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HRN Original Blog:
Portrait of a Thoroughbred

Scenes from a Sunday at Saratoga

Saratoga Morning Heidi 615 X 400
Photo: Heidi E. Carpenter


The Travers is the pinnacle of summer; the days after slope downward toward the end of the Saratoga meet, the beginning of the end of summer, and the first touches of winter at the back of the mind.

The Sunday after the Travers, I took a grand tour of beautiful Saratoga. My day began at 6 a.m. in heavy fog that denied the sun for hours despite a clear and hot forecast. A veil of history cloaks the old race course; thin at times, it was anything but on that Sunday morning. In watching the horses float through the mist at Oklahoma, one couldn't help but see the great Thoroughbreds of a century ago.

As promised, the afternoon was clear and bright, and in no time the sun was throwing long shadows from the horses walking beneath the old elms in the Saratoga paddock. And just like that, my turn at Saratoga was done and we were chasing the end of summer back to Chicago. But I took with me photographs and exquisite memories of that special Sunday after the Travers.


Horses float out of the mist at Oklahoma Training Track.


Early morning at Oklahoma.


D. Wayne Lukas at Oklahoma.


Discreet Marq gallops at Oklahoma.


A horse works at Saratoga's main track.


A Bill Mott trainee surveys the main track.


Not all horses were willing to stand quietly!


(Above & below) Early morning on the backside.



(Above & below two) Multi-stakes winner Tapiture and 2014 Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable being bathed.




(Above & below three) Early morning on the backside.





Mr Speaker grazes outside the McGaughey barn.


Riders share a laugh as they pass through Clare Court.


The graves of Mourjane (IRE), Fourstardave, and A Phenomenon at Clare Court.


The afternoon view from the roof.


King Kreesa enters the paddock for the West Point Stakes.


Under Irad Ortiz Jr., King Kreesa wins the West Point over favored Lubash.


An artist paints a portrait of Rachel Alexandra in the paddock.


Discreet Marq enters the paddock for the Yaddo Stakes.


Dayatthespa, Javier Castellano up, takes the lead in the Yaddo while Discreet Marq stalks in second. The two mares maintained their positions for the duration of the race.


Discreet Marq and Irad Ortiz, Jr. return from a second place finish in the Yaddo.


Dayatthespa and Javier Castellano after winning the Yaddo.


(Above & below) The sun sinks into the sky and casts long shadows in the paddock before the Fleet Indian Stakes.



Desert Valentine (7) leaps into the air at the start of the Fleet Indian.


Star Grazing carries Angel Arroyo to victory in the Fleet Indian, notching her third win in as many starts for 2014.


Joel Rosario leaves the track after the running of the Fleet Indian. I followed not long after. Until next time, Saratoga..

Please also enjoy my Photo Essay from Travers Day.




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 Meet Heidi Carpenter


An equestrian since 1986, Heidi has loved horses for as long as she can remember. She fell in love with the sport and history of Thoroughbred racing as a young girl after reading about the great champions of yesteryear, including Man o' War, Lexington, Equipoise, and Citation.

Always very visual and imaginative--as well as a romantic at heart--Heidi has a great interest in the stories, connections and images abound in Thoroughbred racing. She also enjoys studying pedigrees and racing history.

The first Kentucky Derby Heidi watched was in 1991, and the first racehorse she fell in love with was Cigar. Her all-time favorites include Ruffian, Man o' War, Dr. Fager, John Henry and Winter Memories.

Heidi lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband (who is also a racing fan) and four cats, and has her beloved horse, Limerick, boarded nearby. Registered as Amanda Bry, Limerick is a 1991-model OTTB mare that Heidi has had since 1996. Heidi has a B.A. in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago and is a writer for a local laboratory. Heidi also has a blog at: http://deafequinefanatic.blogspot.com/