10/01/2012 8:37PM

Flashback to 1987 at Saratoga


Before this year's Saratoga meet began, I scanned in a few negatives from - gulp - a quarter-century ago at the Spa.  I thought some of you might remember these horses, people and times with the same fondness I do.

I ran out of time to post these back in July but, since they're from 25 years ago, this seems as good a time as any!  Do any of you remember the lesser-known stars, especially?  I also have a couple of "who are these" photos that, if anyone knows them, I'd love to know, too...  (After all, some day, some poor sucker will be stuck looking through my old negatives - but wouldn't it be nice if they were IDed?).  

Above: Saratoga doesn't look all that much different today than it did in 1987, although I know a few of the infield elms are now just memories.

Above:  Among the 3-year-old stars who shone at Saratoga 25 years ago was Java Gold.  He shone the most brightly, winning the Whitney and a very muddy Travers.


Above:  There has never been a more popular outrider than Howard Reilly, shown here with his long-time pony Buck.  He and Buck were teamed up for more than 20 years - maybe even 25?  When Howard was riding Buck, Buck had all the nerve in the world.  When Howard wasn't around, Buck was a bit shy (funny, isn't it, the things a person remembers?).

Above:  I should remember these gents, especially the one at left whom I think was a regular.  Jump jocks, perhaps?  

Above:  A pretty darned good racehorse and stellar sire, Gone West.

Above:  Gone West's trainer Woody Stephens, on chestnut pony, visits with fellow trainers...is the man on the grey pony Warren Pascuma?  The other is John Veitch (bottom left).

Above:  The brilliant sprinter Once Wild with the brilliant rider Angel Cordero, Jr.

Above: Jeff Lukas was part of the daily morning scene at Saratoga in the late 1980s.

Above:  Among the horses in Jeff's care in 1987 was a strapping 2-year-old filly named Winning Colors...

...as well as the 1986 champion 2-year-old colt Capote....

...and the oversized multiple stakes-winning mare Pine Tree Lane (above and below).

Above:  Another top 3-year-old at the Spa in 1987 was Belmont Stakes' winner Bet Twice, who shipped in for the Travers.  Here he is, being bathed in the area that nowadays is the Kimmel barn.

Above:  Backstretch scene.

Above:  I have no idea who this is, but I'll bet it was a stakes horse (simply because I photographed it, and the W is unfamiliar to me).  Any ideas?

Above:  E. T. Baird and a mischievous smile.

Above:  Woody Stephens, one of the most popular trainers ever, visited regularly with the Saratoga breakfast crowd - yes, Mary Ryan was the morning announcer way back then, too!  This pony is the one featured in the poster about Woody's five Belmont wins.  I don't remember the pony's name, but he was beautiful.

Above: Champion sprinter Groovy was trained by Jose Martin.  His son, Carlos Martin - now a successful trainer - leads Groovy in this photo.  I feel as though it's even in the same barn Carlos uses now - but I'm not quite sure.

Above:  Morning scene at the pony barn.

Above:  How's this for an obscure one.   Does anyone remember Dawn Revival? He ran 49 times over 6 seasons, with just 2 wins....but he sure looked grand in photos!

Above:  Although I was a fan of each horse in the blog - and, of course, countless others - this one reigned supreme for me a quarter-century ago.  It was dual classic winner Alysheba.  How grand was he?  He was 1987's champion 3-year-old colt.  The next year, he earned both the champion older horse and Horse of the Year titles.

