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A Dreamlike Summer Obscures Trouble in the ‘Sport of Kings’

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The man who was once the most famous sportswriter in America is said to have uttered the most famous words about this town and racetrack. How do you get to Saratoga, Red Smith was asked?

“From New York City you drive north for about 175 miles, turn left on Union Avenue, and go back 100 years,” he purportedly said.

This description of what is thought to be America’s oldest sports venue still holds up. Morning sunshine breaks through a canopy of pine trees on the jogging paths of Clare Court, bathing the horses and riders in sepia.