Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Racecourse will return to the national stage this summer thanks to FOX’s “Saratoga Saturday” TV coverage. Starting Saturday, July 20, FOX will broadcast some of this season’s biggest races, including the Travers Stakes and the Whitney Stakes.

Below is the schedule for this year’s “Saratoga Saturday” program on FOX.

Saturday, July 20

5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Coaching Club American Oaks Stakes

Saturday, July 27

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Jim Dandy Stakes

Saturday, August 3

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Whitney Stakes

Saturday, August 10

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Fourstardave Handicap

Saturday, August 17

3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Alabama Stakes

Saturday, August 24

3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Travers Stakes

GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls Dragons, a collegiate baseball team with a number of players from Saratoga County, has had a rough start to the 2024 season. As of June 19, their record stood at 3-10-1. Despite this, a number of players have stood out for their individual performances.

Justin Gouveia, a sophomore outfielder, is hitting .313 with 4 doubles and a triple in 11 games. Cody Meier, also a sophomore, is batting .300 with 5 stolen bases. 

On the mound, southpaw starter Alfonso Lombardi has a 2.57 ERA across 14 innings, tallying 11 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Senior Orlando Leon has also impressed, with a 3.17 ERA in 11.1 innings.

Where the Dragons really seem to shine is on defense, where they have two players who rank within the top six league leaders in fielding percentage. Caden Bernardo, from Glenmont, New York, and Zowen Collins, from Cobleskill, both have a 1.000 fielding percentage on the year. Bernardo also has 46 putouts in 45 innings of play.

Elsewhere across the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL), East Greenbush native Zach Eldred has been doing his best Shohei Ohtani impression, hitting .367 and maintaining a 1.84 ERA in 3 starts. Reliever Jesse Kuzmich, from Greenwich, has a perfect 0.00 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 12 innings. And Troy’s Jacob Lapham has a 1.63 ERA and 16 K’s in 11 innings.

Another PGCBL team, the Amsterdam Mohawks, who were league champions in both 2023 and 2022, also feature a number players from the Saratoga region, including Zach Eldred (East Greenbush), Parker Aikens (Niskayuna), Manny Santos (Amsterdam), James Redick (Clifton Park), Mason Veronezi (Burnt Hills), and Ben Huckans (Amsterdam).

The Mohawks and Dragons will face off on Friday, June 21 at the East Field in Glens Falls at 7 p.m., and again on Saturday, June 29 at the Rao Family Stadium in Amsterdam at 6:35 p.m.

WILTON — When nine-year-old Catie Hoch was alive, she wanted other kids battling cancer to find ways to have fun. Shortly before she passed away, she made a list of her favorite “fun” places that other kids could go to. It was this list that led to the creation of the Catie Hoch Foundation, which for decades has been raising money for kids with cancer, in part via events like the upcoming Teeing Off On Cancer Golf Classic. 

“It’s a great day,” said Gina Peca, Catie’s mom and a co-founder of the foundation. “It’s just so much fun, and you can see the golfers’ commitment to our cause.”     

Nearly 200 people attended last year’s event, which typically raises between $85,000 and $100,000 annually. The funds are sent to families with children being treated for cancer, in the form of cash or gift cards for basic necessities such as gas, groceries, and shopping.

“Our golfers know that they’re truly making a difference,” Peca said. “This money isn’t going to go into the atmosphere. It’s directly helping the kids and their families.”

In keeping with Catie’s desire to have fun, the tournament includes prizes for closest to the pin, longest drive, and best foursome. There’s also a putting contest and a golf ball launcher.

The action all takes place at the McGregor Links Country Club in Wilton, which shuts down the entire course for the event. A morning flight begins at 7:30 a.m. and an afternoon flight starts at 1 p.m.

Launched more than two decades ago, the Catie Hoch Foundation has attracted nationwide attention, thanks in part to a 2003 “Time” magazine cover story about the Harry Potter book series, and its author J.K. Rowling.

“A friend of mine somehow got in touch with [Rowling] and she and Catie emailed back and forth,” Peca said. When Rowling heard that Catie had about two weeks left to live, she called and read to her from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which at the time hadn’t yet been published. A year later, Peca said, Rowling donated $100,000 to the foundation. 

“It was just amazing,” Peca said. “This [foundation] is a way to keep Catie’s memory alive and to really make a difference for these poor families. Having been there, we know what they’re facing.”

The Teeing Off On Cancer Golf Classic will take place at the McGregor Links Country Club in Wilton on Saturday, September 7. For more information or to register, visit www.teeingoffoncancer.org. Those not interested in playing golf can also contribute by being a sponsor, sending a gift, or donating funds.

BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa High School girls track and field team put together an impressive showing at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor 2024 meet at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia last weekend.

