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Thursday, 18 June 2015 13:41

Community Sports Bulletin

Saratoga Wilton Soccer Club Tryouts

The Saratoga Wilton Soccer Club will hold team placement and tryouts at the following dates and times: Monday, June 22: U8/10 girls, 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Chaz Dake Fields, U11/12 girls 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Gavin Park, U8/10 boys 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Gavin Park and U17/18 boys 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Gavin Park. Tuesday, June 23: U13/14 girls and also U17/18 girls, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Gavin Park. Thursday, June 25: U15/16 girls, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Gavin Park, U15/16 boys, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Gavin Park. Friday, June 26: U11/12 boys, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Gavin Park, U13/14 boys, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Gavin Park. Visit swycs.net for more information.


FTFA Soccer Open House

FTFA Soccer Saratoga is holding their 2015-16 season Open House at the Saratoga Independent School on June 22 and 25. If you're looking for a competitive, premier soccer environment without having to pay the premier price tag FTFA may be the program for your son. FTFA Soccer Saratoga is led by Saratoga Springs boys’ soccer Coach Jeff Geller along with Skidmore College assistant coach Keith Simons. The U8s are from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., U10s are from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and U12s are 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.ftfasoccer.com


Blue Streak Boys Basketball Camp

The camp, held July 13 to 17 at Maple Avenue Middle School, will focus on fundamentals and work to develop shooting skills, defense and other fundamentals of the game. Cost is $125 per player.

Session 1, for boys in grades 3 through 6, will be from 8 to 11 a.m., while grades 7 through 10 will go from noon to 3 p.m. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



1k and 5k Run at Gavin Park

Come join Friends of Wilton Recreation for a 1k or 5k walk/run at the Town of Wilton’s ParkFest 2015 on Saturday, July 11. The 1k begins at 9:15 a.m. for kids 10 and under, with prizes for all participants. The 5k begins at 8 a.m. for ages 11 and up, with t-shirts for all participants and prizes for top finishers in each age group. Cost to participate is $5 for the 1k or $20 for the 5k.  For more information and to register, visit www.friendsofwiltonrec.com.


Saratoga Springs Booster Club Field Hockey Camp

The Saratoga Springs Booster Club will be hosting its annual field hockey camp beginning on June 29 and ending July 3 at Dorothy Nolan School from 8 to 11 a.m. each day. The program is open to third through 12th graders. No experience needed. The camp includes extensive individual instruction along with daily participation in game situations. The goal is to teach the fundamentals of field hockey, while ensuring that each player leaves the camp with a new appreciation for the game. The camp brochure can be downloaded from the Booster Club’s website at www.eteamz.com/Saratogafieldhockey1. Registration is now open and the cost is $67. For more information please contact Jo-Anne Hostig, Saratoga head field hockey coach at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Firecracker Road Race

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The Firecracker 4 road race in Saratoga Springs on July 4th expects 4,000 runners this year. The race’s presenting sponsor, Fleet Feet Sports/Asics, will host free training runs in June to help runners of all ability levels to prepare. Training runs will leave from Fleet Feet Sports two stores in Albany (155 Wolf Road, at Metro Park Road) and Malta (37 Kendall Way, The Shops of Malta) on Wednesday evenings, June 17 and June 24, at 6 p.m. A rehearsal run of the four-mile Firecracker 4 course is set for Saturday morning, June 27 at 8 a.m. starting in front of the City Center, 522 Broadway, downtown Saratoga.

The Saratoga Springs High School baseball team should hold its collective head as high as it can, smile and bask in the glory of a second place finish.

Wait. What?

The Blue Streaks made their way to Endicott last weekend to compete for the state championship, entering the semifinal game as an underdog with not much to lose. They ended up eliminating Orchard Park in that game in nine innings to advance to the title tilt against Mamaroneck, where they were defeated 9-2. It was Mamaroneck’s third state title in the last eight years.

There aren’t any moral victories in sports, but what Saratoga did is as close to one as I have ever seen or heard about. Not only was the team an underdog heading into the tournament, but the Streaks have had quite a roller coaster season.

