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Another weekend at the Saratoga Race Course

(C) David Warner StudioSpent the third weekend in a row at the Saratoga Race Course taking pictures of the horses. This weekend was the big one – the Travers – a 1.25 million dollar purse. And of course, a couple of my shots made the paper. One being a tragic one as the number two horse (about 30 seconds after this shot was made – third horse from the right) stumbled and broke its leg in front of the grandstand. The injuries were so severe that they had to put the horse down. His name was Ludicrous – it was his first race and the owners had spent $770,000 on the horse. The jockey jumped clear, so he was fine, but for all of the horse lovers in the crowd, it was a tragic moment.

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Another day at the Saratoga Race Track

(C) David Warner StudioOK, I’m not a betting man, so in my spare time, I am not cozying up to the betting window and wagering what’s left over from my paycheck. No, I’m working on a documentary about horse racing and horse ownership.  It’s an idea that sprang up a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m straining to get my stills images and ‘b’ roll footage finished before the season of racing ends on Labor Day.

So, I’ll tease a few of the images that I like from Saturday’s shoot – once again compliments of my friend Kevin Mattison, who has been very giving when it comes to his time in educating me and giving me access.

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I didn’t realize it

(C) David Warner StudioI didn’t realize it when I took the pictures and wrote the article about my day at the Saratoga Race Track, that it would be something the newspaper would want as well.  I had my iPad with me and was showing the images to Kevin, who had invited me out to the track, and sports editor Paul Antoneli noticed the images and like them.

Since The Recorder covers the Saratoga Race Track, he thought a one page spread would be just the thing for the Thursday paper.

Well, I thought it came out great and it was wonderful exposure for the work I’m doing out there, so here’s a screen shot of the page.

A Day at the Saratoga Race Track

(C) David Warner StudioI had no idea what to expect driving through the early morning fog on my hour and a half drive to the Saratoga Race Track last weekend. I had never been to the track, had never even watched a horse race on TV. Yet, the invitation from an owner of three horses and the chance to shoot some pictures on a beautiful Saturday morning was something I couldn’t pass up.

When my wife and I arrived, we were met at the Horseshoe – I thought it was some part of the track, but when I pulled up, I realized it was a restaurant. Kevin was standing in the parking lot and jumped into the back seat while we headed just down the street to the barn where his horses were stabled.

It is a beautiful facility – horses in their stalls, being taken out one at a time and walking around the edge of the barn so that they could get their routine started. One by one, Kevin introduced us to his ‘children’ and we got to pet them, take their picture, and feed them their favorite treats – peppermint candy no less.

Then the real tour was on. Through the barns, the backstretch, the facilities and the history of the Saratoga Race Track – Kevin was an encyclopedia of racing knowledge and track history. All the while he was giving the tour, I was taking pictures – in a three hour time-frame – about 475 of them.

Several years ago, I was doing a podcast where I was interviewing famous photographers and filmmakers – it was called LensFlare35. I asked one of them “of all the places you’ve been around the world, where is the one place you would like to return to?” He said Saratoga Springs and the Track. I asked him why? Heck, at that time, I didn’t even know it existed. He said that it was one of the most beautiful places to photograph – the early morning sun angles, the low hanging fog, the horses, landscape and facilities – an amazing place he said.

Well, now that I’ve been there, I agree and can’t wait to return. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite shots from that morning.

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