: I'm sure you have the occasional shot that hits the waste basket, but you've published so many from so many angles and the horses always looking beautifully assembled. The studs in the Register, on the other hand, make me think "Two good ends, too far apart." Is it an artefact of the wide-angled lens that most of them look long and loose-coupled?"

15 Sep 2012 1:20 AM
Paula Higgins

It is 1:35 a.m. and I thought I would see if there was a new blog up. WOW STEVE! These pictures are just gorgeous. I have always thought that there is nothing more beautiful on the planet than a horse and your pictures pretty much prove that. But I will say this, your beautiful daughter could disprove that theory.  Saratoga is pretty spectacular looking. I had no idea it was so lovely. You know, you have had a very rich life Steve.

On another note, I would also love to see a posting on Camelot. I hope he can do it. Also, I am really happy that Paynter is doing so well.  He is a valiant horse with a loving family and a superb vet.

My final comment is that I always knew Lenny Shulman was a good guy. Have to love his three Labs playing in the water.

15 Sep 2012 1:48 AM
Brown brother

Great photos Steve. I went for the first time this year after being a thoroughhbred fan for 30 years and was lucky enough to see questing's Alabama. Tte way she took off in the stretch after setting that grueling pace is a performance for the ages. So are your photos. Point of entry is a mighty looking beast!

15 Sep 2012 4:14 AM
Love 'em all

These pics are a treat like no other, Mr. Haskin.  Especially fond of "Oklahoma morning", since I'm an early riser and love a pretty sunrise.  My father always told me the early part of a day was the very best.  He was right, but it took me over forty years to realize that.  Horses have known that for centuries!  

Glad you included one of my very favs, Jackson Bend.   Hope to see him back to his old self ... and enjoys his time off the track.  Thanks so much for providing the spa tour ..... beautiful place.

Oh, Alphabet Soup's daughter, Egg Drop, got her daddy's good looks! That is a pretty horse.

15 Sep 2012 1:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I should say it's a well deserved rest for Jackson Bend. He should have gotten a vacation after the Met. Poor kid, 28 races since May 2009, without a break and he runs his heart out. A major gamer until recently when they ran him another two races too many. He is a champion. Alphabet Soup sure looks good. A Haskin Saratoga history complete with all of his photos is a book collection I'd like to read and own. I know he doesn't want to do anymore books but that would be a masterpiece for the ages. Probably would be like an encyclopedia collection. We had World Book growing up. That collection was our internet. Used it and read it constantly.  Archwarrior and Welterweight- just like in Silver Streak, "we could even break down the whole partition." Some really great photos here. Too many to mention each one I love. Haskin- the gift that keeps giving, and giving, and giving.

15 Sep 2012 9:14 PM
Mike Relva


I hope you get your wish. Enjoy.

15 Sep 2012 10:12 PM

After reading so many comments from those of you who have never been to Saratoga , I feel so blessed that I live less than 2 hrs. away and have averaged between 5 to 6 trips per year for 37 years. Make it a point in your life if but just once,  you'll never regret or forget it. Thanks Steve , wonderful as ever!!!!!

15 Sep 2012 10:29 PM
Paula Higgins

Barry, I hope you feel better soon and as Mike said, I hope you get your wish. I felt bad that Camelot didn't get the British Triple Crown. He is a very special horse nonetheless. Paynter continues to do well. What a story that is. Yes, Dr Drunkinbum the Encyclopedia Britannica/World Book were wonderful resources growing up. My father bought me the complete works of Shakespeare as a kid too (little blue books from Yale Press). Remember when you actually had to crack open a book to write a paper?

16 Sep 2012 2:29 PM
Mike Relva


Returned from a trip, part of it spent in Kentucky. Stopping at Old Friends to see Rapid Redux, Tinners Way and many more. Talked with Michael for a few minutes also. Visited Seattle Slew's last foal,(for the second yr in a row) Maggie Slew at Swifty Farms at IN. Got to also see Stevie Wonderboy, Slew City Slew, Haynsfield, Divine Park yesterday. A great time!

16 Sep 2012 5:48 PM
Fran Loszynski

Oh my gosh Steve loved the pics of the Hole In The Wall Gang! how priceless! You summed up Saratoga for us once again this year! Seabiscuit would be proud! These pics will go in my scrapbook faster than lightning. I know I write this alot and some will say "not again" but here goes. I hope you do the write-up and photos when Afleet Alex's kid wins The Triple Crown someday,....and he will. Thank you Steve for "Saratoga".

17 Sep 2012 1:37 PM
Linda in Texas




linda :)

17 Sep 2012 6:25 PM

You are a gift to us all.  Wonderful photos!  Where do you go next?

17 Sep 2012 7:38 PM
Mike Relva


Thanks for your comment. Always enjoy reading your insight regarding racing. Yes, was a great time visiting these great horses and Michael treats everyone like he's known them forever, a class act.

17 Sep 2012 11:25 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Relva, thanks for the update! I am so glad you got to see Rapid Redux at Old Friends, along with Michael Blowen. He does a great service for these wonderful horses. You are good soul too buddy.

17 Sep 2012 11:27 PM

Mike Relva,

I am so glad you had a great time in Ky.  It is so good of you to pay homage to our equine friends and stop to visit so many of them. High five, Mike!

18 Sep 2012 6:26 PM
Mike Relva


Thanks for the kind comments. I go there as much as possible. Am nearly five hrs from Old Friends.

18 Sep 2012 9:44 PM
Lise from Maine


Love to see the "behind the scenes" photos.

Gorgeous as usual.

The horses are so beautiful.

Thanks for sharig them with us.

Lise from Maine

23 Sep 2012 1:31 PM

Wow!  Thank you so much for sharing, Steve.  Saratoga is my favorite venue.

25 Sep 2012 3:58 PM

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