In May it was announced that coach Dean Bailey was being relieved of his coaching duties for violating school policy, and that assistant coach Rich Lofink would take over. For anyone who has ever played a team sport at the high school level or higher, you know that it’s not at all easy to deal with such circumstances.

It wasn’t an issue for Saratoga. The athletes on the team all seem to have a professional quality about them, as they were able to handle the dismissal in stride and not be affected and have their season unravel.

Saratoga also had an eight-game winning streak at one point, and its offense exploded for at least 10 runs during each of the games. However, the Blue Streaks dropped three of their final four regular season games heading into the Section II tournament, which for most teams would have been the worst possible time for that to happen.

To make matters even more difficult, stud starting pitcher Danny Hobbs took a line drive off his eye in the 1-0 win over Shenendehowa in the sectional final, making his status moving forward in doubt. It was Saratoga’s first title since 1995. After doctors gave him protective eyewear, Hobbs was able to come back and pitch admirably throughout the state tournament.

Lofink told me prior to the state semifinal that Saratoga had nothing to lose. The Blue Streaks certainly played that way, displaying a fearless style against an Orchard Park team that entered the game with just one loss.

For a squad that was eliminated in the first round of the 2014 Section II tournament, this season’s state runner-up marking displays a marked improvement. The guys on the team all believe in themselves and their teammates, which makes the Blue Streaks a scary team for opponents heading into 2016.

Saratoga took the good with the bad, banded together and made its mark as one of the best teams the school has ever seen. The 2015 Blue Streaks are probably the best baseball team in the school’s history, and they overcame a lot of adversity to get to that point.

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So for all they endured, the Blue Streaks can consider a season-ending loss to be a gigantic victory for a team that never once quit.

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The 38th Annual Freihofer’s Jazz Fest at Saratoga Performing Arts Center features an eclectic lineup that spans far outside the world of contemporary jazz, and organizers wouldn’t have it any other way.

On June 27 and 28, two stages will feature 24 acts that Danny Melnick, president of Absolutely Live Entertainment which puts on the festival, said is one of the most diverse in the festival’s history.

“There’s a bit of everything,” he said. “Rather than making a lineup and saying, ‘this is what jazz is,’ we thought of a list of artists that go throughout the genre and beyond. I am into a lot of types of music, and I love that we have jazz, Latin, reggae, big band, rhythm and blues, gypsy.”

Saturday’s headliner of the Amphitheater Stage is Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, a funk and soul group that has been around since the 1970s. Maze last played Jazz Fest in 1992. The group has a lot of selling power, as they are playing the Hampton Jazz Fest the following weekend, before being one of the headliners of Essence Fest down in Louisiana.

“They are one of the most successful soul R and B bands ever,” Melnick said. “They don’t get up here very often, but they’re a fun and phenomenal group that shouldn’t be missed.”

Also part of the main stage on Saturday is Cassandra Wilson, who will be celebrating the music of Billie Holiday, the Al Di Meola Electric Band, Christian McBride Big Band, Pedrito Martinez Group, Monty Alexander’s Harlem-Kingston Express and Theo Croker, who will also perform on the Gazebo Stage.

At the Gazebo Stage features Mike LeDonne Groover Quartet featuring Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein and Joe Farnsworth, Dutchess featuring Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou, Steve Wilson Wilsonian’s Grian featuring Orrin Evans, Ugonna Okegwo and Bill Stewart and Omer Avital Quintet.

“Dutchess is an all-female vocal group, and they’re incredible,” Melnick added. “They are a talented three-part harmony and the cool thing is that they’re not cheesy at all. They’re true to the art form.”

The main stage on Sunday features Sheila E., Erykah Badu, Snarky Puppy, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, Heads of State, Django Festival All-Stars and Etienne Charles.

If you only see one band all weekend, this writer will recommend Snarky Puppy, a funk fusion outfit that will have you dancing from start to finish. They are so diverse that they play jam band festivals, rock festivals and others.

“They have a No. 1-album and are a very talented group,” Melnick said. They are touring all over, and are playing the Newport Jazz Festival. They’re quite relevant.”

