The Saratoga Race Course 2015 meet has been over for almost a week, but with school starting, I've only just now had a chance to sit down and write a post sharing some of my photos. It was the summer of #pharoahtoga. American Pharoah may not have won the Travers Stakes as so many had hoped (congratulations to Keen Ice and Javier Castellano, though!), but he still won the hearts of all his adoring fans. I didn't photograph him in the race, but I did have the chance to see his debut at the track at breakfast the day before, as seen above (and more below).
This year I attended opening day. I was anxious to finally take my Tamron 150-600mm lens to the track for the first time. It's definitely the perfect lens for this kind of venue!
It was a rainy day, so there was a lot of mud on the track.
These horses, ponies, jockeys, and riders were probably almost half a mile away, but at 600mm and with a little cropping, they are front and center.
Even a turf race is no problem for this lens. Zoomed in all the way, you get a neat compressed perspective.
Standing at the rail, I captured the above photo of a race horse licking a pony!
I also used my good ol' 135mm lens, which creates a beautiful creamy background separation that I love.
The horses aren't the only attractions at the track. Lots of performers capture guests' attention on the other side of the clubhouse and grandstand. These dancers moved to the beat of Reggie's Red Hot Feetwarmers, a jazz band performing lots of early 20th century standards.
And here are some of the members of the band performing.
Another band performing outside the gazebo.
I made it over to the Oklahoma Track one morning with a couple of photographer friends for a sunrise.
Looking in either direction, the light was just beautiful.
You've got to love that golden light!
The crowning jewel of the track season was photographing American Pharoah. The day before the Travers, he made his grand debut at breakfast for an audience of 15,000 fans. First he came out with his pony Smokey (above), then he made a big gallop around the track (below).
Well, that wraps up another great track season. Stay tuned later this week for more photos from the summer.