A week from today the Grade 3 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies will be wrapping up, bringing a close to the first day of the 2008 Saratoga meet.
It comes at a good time, as racing hits a lull at this moment in the season. For six weeks, horse racing springs to life again, but this time it is under a higher level of scrutiny.
In the coming week, I'll be writing a series of stories for The Saratogian, one of which will be dealing specifically with the "State of the Union." Only this will be the state of horse racing. I'll take a look at where racing is and where it seems to be heading. The sport is at a crossroads with the death of the great filly Eight Belles and the controversies swirling around the use of performance enhancers in the equine athlete.
As trite as it may sound, racing is truly at a fork in the road. One way will lead to the gradual re-building of its reputation and acceptance from a general public soured by drugs and destruction on the track. The other will undoubtedly lead to its continued revival, allowing these animals to showcase their innate athleticism on racing's greatest platforms.
Either way, the Saratoga season is one to embrace with the quality of animal that resides in its barns and the pageantry on display every morning and afternoon.
Hopefully we will not only see new life, but a conitinued renewal for months and months, and years and years.