The Gazebo Stage on Sunday features Sonny Knight and the Lakers, Etienne Charles, Benny Green Trio, Kellylee Evans and the Yosvany Quartet.

Melnick said that there’s no other place that Jazz Fest should be.

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“It was voted the best outdoor venue in the country by USA Today,” he said. “It’s in its 38th year and people come from all over to chill out for a weekend and have a good time with the music. We try to throw a good party and let people have a great time.”

Thursday, 11 June 2015 13:01

Saratoga National Little League Scores

Saratoga National Little League Scores




I Love NY Pizza


Gateway Dermatology



Bryan Camaj completed a no-hitter for I Love NY Pizza with 17 strikeouts and one walk.  Bryan hit for two singles, along with one from Michael Karpinski.


Crest Care





Stephen Beebe pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing just two hits for Crest Care.  Shaun Taber was 2 for 2, driving in 3 runs.  Jack Krotow and Jack Marquette both made great plays in the field.  Stephen Beebe, Joe Gold and Jack Staszak turned an exciting double play.  Joseph Mabus was closing pitcher.




Gateway Dermatology



For PBA, Evan Toman was 2 for 3 with a run scored, and struck out the side in his only inning pitched.  Tobias Selkis, Thomas Przedwiecki and Cooper Harris also pitched for PBA.


Crest Care


I Love NY Pizza



Hunter Chandler has two doubles for I Love NY Pizza.  Bryan Camaj had one RBI.  Hunter Chandler, Michael Karpinski, James Capone and Chase Corbett pitched.







Saratoga Strategic Partners



Hutton Snyder, Louis Betit and Orion Lansing pitched for the Elks.


Chris Youngs hit a walk off two-run homerun for Saratoga Strategic Partners.


Saratoga Firefighters





For Saratoga Firefighters, Luke Brhynezko went 2 for 2 with a homerun.


Owen Redick went 3 for 3 with a grand slam for the Elks.  Orion Lansing and Thomas McNamara pitched.


Carr Hughes


Saratoga Strategic Partners



Luke Rupp hit an inside-the-park homerun for Saratoga Strategic Partners.  DJ Stallmer, Mateo Avila and Chris Youngs pitched.


Kelevra Krav Maga #1





Jack Ragle, Braden Crowley, Carter Vaughn and Michael Mack pitched for KKM.


For the Elks, Louis Betit went 3 for 3 with 2 doubles.  Gavin Verral went 2 for 3 with 4 RBIs.  Hutton Snyder gave up just 1 earned run in 3 solid innings.  Hutton Snyder, Owen Redick and Thomas McNamara pitched.


Saratoga Strategic Partners


Saratoga Firefighters



Mateo Avila pitched four innings with no hits for Saratoga Strategic Partners.  Leydon Hemsworth had two hits.




Saratoga Firefighters



For the Elks, Noah Robinson went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI.  Louis Betit went 4 for 4 with an RBI.  Trevor Duthaler, Orion Lansing and Louis Betit pitched.


Kelevra Krav Maga #1


Carr-Hughes Carr Hughes Carr Hughes



Louis Longobardo went 2 for 2 with a single and a double for Carr-Hughes.  Joey Barreto also went 2 for 2 with two RBI and a walk.  Holden Johnson and Matthew Salway pitched.


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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Most people who grew up in the region are at least familiar with horse racing, as the Saratoga Race Course is a local institution.

Some people go from casual fan to astute observer, while others, like Paul O’Neil, fall in love and get involved in the game. O’Neil, along with his wife of 32 years, Patricia, went on their first date together to the harness track in 1983, fell in love, got married and became standardbred owners in 1992. Since then, O’Neil estimates, the couple have owned more than 100 horses and have won somewhere around 500 races.

“My wife married into it,” he said. “We met, and I asked her out on a date to the harness track the next night and she said yes. That night, she told me she really liked it, and that’s when I knew she was a keeper.”

O’Neil is the general manager for four Agway stores, while his wife is retired. The pair spends much of their free time watching any of their 10 current horses race at Saratoga, and also preparing and gathering information about horses they might purchase at auctions.

