Through the lens: Fall colors, frost as Saratoga's season ends

November 11, 2019 09:20am

The Breeders’ Cup is viewed as the home stretch of the racing season, and with all the excitement of the races in Southern California behind us, we are preparing for the inevitable in the north country: winter.

While Saratoga is said to reserve its magic for the mornings, I am arguing that the best of those are during fall. So let me take you through a visual tour of this transition from the hot race summer days to ones with the first frost on the ground.

Looking back just a few months, the Saratoga summer meet concluded with the final races of Labor Day weekend


Since then, morning workouts continued on the Oklahoma training track across from the main race track on Union Avenue. Fall mornings often bring fog to the track, and sometimes include exceptional skills demonstrations, as by this Chad Brown exercise rider


In September, the morning sun is still warm enough to bring out the pulsing veins on horses at the end of their morning workout
 


This horse bathing at the barn of Todd Pletcher during a September morning also reminds us that we are at the Spa


While October mornings get colder, we were warmed at least by the vibrant fall foliage: George Weaver exercise rider Heather Coots is getting a helping hand from an outrider under some morning sun lighting up the maple trees on East Ave

 


A pair of Chad Brown exercise riders is chase fall colors:
 

 


This rider shows that it is never too late in the season for some gate work.
 

 

A Chad Brown exercise rider trots around the track: 


A George Weaver horse being led back to the barn: 


The team of Christophe Clement riders walking their horses under the fall canopy: 


As operations are moved to warmer climates in November, this lone horse is looking for some company at one of the many empty barns at the Oklahoma backstretch: 


The Nick Zito exercise rider Layla Griffin is one of the final holdouts galloping horses on frosty mornings in front of empty barns. 


As the first frost hits the ground, horses step through frosted leaves as they exit the Oklahoma track for some warmer climates. 


With the drop of the last leaf and the fall of the first flurries the Oklahoma track is closing for the season. The filly Buddy’s Memory at the George Weaver barn captures this feeling of longing for having all the horses and riders back at the Oklahoma. But there is going to be another season come April... 

 

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Meet Konrad Weeber

In his photography, Konrad captures the beauty of equine sports. His photos take the viewers behind the scenes of horse racing and allow them to experience the daily passion at backstretches, training tracks and horse barns. Horse people are motivated by their seemingly limitless dedication to the animals. Konrad aims to capture this in his photos that often explore the changing light between dawn and sunrise. His goal is to photograph the poetry in motion of horses in flight, the intersection of sunlight and athleticism, and the caring passion of riders and caretakers for the equines in their charge.

Konrad is a lifelong photographer who started with black and white photography of modern dance performances for a journal in his hometown of Vienna, Austria. He has followed his passion for photography as he travelled the world and transitioned to travel, outdoors and sports photography. After settling in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 2015, he started to explore horse racing photography and picked up horseback riding himself to develop a better appreciation for and connection with horses. He now specializes in equine photography as a freelance photographer.

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