The Saratoga Special

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Working with The Saratoga Special has kept me pretty busy, and while I’m hoping to get a blog posted soon, I wanted to remind you that I have articles published daily in The Saratoga Special! You can read the digital edition of The Special anytime, anywhere and keep up with my racetrack shenanigans, as well as the latest and greatest news from Saratoga Race Course!

Click here to read the digital editions!

Dacita in the Diana

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably heard mention of a mare named Dacita more than once. So let me tell you a bit about my favorite Chilean horse, who will take on nine of the best turf females in Saturday’s $500,000 Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga. The 5-year-old Chilean mare, trained by Chad Brown, was bred by Haras Paso Nevado and is owned by Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds. I caught up with the lovely chestnut on Thursday morning to observe her training session on the main track at Saratoga.

Around 9:20 a.m., Dacita crossed Union Avenue with several others in a troop from Chad Brown’s barn and strolled onto the track, appearing laid-back and relaxed. She jogged the wrong way down the backstretch before turning around and galloping one easy lap.

I liked her cool-as-a-cucumber demeanor, but she’ll really need to pour on the cobs to beat the classy crew that will go post-ward for the Diana. Miss Temple City, for example, makes her first start after running fourth in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 15, and looks formidable.

Check out these photos from Dacita’s training session, and enjoy the running of the 2016 Grade 1 Diana!

The Buildup

Tomorrow’s the big day! Here’s a recap of my latest adventures…

The good news is that I made it to Saratoga! The better news is that tomorrow is opening day. And the bad news…? Honestly, there really is no bad news, except for the impending doom of being a college senior and having to figure out where I want to go with my life.

But I won’t think about that now, because did I mention tomorrow is opening day at Saratoga?!

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View of the expanse where the Battle of Saratoga took place

As my mom I pulled off of Interstate 87 on Sunday and drove into Saratoga Springs, a strange sense of nostalgia washed over me. Time passes so quickly, but our recognition of places we love and fond memories we hold have this strange way of making you feel like not a single day has gone by. The scary part is that the vividness of this mental connection can make other things feel like they never happened. My last semester at NDSU might as well have been years ago, along with my travels to Kentucky for the Keeneland January sale, my visit to New York and not to mention 4 phenomenal months in Chile.

But here I am back in Saratoga, and it’s almost as if I never left. Continue reading

North Dakota Horse Park Opening Day

Expert handicapper Matthew Pappis gives you his winning picks 

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Matt and I at Saratoga last summer

If you plan on betting the races on opening day at the North Dakota Horse Park, you won’t want to go without this advice from my friend and handicapper extraordinaire, Matthew Pappis. Matt grew up going to the racetrack with his family. I met him last summer at Saratoga (his favorite place on planet Earth), and never fail to be impressed with his knowledge of the racing industry and keen ability to make money at the track. In fact, he’s so good at handicapping that he paid off his student loans by betting the races! 

Here are his top three picks for each race on opening day: Continue reading

Angles of Saratoga

I’ve barely settled into being home and I’m off again!

Time to head back to one of the greatest places on Earth for lovers of horse racing, as tomorrow I depart for beautiful Saratoga Racecourse. I’m loaded down with three times the amount of clothes and shoes that I brought with to Chile, so I do believe I’m prepared! This years pilgrimage east will take me through Canada, Vermont and the Adirondacks of New York.

Great things lie ahead in the upcoming days of racing, with the impending arrival of champion filly Songbird for the Coaching Club American Oaks, a rematch between the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes winners Exaggerator and Creator in the Jim Dandy, and the return of my favorite Chilean filly Dacita in the Diana.

To kick things off, here’s a wee glimpse down memory lane at the Saratoga season of last year…

The Beginning of the End

Studying abroad in Chile was 4 months well spent

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Museo Fonck, where it all began

My final 12 days in Chile were fast and furious, so much so that I promptly came down with the flu the day I returned home to the States. Thankfully, my body held off just long enough for me to pack several weeks’ worth of adventuring into a matter of days.

