Mayor: It's the biggest day of our year

August 26, 2017 11:47 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Even if you didn't know there were six Grade 1 races, by the size of the crowd, and the level of enthusiasm, you knew something special was happening in Saratoga Springs on Saturday.

"This is obviously the biggest day of our year," said Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen, "Because of the publicity, and the quality of racing, people come from all over the country, and now the world. We're becoming more of an international city than ever before."

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The Travers is to Saratoga Springs what the Times Square ball drop is to New York City, both of them that electrify the crowd. The Travers epitomizes the unique character of the community, and establishes Saratoga Springs, at least for this one day, as the center of the thoroughbred universe.

It also helps that for the first time since 1982, all three Triple Crown winners were in town, competing in the Mid Summer Derby.

"It makes it exciting," said Joe Weiglohofer, of Albany. "It's definitely a draw. It's exciting to see the big players here."

When the racing ends, the spotlight shines on the city's nightlife: drinks at Siro's, a stroll along Broadway, or perhaps dinner at a sidewalk cafe.

"It (the crowd size) was a little light during the day," said Kevin Cleveland, Regional Manager of Burger Fi, "Tonight it was pretty much what we expected."

Crosstown there was a Luke Bryant concert at SPAC. People who avoided that crowd were immersing themselves in the vibrancy of Saratoga's night life.

"It's so relaxing, it's a different frame of mind," Joseph Gioia of Brooklyn. "We've been (coming to Saratoga) so long and we see the transformation. You come here and after two or three days you lose your New York (feeling) temporarily. Unfortunately we have to go back.


Dan Levy

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