O’Neil has become a fan of all horse racing in general.

“I am a fan of both (standardbred and thoroughbred) breeds,” he said. “We love going to both races together and my father, he was a fan, too. I grew up in Valatie, where a lot of people own horses, and my dad used to take us to the races occasionally. I even met one of my best friends through being an owner.”

Currently, O’Neil uses Dan Hennessey and Gary Levine as trainers for his horses. While some owners take a hands-on approach, O’Neil said he tries to stay out of day-to-day operations.

“Our trainers, they’re the pros,” he said. “We want them to conduct it how they see fit, that’s the deal. If something happens and we have to call a plumber, I don’t watch over his shoulder and suggest things he should do.”

On Friday evening at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, O’Neil and his wife have a horse named Godiva Feelster entered into an $18,000 purse open race, which he described as a “big deal.”

If his horse should win, he and his wife will earn half of the money, meaning they’d take home $9,000.

O’Neil said the camaraderie he feels when hanging with his group of owner friends at the track is a big part of why he loves the whole aspect of being an owner. He also added that his sense is that the local community knows just how much of an asset horse racing of all kinds is here.

“We all have a friendly rivalry,” he said. “Obviously we all want to win, but we get together and support each other. It’s a real good time.”

O’Neil said that if he had to give advice to anyone considering getting into standardbred ownership, it’s that they should speak to and get to know someone in the business.

But that’s not the only advice.

“You cannot have a fear of disaster,” he said. “You can’t be afraid to lose money, because that can happen. But really, you need to get a pro involved, because someone who knows the business is going to be the best help to you. I was once told by someone in the know that you have to stick with it. It’s a sport that is all peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys.”


Hall of Fame Inductions

Kelly’s Noah, a bay colt by Dream Away out of Canaco Kelly, was has been inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, along with Dr. Richard Frank.

Kelly’s Noah was foaled in 2006 at the Harvey family farm in Duxbury, Vt.  Owner/Trainer Jim Harvey works the talented gelding on his farm track, starting each year in March or April, as weather permits, patiently training him down for the his first Saratoga start in mid-June.

Dr. Frank was raised in Goshen. He attributes growing up near the Goshen Historic Track and what is now the National Harness Hall of Fame, helping to develop his interest in horses at a young age.

He graduated from Cornell University in 1963 and started practicing as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. Early in his career a good deal of his work was at nearby Monticello Raceway. He was introduced to Saratoga as his clients would race here while Monticello was on break, and in the off season.

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Thursday, 11 June 2015 12:51

Community Sports Bulletin

1k and 5k Run at Gavin Park

Come join Friends of Wilton Recreation for a 1k or 5k walk/run at the Town of Wilton’s ParkFest 2015 on Saturday, July 11. The 1k begins at 9:15 a.m. for kids 10 and under, with prizes for all participants. The 5k begins at 8 a.m. for ages 11 and up, with t-shirts for all participants and prizes for top finishers in each age group. Cost to participate is $5 for the 1k or $20 for the 5k.  For more information and to register, visit www.friendsofwiltonrec.com.


Saratoga Springs Booster Club Field Hockey Camp

The Saratoga Springs Booster Club will be hosting its annual field hockey camp beginning on June 29 and ending July 3 at Dorothy Nolan School from 8 to 11 a.m. each day. The program is open to third through 12th graders. No experience needed. The camp includes extensive individual instruction along with daily participation in game situations. The goal is to teach the fundamentals of field hockey, while ensuring that each player leaves the camp with a new appreciation for the game. The camp brochure can be downloaded from the Booster Club’s website at www.eteamz.com/Saratogafieldhockey1. Registration is now open and the cost is $67. For more information please contact Jo-Anne Hostig, Saratoga head field hockey coach at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Saratoga Bike Party

Henry Street business owners are ramping up for the city’s first ever Bike Party event on June 21, from noon to 4 p.m. It will feature an adult big wheel race, a kids bicycle parade, bike decoration contest and exhibit, bicycle stunts and tricks, live surf rock music, food, beverages of all kinds, vending and more.