Leslie Bliman-Kuretzky More than 1 year ago
Stunning and brings back memories for me Thank you
Peggy Langford More than 1 year ago
Oh, thank you for sharing. Brought a smile to my face
Pam Maher More than 1 year ago
Thank you for sharing, Sitting here in Oregon I feel that I am home again. Many hours of growing up fun at the track. Patrick Reilly lovely to have your Dad included
PatReilly More than 1 year ago
Thanks for posting Barbara... HHR and Buck great photo and wonderful comments on Dad! Patrick Reilly
James Ronan More than 1 year ago
Barbara, 30 plus years following every aspect of horse racing and I feel like a baby next to your fellow horse lovers magnificent memories. Your photography is awesome and touches our hearts tremendously. I remember early on as a Limo driver bringing caterers to the Robert Brennan estate outside of Saratoga and spending the night in town. A bunch of us were having cigarettes outside in the driveway at Brennan's estate and Woody Stephens joined us and said not to let Lucille know he'd been outside with us sneaking a smoke. Got to shake his hand thought to myself I should never wash the hand that touched his 5 consecutive Belmonts. There's a record that will never be touched, Thanks so much for the wonder of it all.....
Barbara Livingston More than 1 year ago
Thank you so much for the very kind words and your interest. Ah, what memories you must have, being a limo driver during that 'prime time' in Saratoga history! Mr. Brennan's estate was magnificent, and Woody Stephens...well, he was one of the all-time greats, wasn't he.
Ray Manley More than 1 year ago
Hi Barbara, I think the saddle cloth with the W on it is for trainer Robert E. Wheeler of Maryland. Mr. Wheeler had a real nice 2 year old filly at Saratoga that summer named Bold Lady Anne. I think she ran 4th in the Adirondack and 2nd in the Spinaway. She was a nice filly winning 7 of 14. She was owned by Edward Connor. I think Boldy Lady Anne had a sales topper at Keeneland one September. I don't know if that is Bold Lady Anne in the photo. But I would bet the saddle cloth belongs to Mr. Wheeler.
Barbara Livingston More than 1 year ago
Hi Ray, Thanks so much for the suggestion. I remember Bold Lady Anne, and years later I came to know her groom (at least at Saratoga), Rusty Zimmerman, very well. I'll check an old photo of her and see if it's a possible match. Take care!
steve Wolfson More than 1 year ago
Wish you had been able to depict TALAKENO, trained by Dickie Dutrow, which won the '87 Bernard Baruch under Angel Cordero. The Saratogian pink sheet headline was "TALAKENO: The MANILA Killer," and went on to describe the result as one of the greatest upsets in Saratoga history, behind only UPSET defeating MAN O' WAR and ONION defeating SECRETARIAT. The loss, ending MANILA's 9 race winning streak, prompted his sore loser trainer Leroy Jolley to say "...It had to be the heat...these horses don't belong in the same race with him," reminding fans of the tactless conditioner's words when RUFFIAN broke down in her match race with FOOLISH PLEASURE: "This game isn't for people in short pants..."
Barbara Livingston More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Thanks for your memories and thoughts. I remember Talakeno well but didn't remember the Manila reference. Sounds like something that would happen nowadays! I'll put photos of Talakeno in a blog eventually..... I didn't remember his being trained by Mr. Dutrow, shame on me. Thanks again.
steve Wolfson More than 1 year ago
Hardly any "shame," as your recall is absolutely amazing. And, who could blame anyone for not remembering that TALAKENO (which is a Native American for "The Traveler") was aptly named as he was initially trained by Frankie Brothers in Louisiana, where he broke his maiden by 14 lengths on the dirt (his only win on that surface to go along with 9 wins and $937,000+ on turf) before winning stakes for Laz Barrera in California, then ultimately ending up with The Wizard, Dickie Dutrow in New York. Sorry to be so long-winded, but the sport, like your great photos, has a way of rekindling all those wonderful memories of days gone by.
William Eisele More than 1 year ago
dear steve, it's very hard to believe but you & i have never meet. my aunt shelia was lab tech on harbor view working with dr.guttridge. i was a kid from long island in 1970 & went on vacation down to ocala, your brother gary had just married cathy & they were living on the farm too. it was a magical time for me, i fell in love with roman brother who became my pet,used to feed him carrots & sugar,also had a bond with american native& we would play a game running up and down the fenceline of his paddock @ harbor view. i used to hang out with gary & cathy in the main house & watch the films of all the old races with gary in the trophy room . then i would look at all the old win pictures your dad had raise a native, roman brother, swinging mood,sailor princess, sparkling johnny,. francis s. ,gosh theyre were so many good ones,i also remember a beautiful painting over the fireplace painted by allen brewer of your dad holding raise a native,and a wonderful piece of art that was a table lamb carving of roman brother with baeza up..it was there that gary handed me your essay on raise a native that you wrote, i was impressed...if you look at my facebook page you'll see me and mckeever standing together on the old farm. i never became the jockey that i hoped i'd be, but that's okay i saw steve cauthen live my dream & win the triple crown on affirmed wearing the flamingo pink /black sleeves /2 white hoops, sadly my aunt shelia never got to see affirmeds triple crown ,but she did know that he won the derby.. we used to have pony races in the big paddock over by gary & cathys trailer on the weekends ,rusty,magic(he was to old) kim ,mustang....on the old happy valley property by the feedmill, gary built a kennel and we would get all the sick animals out of the pound, patch them up & give them away with a bunch of free cat/dog food...life was certainly simplier back then & i believe the air was sweeter ,& the food tasted way better,but thats just me.one weekend marty came up to hang out ,& also your cousin donnie,once i met your dad @ hialeah, but i was too nervous & intimidated to speak to him , he was always like a john wayne figure to me , he kinda was my hero,still is. i was there that day @ saratoga when talekeno beat manilla, i remember hearing gary saying over & over again ""incredible,incredible"..i said from a distance "congratulations" ..anyway i wanna say thank you to you & your family again for introducing me to the throughbred,it's been a heck of a ride...sincerly ,billy eisele
nick More than 1 year ago
Awesome collection of Saratoga photos! I really enjoyed perusing them.
annie weeden More than 1 year ago
Jump Jocks Gregg Ryan, Jimmy Day, Benny Guessford, Gregg Morris
Barbara Livingston More than 1 year ago
Wow...thanks so much!
D'Funnybone More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the wonderful photo's, it brought back a lot of memories! Treasured the Alysheba - Bet Twice rivalry in the '87 Triple Crown events. Still amazed how Alysheba took a bad step and almost went down mid stretch in the '87 Kentucky Derby - yet regained his composure and momentum and still won the race under Chris McCarron ! CLASSIC!!!!