The relay team of Gabrielle Bozeth, Harriet Healey, Tatiana McCray, and Petrina Zborovszky finished 14th in the 1600 sprint medley, 18th in the 4x200, and 23rd in the 4x100. According to  Assistant Coach Matt Germann, the results included two new school records. “These four continue to amaze me,” Germann wrote after the event.

Ballston Spa runners also made appearances in elite boys events at the Adidas Track Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina last weekend.

Devin Hemraj placed 20th in the 110m hurdles prelims. Kala’i Makanani was 50th in the 400m dash finals, and 106th in the 200m dash prelims. Michael Stamper also finished 128th in the 100m dash prelims. 

VANCOUVER — Jackson Hornung, the first Skidmore College alum to be drafted by a professional sports team, socked a two-run homer in the first inning of a Vancouver Canadians game on Sunday. The game went into extra innings, although the Canadians (the High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays) fell short in the contest, 5-4.

The ex-Thoroughbred has continued to bolster his numbers throughout his first season in High-A. His .630 OPS in May improved to .668 by mid-June, and his fielding percentage at the catcher position this season was .996. He’s also played nine games at first base.

FORT ANN — Upstate New York has long been known for its water, from the Catskill Mountain watershed that supplies New York City with clean drinking water to the mineral springs that gave Saratoga Springs its name. Now, there’s a new local water company on the scene that sources its product from an artesian aquifer in the Adirondacks.

Realm, a premium water brand, will be officially unveiled at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City later this month. Its water source in Fort Ann, about 30 miles north of Saratoga, is said to be “98% uncontaminated” and “untouched by natural and human pollutants,” according to the company’s press release. Owners Mark and Joe Miller have spent the last seven years trying to bring the water to market.

“Water is the most essential element and we cannot survive without it. We understand the importance of providing and protecting natural resources, which is why Realm means so much to us,” said Realm’s CEO Todd Kletter in a statement.

Starting this fall, Realm will be available in still and sparkling varieties, packaged in glass bottles. Consumers will be able to purchase the bottles via the brand’s website.

BALLSTON SPA — When he was a kid growing up in the Bronx, Augie Vitiello was surrounded by homemade food cooked by his “100%” Italian family. Now, decades later, that same atmosphere survives at Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant in Ballston Spa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary earlier this month.

“The core of what we do is an old-fashioned red sauce joint,” Vitiello said. “I didn’t want to be this highfalutin, snobby restaurant.”

Vitiello officially got started in the restaurant business at age 13, when he started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to peeling potatoes and cutting vegetables. But his cooking education really began at home.

Vitiello still has potent memories of the dishes his Italian-born relatives would prepare: eggplant parm, roasted chicken, pickled vegetables from the garden, even homemade wine.

“Every day there was something on the fire cooking, from the Sunday sauce to a simple stew,” Vitiello said. “You couldn’t run away from it.”

By the time he was 17, Vitiello was roasting prime ribs and whipping up shrimp scampi. He spent one semester in college, but knew right away that the only kind of education he wanted was culinary. So he enrolled in the New York Restaurant School in Manhattan.

“It was all focused towards opening up my own business,” Vitiello said. “That was always in the forefront.”

When he turned 24, an opportunity to open an eatery presented itself. “I was young, I was dumb. I knew how to cook but I didn’t know how to run a business,” Vitiello said. 

Despite his inexperience, Vitiello plowed forward and made a career for himself. He ran his own restaurant in Larchmont, New York for 13 years before deciding to relocate to the Capital Region. “As much as we knew the Saratoga area was a special place, it far exceeded our wildest dreams,” he said.

In June 2004, Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant first opened its doors in Ballston Spa. In 2017, Vitiello opened a second “to-go” location across from the East Side Recreation Park in Saratoga Springs. Both businesses are still going strong. 

“I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed to have the energy and the enthusiasm to still want to do it,” Vitiello said. “But without my employees, there’d be nothing. That’s the most important thing.”

A lifetime surrounded by Italian food hasn’t lessened Vitiello’s enthusiasm for it. He said his favorite meal is a simple chicken parmesan with a side of penne alla vodka. “To me, that’s a marriage made in heaven,” he said.

Thursday, 13 June 2024 15:04

Skidmore Fall Sports Schedules Announced

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College unveiled its Fall 2024 sports schedules last week.

Opening days for each program are as follows:

Field hockey -
August 30 (at home)

Women’s volleyball - August 30 

Men’s soccer -
August 30

Women’s soccer - August 30 

Women’s tennis - September 13
(at home)

Men’s golf -
September 14 

Men’s tennis - September 21 

Rowing - October 19 

Some local highlights include the Head of the Fish Regatta rowing race on October 26; the men’s golf Skidmore Invitational on October 12 and 13; men’s tennis Skidmore Invitational October 12-14; and the women’s tennis Battle of the Northway September 13-15.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Eighteen years ago, the Firecracker4 was a modest race on July 4th with about 150 runners that raised money for high school running programs in Saratoga Springs. Now, it’s an ever-evolving event with thousands of participants and grand plans for the future.