This year the event is on Father’s Day and seeks to attract fathers, families and bike enthusiasts alike. A street closure will take place on Henry Street between Lake Avenue and Caroline Street to accommodate the 5,000 people expected to share in the fun.

Registration for the adult big wheel race is now open and those interested in participating may register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/henry-street-bike-party-big-wheel-race-registration-tickets-17059247669               

Prizes will be awarded to top finishers.

More activities and events will be updated on the event’s website at www.henrystreetbikeparty.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HenryStBikeParty



Summer 2015 Programs and Clinics.

The Saratoga Springs Recreation Department is offering an extensive and varied list of programs and clinics for this summer. Choose from boys and girls basketball, volleyball, baseball, field hockey, tennis, boys and girls lacrosse, soccer, cheerleading, skate park, softball, track, running, sandlot baseball, flag football and ice skating lessons. For detailed information and to download forms visit us at saratogarec.com. Sign up at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center at 15 Vanderbilt Avenue Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Questions, 587-3550 ext. 2300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Blue Streak Boys Basketball Camp

The camp, held July 13 to 17 at Maple Avenue Middle School, will focus on fundamentals and work to develop shooting skills, defense and other fundamentals of the game. Cost is $125 per player.

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Session 1, for boys in grades 3 through 6, will be from 8 to 11 a.m., while grades 7 through 10 will go from noon to 3 p.m. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Springs High School baseball squad will look you right in the eyes and tell you that there’s no pressure heading into the Blue Streak’s state semifinal game against Orchard Park on Saturday.

That’s because they’re playing with house money right now. After running through the Section II tournament to become champions, Saratoga, a team that was eliminated in the second round of the section tournament in 2014, didn’t expect to be here.

“The pressure is on them, because no one thought we’d get this far,” Blue Streaks coach Rich Lofink said on Wednesday, just prior to Saratoga’s scrimmage with Queensbury at East Side Recreational Park. “We get to go in there and just play our game. They’re the 22-1 team.”

The game will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Union-Endicott. The winner of the game will take on the winner of Connetquot against Mamaroneck game for the New York State Championship.

It will be a great win on many levels if the Streaks can pull it out on Saturday, especially considering the coaching change they went through in mid-May, when Dean Bailey was relieved of his coaching duties for violating the Saratoga coaching handbook. Lofink, an assistant at the time, was put in the role of head coach.

“It was a personnel decision,” Lofink said.

You also need to consider the injury suffered by starting pitcher Danny Hobbs in Saratoga’s 1-0 victory over Shenendehowa on June 3 in the Section II Class AA championship game. Hobbs took a line drive to his right eye in the fourth inning, but he still stayed in the game and pitched another inning.

Lofink said myriad doctors cleared Hobbs to play. Hobbs, however, has to wear protective eye gear until doctors clear him fully.

“After the game, I wondered to myself if I’d be the same pitcher after getting hit,” Hobbs said. “But then it went away, stopped crossing my mind. I moved on from it, I don’t think it will be an issue at all. I have had a week to practice with it and get used to it.”

Orchard Park, out of the Buffalo area, won the Section VI championship, and has lost just once on the year. Lofink said he’s heard they have one righty and one lefty pitcher who are both very good, but beyond that, he doesn’t have a dense scouting report.

“It’s a clean slate when you’re playing a team you’ve never faced,” he said. “You don’t know how they play, but they also don’t know you at all, so it’s a toss up.”

During the season, Saratoga went on an eight-game winning streak, scoring at least 10 runs in each game. They finished the season losing three of their last four, before upending heavy favorite Shen in the sectional final.

Cory McArthur, the burly right-hander, is the team’s closer, and Lofink said the combination of Hobbs and McArthur make Saratoga a really dangerous team. Hobbs throws in the mid-80s, while McArthur has three pitches he can throw for strikes.

Offensively, the Blue Streaks like to play small ball.

“If we get someone on second, we are tough,” he said. “Our guys are great at moving runners over, and we steal a ton of bases. We make it difficult for other teams by playing this way.”

