Hot Dogs

It took nine years for Beth and Jasper Alexander, the owners of Hattie’s, to realize that their fried chicken dinners could taste great away from their Phila Street location.  Then they opened an outpost on Restaurant Row.  This summer, two years later, a new Hattie’s pushed Pat’s Saratoga Chicken stand into oblivion. The next frontier will be Wilton.

It seems finding a place to sell food at the track is a preoccupation of many leading Saratoga restaurants.  But there are at least two that haven’t been tempted to expand their operations at the race meet.  PJ’s Bar-B-Q on Rte.9 wants to franchise its business, but not in this manner.  Spring St. Deli seems pleased with the business it has. The short of all this is – if you want to chow down, there are options.

The Wishing Well is one spot that’s been tops on visitors’ lists for nearly eight decades. Brenda Lee and her son Bob have wisely retained most of the restaurant’s charms, including a popular piano bar, as well as the reason for why people go there.  That would be fresh-grown tomatoes, platters of locally-grown corn and succulent lamb chops, juicy beefsteaks and two-pound lobsters that would cause even a man with a full stomach to salivate.

Each August, Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson make a habit of coming by on Whitney Handicap evening. This year, the couple dined with their usual posse - the Oxleys, Farmers and Ed and Maureen Lewi. Scattered about the 70-year-old roadhouse fine-dining eatery were horsepeople John and Theresa Behrendt, Cobra Farm’s Gary Bizantz and his family, Peachtree Racing’s John Fort and the Son of Sam sleuth.

The track lured its own interesting crowd for the races on Monday.  In particular, Alex and Stephanie Vavak of Montreal, Quebec via Lake George, NY were the most inconspicuous. They managed to wheel three Yorkshire terriers past the guards in a baby stroller.  The pooches - Alfie, Charlie and Lily - were darling.

In a related faux paw, Nick Kling, the featured handicapper among five whose picks appear in the Pink Sheet, referred to the lone Saratoga race in The Underling’s resume as a “barker.”  Of course, The Underling won.. A race later, Ginger Snapit, a 2-year-old filly in search of a maiden victory, would have won also, had she not thought she was a dragon in a Chinese parade.

Vic Zast has attended at least one day of racing at Saratoga in each of the last 47 years. He is the author of the award winning book, “The History and Art of 25 Travers.”


Leave a Comment:

Blue Blue Sea

I love Hatties!

10 Aug 2010 9:13 AM

With all of the space near the Shake Shake and Blue Smoke you would think NYRA would have set up some tables with umbrellas so that people would hang out and gamble eat and drink. It's hard to do in the scorching sun on 90 degree days.

10 Aug 2010 9:46 AM

While trying to get thru the Fort Knox security at te gate to the backside the gaurd said "make sure you have your badge, they've been doing sweeps all day"

what is there a roque security team making sure fans and owners have a flimsy plastic ID badge?  Glad they snuck they're dogs in using a stroller, might work for me if I weren't 6'3"

10 Aug 2010 12:44 PM

The dog in the photo in your lead in is definitely not a Yorkshire Terrier ;-)

11 Aug 2010 5:51 AM
Blood-Horse Staff

Rachel - No, it's not. But, it got your attention, didn't it?

11 Aug 2010 9:10 AM

I have no idea what the last paragraph is saying.  Barkers and dragons?  Inside humor?

11 Aug 2010 10:13 AM

I love you guys, but what it showed me was you don't know dogs... I would have read the srticle anyways, I read 'em all! ♥

PS I am a dog trainer

11 Aug 2010 1:17 PM

Oh brother, I just saw faux paw...on that one I'll simply say "Lassie faire!"

11 Aug 2010 5:39 PM


12 Aug 2010 4:02 AM

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