The Army of Northern Virginia was still licking its wounds after Gettysburg when, 100 years ago this week, Thoroughbred racing began at Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. It was touch and go those days—most horses were off at the front themselves—but racing at Saratoga has calmly survived everything from Man o' War's only defeat to the razing of the United States Hotel, and the 1963 meeting will mark a centennial of serenity in the town of elm shade and mineral water. Not the richest and not the splashiest, Saratoga racing is the most satisfying. It is the one meeting that draws disciples of the sport from all over the U.S., one place where cordiality outweighs commercialism. Says Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons: "Saratoga gives racing a transfusion. Down below [in New York City] it's a different breed." Some of those responsible for maintaining the resort town's difference, its old-world, folk-art charm, are here portrayed by Artist Paul Davis, who has blended the people, their homes and their racing colors into a Saratoga gallery.
Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps of Long Island has raced her yellow and purple Wheatley Stable silks at Saratoga for 35 years her family has won 11 important slakes there in the past decade. In the background stand her son, Ogden, his wife, Lillian Bostwick Phipps, and their rented Saratoga summer house.
Virginian Howell Jackson (above, with his wife Dorothy) is a grandnephew of Confederate General Red Jackson, who owned Tennessee's famed stud farm, Belle Meade. The family's maroon colors go back to 1825 and are the country's oldest. Their Saratoga home is named Red Shoes, after a Jackson filly that won there.
Mrs. Charles Payson (she owns the Mets) and her brother Jock Whitney (he owns the Herald Tribune) jointly own Greentree Stable, inherited from their mother, Helen Hay Whitney. Mrs. Payson and Whitney hare summered in Saratoga since the early 1900s, and she still keeps her mother's clapboard home.
August 4, 1963
F. Skiddy von Stade (left) is past president of the Saratoga Association, and his family has been coming to their 90-year-old home for five generations—the steamboat that once brought patrons up from New York was named the Francis Skiddy. Pete Bostwick, Von Stade's son-in-law, is a leading steeplechase trainer.
Storied old homes and elegant landmarks dot racing Saratoga Springs, and a few of the best known are shown in this stylized interpretation by Burt Groedel: (1) the Ogden Phippses', (2) the former Chauncey Olcott house, (3) Mrs. Martha Ryan's, (4) Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords', (5) the Christopher T. Chenerys', (6) the James Cox Bradys', (7) the Howell Jacksons', (8) F. Skiddy von Stade's, (9) the Ralph G. Wilsons', (10) Mrs. Charles Payson's, (11) the National Museum of Racing, (12) the Reading Room, a private men's club, (13) campus of Skidmore College for women, (14) the John Hay (Jock) Whitneys', (15) the C.V. Whitneys', (16) the Gideon Putnam Hotel.