When asked how many runs he thinks it will take to win on Saturday, Lofink said that five is the magic number.

“We are playing teams with really good pitching, and we have solid pitching. You’re not going to see an offensive explosion,” he said. “No one thought after we scored in the first against Shen that it would hold up, but it did.”

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The last time the Streaks won the sectional crown was in 1995.

Friday, 05 June 2015 15:39

Freihofer’s Run for Women Results

At right is a  list of Saratoga County finishers from Saturday’s 37th annual Freihofer’s Run for Women that was won by Emily Chebet, of Kenya, in a time of 15:38.  

A field of 3,807 elite and recreational runners from 20 states and 22 nations took part in the event, which was run on a new course that started and finished adjacent to the New York State Capitol.

Hannah Davidson, a former standout at Saratoga High School who went on to run competitively at Providence College, placed 16th overall (4th American finisher) with a time of 16:52.


18:15PezzuloMolly22Saratoga Springs

18:19LloydSylvie28Clifton Park

18:46ScottEva16Burnt Hills

19:19MontroseJessy28Ballston Lake

19:20LopezErin34Saratoga Springs

19:25QuaresimoKristen30Ballston Lake

19:35ZebrowskiAlana13Saratoga Springs

19:38MorinMegan13Greenfield Center

19:45JordanKristen19Clifton Park

19:56CaseyJordan18Ballston Lake

20:00CareyErin17Saratoga Springs

20:19Von AhnHunter14Saratoga Springs

20:35ScottAlexis18Burnt Hills

20:37BleichertDominica18Clifton Park

20:38BensonAnne50Clifton Park


20:44TookerMadeline15Saratoga Springs

21:00HertikHannah15Greenfield Center

21:02MaddaloneElise14Clifton Park

21:02CzechAnna15Saratoga Springs

21:19BenniceJennifer36Ballston Lake

21:20JacksonBriella13Saratoga Springs

21:20PeckTara20Saratoga Springs

21:22MaslowskyDanielle36Ballston Lake


21:44VetterCarley15Greenfield Center

21:46MilanoCarrie43Clifton Park

21:53NieradkaLisa50Clifton Park


21:58DausmanAlyssa24Saratoga Springs

21:58PhamVi26Saratoga Springs

22:11LisElizabeth37Saratoga Springs

22:13McBeeSamantha29Saratoga Springs

22:13NarkHeidi34Clifton Park

22:17HislopKristen50Clifton Park

22:27BouzidiThiziri13Clifton Park

22:28RossKait25Saratoga Springs

22:30FentonMary49Ballston Spa


22:38RyanMcKenzie14Clifton Park

22:42JordanTherese52Clifton Park



23:25FestinMadeleine14Clifton Park

23:26FitzgeraldMaureen57Clifton Park


23:32HungerfordMeredith19Saratoga Springs

23:36PezzuloErin50Saratoga Springs

23:39DamicoRenee43Ballston Spa

23:41HanceTheresa52Ballston Lake


24:00WrightWhitney14Ballston Spa

24:01ReederCasey15Saratoga Springs

24:08HorstSusan34Saratoga Springs


24:20KelleyPaddy48Saratoga Springs




24:37Bach-LloydErin43Saratoga Springs

24:38HermanDenise59Saratoga Springs

24:46RodakAmy42Ballston Spa

24:47HarrisLori Anne51Clifton Park

24:48HungerfordShannon48Saratoga Springs

24:56ShermanTracy37Saratoga Springs

24:58DoreJudith45Saratoga Springs

25:25BaranovaAlevtina36Clifton Park

25:28ScaringeLisa46Clifton Park

25:31WeissmanAmy32Ballston Spa

25:36McCormackShannon21Clifton Park

25:42BarrettJessica36Saratoga Springs

25:42LebarronRachel20Ballston Spa

25:47McCloyAnne29Saratoga Spring

25:50VanasdaleElizabeth24Greenfield Center

25:52LassetterLindsay15Clifton Park



26:07MonroeJody41Ballston Lake

26:12ZitoMeghan37Ballston Spa

26:16DrakeJoanne48Clifton Park

26:17HolzmanGrace15Burnt Hills


26:24LitynskiCarolyn49Burnt Hills

26:29PickettMarilyn49Clifton Park

26:39HummelBreanna16Saratoga Springs

26:40GoodrichAmber24Clifton Park

26:50HermansSandra37Saratoga Springs



SARATOGA SPRINGS – Mickey and Cheryl McGivern met by chance at a seminar for people looking to buy horses in 1985. Together ever since, the couple has built quite a life training and driving harness horses at Saratoga and all over New York.

