First off, welcome to Saturdays in the Spa, a blog dedicated to all things horse racing and all things Saratoga Springs, New York. My name is Kyle Levy, I’m a 22 year old alumni of the University of Florida and I currently work at Barstool Sports. Honestly, I’ve been thinking about starting something like this for a long ass time, but I guess this whole quarantine thing finally made me crack. Some background info – I grew up in Albany, New York (just 30 minutes south of Saratoga) as the youngest of five. As a child my family took plenty of day trips up to the track, which is without a doubt where my love for the sport began.
I’ll never forget those days…Picking a horse based off its name, number, or jockey, then watching my dad place the $2 win bet, sneaking the ticket to me just so I could hold it…I wish I could go back, because holy shit could you imagine what’d it’d be like to be on top of someone’s shoulders at the final stretch?! Literally one of the most annoying things nowadays is trying to watch a race at the rail on a crowded Saturday in the Spa, but nope, not when you’re a 6 year old on your dad’s shoulders…not even the owners can pay for that view. Priceless.
Anyways, as time went on, I began getting more and more interested in the sport of horse racing and by the time I was in high school I was looking to get up to the track with my friends as much as possible, but never found myself being able to consistently go. That changed in 2017, when my parents decided that they were planning on moving to Saratoga from Guilderland. While preparing to put our house in Guilderland on the market, they leased an apartment right off of Broadway and less than a mile and a half from the track. This was possibly the greatest news I had ever heard, and the minute I got back from college the spring of 2018…it was on. The spring was spent practically living in my parents apartment on the weekends, patiently awaiting the track season to begin while exploring all that Saratoga had to offer…AKA Caroline Street, ya know, this absolutely gorgeous strip of bars right off of Broadway?
But come July, when the ponies began racing, there was only one thing my friends and I cared about…This is when Saturdays in the Spa began.
Come January of 2019, my parents new home in Saratoga was completed and they had officially become Saratoga residents…Sadly, I once again had to wait until I came home from college again to get to experience it. That summer was almost an exact replica of the previous one, hell it was honestly 5x better just because I actually lived there and didn’t just have the apartment.
The one thing that always pissed me off about going to school down South was the fact that they started so damn early, meaning I’d always miss the last couple weeks of track season and Travers Day. Well, somehow, in August of 2019, just days before I was supposed to fly down to school, a god damn miracle happened. I was offered a job at Barstool Sports, the one place I had been wanting to work at for years (see image to the left). Not only did I just nail my dream job, I had extended my racing season by 3 more weeks and was finally able to get back to Saratoga for the Travers. So naturally, I accepted the job on the spot, and changed all of my classes to online so that I could still finish my degree while working at Barstool in NYC (and I did, congrats to me and my not-so-humble-brag).
Fast forward some 9 months and here we are. Corona came in, fucked everything up, and now each day I’m praying that we hear news of fans being allowed back at the track this summer. Because we’ve been working from home, I’m now back living with my parents in Saratoga and honestly I have absolutely no problem with it at all (besides having to pay for the god damn rent for my apartment in NYC that I haven’t seen in 3 months). But seriously, I live a little over a mile from the track and actually want to get more involved in horse racing as well as the city of Saratoga as much as possible over this summer. Hence – this website.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about this site we have here. What is it? What’s the point? What kind of content will be on it?
There’s a few things I want to do with the site. First and foremost, it’s a horse racing blog, but secondly its a blog with Saratoga-specific content. Each day, I plan on putting out my picks of the day, whether that be at Belmont, Churchill, or Saratoga, among others. Picks will vary and will usually include my analysis of each race and reasoning behind the decisions. Aside from daily picks, I plan on discussing various horse racing news and current events and giving my two cents on whatever the hell I have an opinion on. Now…to the Saratoga side of the blog. Since I’m living in Saratoga for the time being, it’ll be very easy to get way more involved with the town itself this summer. Restaurants, bars, events, festivals, the racino, or just flat out Saratoga news…If it’s interesting, I’ll probably put something up about it. It’s going to be one hell of a time becoming a true local here (I sound like such a dad and I LOVE IT).
This place is something else, it’s more than just a racetrack, and I can’t wait to explore the ins and outs of this historic city. Follow along for the journey, I promise you…it will be an interesting one.
TOMORROW: Belmont returns for its second week of racing, I’ll be posting my picks and analysis for the day so be on the lookout in the AM if you’re interested.