“We can put 10,000 people on that course, and we’re going to before this is all over,” said Charles Woodruff, one of the race organizers and a co-owner of the Fleet Feet running stores in Albany and Malta. “It’s a very compelling race to be involved in.”

This year, Woodruff and fellow race organizer Peter Goutos, president of CASmith LLC, are aiming for around 3,000 participants, which would be 900 more than last year.

The race advertises itself with its appealing four-mile course that winds through downtown Saratoga Springs and the east side of the city, past historic homes and dozens of musical acts that range from singers to saxophone players to percussionists. But growing the race necessitates new initiatives every year, as well as continued community engagement. 

This year, Woodruff is inviting local schools to put alumni teams together. An area in the parking lot has been set aside for alumni team tents, which could house both younger and older graduates. Saratoga Springs, Colonie, Bethlehem, and East Greenwich school districts are already lined up to participate, though Woodruff is still recruiting more. 

More runners of course means more funds raised for the community, and the Firecracker4 has supported a number of running and health-related projects, including the Saratoga Regional YMCA, local running clubs, the Railroad Run trail in Saratoga Springs, and the Pitney Meadows Community Farm trail system, which Goutos and Woodruff designed and built. All told, $400,000 has been raised for the community over the race’s 18-year history.

Part of Goutos and Woodruff’s mission is not just to expand the number of local trails, but to connect them. Goutos helped put together the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail, a planned 24-mile path that will connect residential neighborhoods to the downtown area, allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to easily get around the city.

“This has gotten much more involved than I ever dreamed it would,” Woodruff said.

As the race continues to grow and expand its influence on the region, there’s one simple message that the organizers like to emphasize: running is for everyone. 

“I don’t even call running ‘running’ anymore. I call it just simply moving with purpose,” Woodruff said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, attract all of those people that we can of every demographic that you can possibly think of that just want to come out for an hour on July 4th in the morning and move with purpose.”

The four-mile Firecracker4 road race begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 4th outside the Saratoga Springs City Center at 522 Broadway. This year’s sponsors include Death Wish Coffee, Fleet Feet, and Greenwich Ford. For more information or to register, visit firecracker4.com.

Thursday, 13 June 2024 14:55

Belmont by the Numbers

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The long-awaited Belmont Stakes Racing Festival arrived at the Saratoga Race Course last week, drawing tens of thousands of fans who wagered millions of dollars. Here’s a snapshot of what Belmont brought to the Spa City.

50,000 - The number of fans who attended the sold-out Belmont Stakes Day on Saturday, June 8

$197,426,085 - The total handle for all four days of the festival

120,028 - The total attendance (counted by ticket sales) of the four-day festival

5 1/2 furlongs in 59:80 - A new course record set by Cogburn in the Jaipur Stakes

1 - Number of World Series championships won by Dornoch’s co-owner Jayson Werth, a former professional baseball player

15,000 - Estimated number of people who attended the Belmont on Broadway free concert event on Wednesday, June 5

$125,748,941 - The total handle for Belmont Stakes Day, a New York Racing Association (NYRA) record for a non-Triple Crown year

300% - Increase in the usual amount of alcohol provided to the Saratoga Race Course by beverage distributors

Page 1 of 25

Blotter

  • Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office  A 20-year-old Watervliet man was charged with first degree manslaughter after allegedly “striking another person with a large wrench and causing that person’s death,” according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office said they received a call of a fight in progress on Sparrow Drive in the town of Malta and the Investigation into the complaint led to the arrest of Cyrus J. Tetreault, 20, of Watervliet.  The victim was identified as 53-year-old Malta resident Brian M. Miller.  “It is truly tragic that this situation resulted in a loss of life,” county Sheriff Michael Zurlo…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Richard Burt sold property at 921 Route 50 to 921 Route 50 LLC for $173,000 GALWAY Rita Werner and Erin Forlenza sold property at 1064 West Galway Road to Karen Crandall for $145,000 GREENFIELD John Mishoe sold property at 463 Allen Road to Michael Forlini for $390,000 John Duffney sold property at 288 North Greenfield to Kelly Rozembersky for $270,000 MALTA  Timothy Albright sold property at 54 Shore Ave to Joseph DiDonna for $800,000 Jennifer Hogan sold property at 5 Plum Poppy South to Dustin Mullen for $475,000 Nicolas Aragosa sold property at 10 Scotch Mist Way to Steven…
  • NYPA
  • Saratoga County Chamber
  • BBB Accredited Business
  • Discover Saratoga
  • Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association