Mickey drove his first horse in 1977 but grew up with a father who owned standardbred horses as a hobby. Cheryl went to the seminar in 1985 – Mickey was giving the conference -- as the guest of a friend, and she ended up becoming interested in the sport.

“While there, I learned about the sport and ended up purchasing a horse,” Cheryl said. “And Mickey was the trainer, so that’s how we got to know each other.”

Since then, the couple has had a successful career owning and training their horses, and customers’ horses, at their stable, McGivern Racing, located at the harness track. Cheryl said she became intrigued with the athleticism of the horses and finds it exciting to see a baby horse mature into a racing horse.

Mickey, on the other hand, is a trainer and driver, something that has become rare in the sport today. Years ago, he said, pulling both duties was the norm, but not so much anymore as the sport and its purses have grown it into a big business.

“I guess it’s a throwback to those days, yeah,” he said. “I still do both because I think it really helps the younger horses, to have someone who knows them well.”

The couple has three boys, two of whom grew up helping around the stable. Mickey said his middle son “didn’t take to the sport” as much as the other two.

Their days are long and sometimes tiresome. Cheryl said they have to feed the 14 horses in their stable breakfast at 5:30 a.m., before cleaning their stalls. Around 8 a.m., the horses go out for their morning jogs or a full-on training session, depending on the horse’s schedule.

Fun fact: The horses go the wrong way on the track when out jogging, and the right way when training.

“It helps them develop a mindset,” Cheryl said. “This way, they’ll know that when they get out on the track and go the right way, they need to be aggressive.”

After the horses workout, they get a bath and are allowed some time to calm down and relax, before being fed lunch around 1 p.m. From there, the horses are brought back to the stable, where a team of people address any issues the horses might have.

“Some have hooves issues, some have feet issues,” she said. “We have a wonderful team that takes care of them, and we couldn’t do this without them.”

On days where they have horses running, the McGiverns often do not get home until after 8 p.m., making for a very long day.

“I love it,” Mickey said. “I still get juiced up every time. I am very happy to get to do what I do. I am blessed.”

As a driver, Mickey won 12 races in 2014, while finishing second 14 times. He finished in the money 36 times out of 162 starts in 2013; 74 out of 258 in 2012 and 50 out of 172 in 2011.

Though he’s been at it for a long time, Mickey said he has no plans of stopping any time soon.

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“It’s really hard to say as a driver, because I enjoy it so much,” he said. “Maybe one day I will slow down a but, but I don’t see myself stopping.”

In my 40-plus years as a coach I have just about heard every excuse in the book, an overuse of the blame game, if you will.  Things are said like: "If it wasn't for so and so, I could have been a really good player."  I know that there have been stones thrown in my direction and generally speaking they got back to me.


Negative statements most often go where people don't want them to end up.


I have memories of students who I cut during basketball tryouts, and let me tell you, it is one of the most difficult aspects of coaching. These memories don't go away, but believe me when I say they don't haunt me.  I can recall the girlfriend of a boy that I had cut was walking in the hall between classes and shouts out to me, "You don't know anything about basketball because you cut the best player."  I do remember the kid who was cut, but not his name, and he was a decent player but he wasn't the better than any of the 15 I kept. And keeping 15 players is a form of suicide for a basketball coach, because it's difficult to keep everyone happy with playing time.