I didn’t travel nearly as much as some students during my 4 months in Chile. I have friends who went to Argentina, Brazil, Patagonia, San Pedro and a number of other locations within Chile. While I would love to have seen other South American countries, I had my own list of adventures that I partook in. And I don’t feel at all like I missed out, for I had my own motives for choosing each particular adventure. Continue reading

San Pedro de Atacama — A world of its own

Spending a weekend in one of the most famous deserts on the planet

Okay so I’ll admit, I’m already home from Chile. I’ll also admit that I’m waaaaay behind on blogging. Because of that, I’m only going to write a couple more blogs about my experiences in Chile. I can’t sign off without telling you about my trip to San Pedro de Atacama, as well as a few other adventures with my mom when she came to visit. Then I’ll write a final wrap-up about what I learned and suggestions I have for fellow travelers and study-abroaders. Because summer is here and Saratoga is only a few weeks away, so my content is going to shift from travels in Chile to horse racing!

When I left for Chile, I was dead-set that I didn’t want my parents coming to visit. I thought that I was more than capable of putting on my big girl pants and going without seeing them for the entirety of my 4-month study abroad.

But shortly after I arrived, I realized two things: Life is short, and although independence is important, you should always welcome a visit from your loved ones no matter where you are in the world. And secondly, I wanted to share my new life with others who would appreciate the quirky differences from my “regular” life. Namely my mother.

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Reunited  ❤

So my second-to-last week in Chile, my mom flew down for a visit. I probably looked like a paranoid crazy person as I waited for her at the Dunkin Donuts in the airport. Every few seconds I whipped my head around to see if she was approaching. And when I finally saw my tiny little momma pushing a cart with two enormous pink pocodotted suitcases (which I requested she bring to get all my stuff home), I jumped up with my tea in one hand and donut in the other, practically tripping over myself to give her a hug. I’ll even admit to crying just a little – my mom is my greatest cheer leader, most inspiring life coach, trustworthy therapist and closest friend, and I had missed her a lot. Continue reading

Bad computer. Good people.

Sometimes life gives you lemons, broken computers and untrustworthy characters…

After a nightmarish battle with my 6-year-old laptop, who decided to make me age a few years in a matter of days, today marks the end of my two-week blogging hiatus. Said hiatus can only be partially blamed on the absence of my laptop. In all honesty, I needed a bit of a break.

The week after the Clásico Club Hípico de Santiago was spent typing approximately 11,300 words. After transcribing interview notes, writing an article for thisishorseracing.com, finishing a lengthy blog, and then hammering through a 5-page (single spaced) paper for a class that makes watching paint dry sound fun, I was plumb tuckered out.

By Saturday, May 28th, I had almost everything finished aside from the school paper, the very last item on my list of writing subjects (the racing articles were obvious priorities). My computer had auto-updated to Windows 10 two days prior with little problem. I continued working on my laptop all day Friday, powering down in the evening to head out with friends. Continue reading

Clásico Club Hípico de Santiago

my first Horse racing Reporting experience abroad

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Mandatory “Directorio” balcony selfie

Before I even left for Chile, my parents made a request: that I don’t spend all of my time there at a racetrack. This didn’t mean not to spend any time. It was just their way of expressing the importance of going out and seeing the world beyond the smoky and character-filled confines of the racetrack. I have my entire life to visit tracks, and being that life is unpredictable, there’s no guarantee I’ll ever be back in Chile again after these four months.

However, aside from my mind-altering trip to Patagonia (comparing the two is like apples to oranges), I think I may have just taken part in one of the greatest opportunities that could have possibly presented itself during my entire study abroad experience.

Despite my parents’ warnings of spending too much time at the track, I probably researched more on racing in Chile above anything else before landing in the country. And I had a date written on my calendar…

May 22, 2016: Gran Premio Club Hípico de Santiago. Continue reading

Morning at a Racetrack in Chile

the Valparaiso Sporting Club – My favorite hidden gem in VIÑA DEL MAR

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The Puente Cancha entrance to the Valparaiso Sporting Club

If you aren’t actively looking for it, you’d hardly notice the wrought iron gates set in the graffiti-covered wall across from Puente Cancha in Viña del Mar, Chile. The wall, which parallels 1 Norte Street, shields the backside of the Valparaiso Sporting Club from the honking cars and smoking buses trying to deliver anxious people to work on their Wednesday morning.

Unless you poke your face through the bars of the gates, the only indication of a track on the other side is a sign emblazoned with a victorious racehorse and bold lettering, announcing in Spanish the dates of the 2-year-old Triple Crown Races.

A guard, seated in a small guard shack just inside, is expecting me. He motions me in as I push open the surprisingly heavy gate, leaving behind the raucous outside environment and entering into different world. A gray paved road stretches out before me, lined by trees and shedrows. Steaming horses covered with brightly colored sheets clatter up and down the drive as they’re cooled out by hot walkers. Continue reading