The Spa Spot: Happy 149th Saratoga races
Who knew on that first Monday of August in 1863 that horse racing would endure in Saratoga Springs through the decades into a third century? Who could have guessed that John Morrissey's idea to stage four days of racing at America's already popular resort would be a brilliant move?
On this date next year, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the start of racing in Saratoga Springs. There will activities of all sorts to mark the day and the year.
Birthday No. 149 is today, the third Friday and 13th day of the 40-day season. Ten races will be contested at the old track across Union Avenue from where Morrissey held his inaugural meet.
There were two races held on opening day 1863: a three-heat contest for 3-year-olds, between J.W. Weldon's filly Lizzie W and the colt Capt. Moore. After Capt. Moore won the first one-mile heat, Lizzy W took the next two to become Saratoga's first winner. Weldon's filly Sympathy finished first in the other race of day, a two-mile dash.