I have had my share of critics, as most coaches do, that have said things about me. This is a scenario that comes with the job because there will always be those who second guess the coach. In many cases it wasn't usually about coaching strategy, usually it was about someone's son or daughter not playing. Speaking from a parents' point of view and their judgment, I understand the majority of parents have blinders on when it comes to their own children.  I also can forgive them for any slang or profanity that was used against me.  Again, when you coach you must develop a thick skin and with the knowledge that you are a perpetual target.


When I go to a game now as a spectator, no matter the sport, I get to sit in the stands and hear what an old friend of mine called the 50-Cent Coaches who criticize the coach.  These people with 20/20 hindsight, because they are always right after the fact.  If you don't believe me, just ask them.  I do understand that part of the fan base for any team from the stands is also part of the game because they're into the action.


Then there are the war stories from the Over-the-Hill Gang who love to criticize the coach and/or the players.  When they played, they did this or that, or, our old coach was so much better than this coach.  When I was in my early years at Saratoga as a junior varsity coach in 1972-73, I was fortunate enough to have a great bunch of kids who I eventually coached as the varsity coach in 1974-75.  The people of Saratoga were generally very complimentary about what I did as a basketball coach. The students were my biggest fans and I really appreciated that.  My first year as Saratoga's varsity coach, the student fans came from the stands down onto the floor and carried me off on their shoulders after beating rival Glens Falls on the road for the first time in years.


Even with those accolades of victory there were some stones thrown in my direction from some adults who were unhappy with the playing time of their children.  As a young and maturing coach I developed a wall of defense against my critics. It is often referred to the growth of thick skin. This posture began in Granville, where I taught art and coached varsity basketball when a player's parents accused me of being intoxicated during a game. It just happened to be a game where I did not start their son who originally was on the starting five. From what I understand he is now in his 50s and still holds a grudge against me. Really? Looking back, he lacked quickness and speed, so I started a teammate over him who was also very athletic, but I really had to do something to create some strategy changes to fire up the team. At the end of that game, the player who lost his starting position but did play, turned in his uniform and quit.  He not only quit the team, but also quit on himself. That Monday the superintendent called me in about the accusations that were made about my sobriety the night of that game. He was supportive of me and understood that I did no such thing, but told me to be aware of what comes with the job. This form of character assassination, telling a lie or making an assumption about someone to get even, is a sad statement on human nature. The athlete was a good kid and I felt bad about what evolved from that situation, but coaches make decisions and I didn't throw him off the team, he quit.


That interaction was an eye opener for me, and so I began to develop the attitude that if I wanted to keep coaching I must learn to keep my head up and watch my step. Coaching is like walking on thin ice -- you have to have the understanding that each step you take needs to be nimble and fairly accurate.  Over the years, I developed the philosophy that communication with the players and parents is a requirement of the job most of the time. The explanation of why is a necessity and why decisions are made is relevant. The players and their parents need to be given heads up on choices being made. To be redundant here, the new millennium in the world of coaching has evolved with an essential practice of communication and truth as a necessary part of what justifies choices made by a coach. It used to be a Cardinal Sin to question the coach, but in the fairness of it all, there has to be transparency and openness in the approach to having answers for the questions. 


I forgive my critics, and there are times I would like to say I'm sorry for doing my job. But, coaching involves making decisions not everyone will like or agree with, that's the nature of it. To the player and parent: Accept and understand but don't let it control your demeanor and change your life. 


I don't carry a grudge because it's not my nature. I refuse to let it become a part of my thinking. To this end, I share a couple of Native American sayings:  "Don't let anyone or anything steal your energy" and, one of the most well-known Native American sayings, "Don't judge a man (or woman), until you have walked a mile in (his or her) shoes."

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  • Saratoga County Court  Sara N. Babinski, 35, of Schuylerville, was sentenced to 3 months incarceration/ 5 years probation, after pleading to felony DWAI, charged January 2024 in Saratoga Springs.  Thomas R. McCall, 35, of Rensselaer, pleaded to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, in connection with a March 2024 incident in Saratoga Springs, when city police initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle on South Broadway and located a Magnum .357 revolver with ammunition underneath the driver’s seat, according to a statement by Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. Further investigation determined that the firearm belonged to the defendant,…

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