I just read about the travel nightmare my good friend Andrew Champagne went through on his way to Saratoga yesterday and it got me to thinking about how this became a yearly trip for me. July 2019 was the first time I ever took a vacation solely to go to the track. Before then, I had gone to Arlington Park (RIP) a few times, but I had never been to another track let alone taken an overnight trip to one. The 2019 Kentucky Oaks gave me my biggest score to date and I used a chunk of it to buy myself a nice bottle of whiskey and a vacation to Saratoga. While the Redbreast 12 I bought for about $65 at Target was a huge letdown, my first trip to Saratoga was great. I met Mark for the first time “in-person” and that trip became the catalyst for a great friendship and On The Wrong Lead. I did a lot of losing on track, but meeting Discord friends for the first time while being in such a great horse racing environment was worth the price of admission. There’s negativity surrounding Saratoga and its commercialization and it begs the question, “Is Saratoga still the track of the everyman?” Has Saratoga turned into the NHC of tracks where the real attraction isn’t the event, but meeting with friends? Influencers and Instagrammers helped create the 1863 Club and Paddock Tower of Terror, has this destroyed the charm of Saratoga? I’m a hobbyist content creator so maybe I’m part of the problem. Only time will tell what will become of the much beloved track. What I do know is, I can’t wait to get to the track and pop the first Heady Topper of the week with my friends and will be doing this at least once a summer for the foreseeable future. See everyone on track on Wednesday!