Cot Campbell: Saratoga still 'great fun'

  • Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Sunday, August 25, 2013 9:54 a.m.
In this photo provided by the New York Racing Association, Will Take Charge, center, ridden by Luis Saez, wins the Travers Stakes horse race at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/NYRA)
In this photo provided by the New York Racing Association, Will Take Charge, center, ridden by Luis Saez, wins the Travers Stakes horse race at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/NYRA)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Historic Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. is home to arguably the premier Thoroughbred race meet in North America.

Dogwood Stable's W. Cothran Campbell has been coming to the storied racetrack for more than four decades, and the facility considered by many to be one of the world's greatest sporting venues, has an allure and charm that can trace its roots back to 1863, when the site hosted the racetrack's first four-day meet.

The annual summer meeting has nationwide appeal, drawing people from all over the country and from the farthest environs of the globe, providing them with an opportunity to see the best in Thoroughbred racing, as well as a chance to socialize with one another, said Campbell.

“It's great fun,” said Campbell, who says the relatively short duration of the meeting is among the variables that makes the experience of Saratoga a lasting and enduring one. “I love it. I've been coming here for 42 years.”

However, the Town of Saratoga Springs is evocative of another era, and its charm and atmosphere hold an almost magical quality. The Saratoga race meeting is the confluence of a great convention of horsemen and horses, said Campbell.

“It's like going back to 1895,” said Campbell. “It wreaks of tradition. It's interesting in being able to run a horse in a race at a track, where the first race was run a month after the Battle of Gettysburg.”

Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004. Among the awards Baugh has won include the 2003 Raleigh Burroughs Award as the turf writer making the most impact on the Florida Thoroughbred Industry. Baugh is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, worked for North America's leading Thoroughbred breeder Adena Springs in Ocala, Fla. And interned at Thoroughbred Racing Communications in New York, N.Y.

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