The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York previewed their latest exhibit, the Sanford Legacy, to the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, select guests and the press on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The exhibit, researched and designed by museum curator Victoria Tokarowski of Fultonville, showcases the significant contribution of Amsterdam’s Sanford family to the sport of thoroughbred racing. The exhibit opens to the public March 25, 2015 and runs through 2016. Tuesday’s event was attended by Sanford family descendent Pierre Manigault from Charleston, South Carolina, Son of Sanford jockey Louis Hildebrandt, Sam Hildebrandt, Montgomery County Legislator Barbara Wheeler, Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Tom DiMezza, Friends of Sanford Stud Farm President Scott Friers and several members of FSSF as well as the media. For more information just click on this link: National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Sanford Stud Farm
Saratoga Springs, New York comes alive during the Thoroughbred racing season. Its streets, restaurants and parks are full of visitors. For a photographer, this is a great opportunity to practice your skills and get photos that may normally be out of your comfort zone. With three trips to the track this year, this blogger has got a lot of practice. My third trip was monday, August 11, 2014. If you get to the track about 8am, there is plenty of parking and not too much traffic. If you are not planning on spending the day at the races, you can still visit the track for breakfast or just to watch the horses warm up on the track. There is no charge for this with your trackside parking fee ($12) refunded if you leave before 10am. Leaving the track at that time gives you the opportunity to visit Saratoga’s other attractions. The following photos represent an inexpensive and enjoyable half-day trip. These photos are my intellectual property and may not be used or reproduced without permission.
Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is a charitable organization dedicated to preserving the history of Stephen and son John Sanford’s thoroughbred horse farm in the Town of Amsterdam. The original training track and some of the barns were demolished to build a mall but a few of the structures still remain visible from route 30. Friends of Sanford Stud Farm has accomplished a great deal in their goal of creating an education heritage center, preserving and restoring the remaining barns owned by the Town. The other barn structures off route 30 that were part of Hurricana are privately owned and the land is for sale. With the help of the organization and Town of Amsterdam the 1880 Hurricana Stock Farm is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Stephen Sanford (1826-1913) born in Mayfield, NY, built the Hurricana Farm to raise and train thoroughbred racehorses to compete at Saratoga Racecourse in 1880. Stephen’s son John Sanford II (1851-1939) born in Amsterdam, inherited Hurricana and became very successful in the racing industry. John changed the Hurricana Farm name to Sanford Stud Farm. John’s daughter Gertrude Sanford Legendre (1902-2000) born in Aiken, South Carolina, was a very colorful figure. An American socialite, Gertrude enjoyed big game hunting and exploring for the American Museum of Natural History. During WWII she worked for the Office of Strategic Services and became the first woman captured by the Germans and was held for 6 months until she escaped to Switzerland. In 1930 Gertrude and Sidney Legendre bought one of the oldest buildings in South Carolina, the Medway Plantation (c1686). Gertrude was the inspiration for the 1929 play “Holiday” written by Philip Barry and later made into a movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Gertrude Sanford and Sidney Legendre had two daughters, Bokara and Landine. Stories and photos of Gertrude and her daughters appear in the New York Social Diary.
Landine Legendre married Peter Manigault (1927-2004) of Charleston South Carolina, owner of the Evening Post Publishing Company. Landine and Peter Manigault had a son Pierre Manigault who is now the Chairman at Evening Post Industries, Garden and Gun Magazine and the American College of Building Arts. Pierre Manigault and Lee Van Allen, had two daughters India and Gertrude (Gigi) Manigault, who lives with their mother in the Miles Brewton House in Charleston, South Carolina .
The organization could not have accomplished so much without funding from private donations. The largest benefactor of Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is the Manigault family. On Sunday July 20, 2014, Landine Manigault, Pierre Manigault, Gigi Manigault and family friend Clara Saad visited the Sanford Stud Farm. Pierre expressed an interest in starting a summer program at the Sanford Stud Farm for students from the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, of which he is Chairman and one of the founders. The girls just wanted to have fun.
This is what happens when you let preteens take photos with your camera!
Saturday July 19, 2014 marked the 100th run of the Sanford Stakes at the Saratoga Raceway. The race is named for Amsterdam’s Stephen Sanford (1826-1913) , born in Mayfield, NY, member of the US House of Representatives, who among other ventures, ran the Hurricana Farm where he trained Thoroughbreds. The farm was renamed the Sanford Stud Farm by his son John Sanford II, Congressman and carpet manufacturer, born in Amsterdam in 1851, who built his home on Church Street (what we now know as Amsterdam’s City Hall). Sanford descendant Landine L. Manigault, her son Pierre Manigault and his daughters India and Gigi Manigault were at Saratoga Raceway for the Sanford Stakes. Pierre Manigault lives in Charleston, South Carolina and is Chairman at Evening Post Industries and Garden & Gun Magazine. His mother Landine Manigault lives in Stonington, Connecticut and is the daughter of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, sister of Stephen “Laddie” Sanford and Sara Jane Sanford, children of John and Ethel Sanford whose parents were Stephen Sanford and Sara Jane Cochrane.
Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm celebrated with a visit to the National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame, followed by a luncheon at the Saratoga Raceway track-side clubhouse. Amsterdam artist Dan Czech designed the Sanford Stakes Centennial commemorative poster using period design. Pierre Manigault presented Friends founder Sam Hildebrandt an original purple and gold Sanford jockey silk. Sam’s father Louis Hildebrant was a very successful Sanford jockey.
It was a humid day but the air-conditioned clubhouse was a great way to watch the races. Some things have changed at the track since my last visit in the late 80’s. High definition flat screen monitors abound, posted on kiosks throughout the grounds with a huge monitor at center track. Cigar smoke fills the air as people study their racing sheets to place their bets. The racetrack grounds serve as impromptu campsites as people bring lawn-chairs, coolers and food, selecting a site on the lawn to claim stake for the day. The clubhouse patrons decked out in their finest causal attire, enjoy the day in the style. Beer and alcohol flowed on both sides of the fence, fueling shouts of enthusiasm as well as groans of disappointment.
The 7th race was the Sanford Stakes and thanks to the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, I had a place at the finish line and access to the Winner’s Circle for the race. Big Trouble won the Sanford Stakes in the last stretch as he shot from 4th place to victory. The Sanford Stakes Cup was presented to Big Trouble jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and trainer Tony Dutrow by John Sanford’s great granddaughters India and Gigi Manigault. A slew of reporters soon flooded Winner’s Circle including reporter Adam Shinder from The Recorder. Congressman Paul Tonko appeared in Winner’s Circle to support one of Amsterdam’s Historic events.
The festivities continued Saturday, June 15, 2013, when the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm held their annual open house event. There were merchandise, craft, food and informational booths set up in and around the Broodmare barn. The stables featured two Percheron mares.Just outside the barn, there was a blacksmith demonstrating his craft. There was an inflatable slide for the kids and the best car show I have ever seen in this area. This event was huge! The weather was sunny and just perfect. People were itching to get outside after the seemingly never-ending rainstorms and were generally in a very good mood.
The Friends of Sanford Stud Farm benefit Horse Tales and Cocktails was held in the Broodmare barn on Rt30 in the Town of Amsterdam New York, Friday evening June 14, 2013. Each year the event gets bigger and better. A buffet dinner was served with cocktails available. There was a silent auction and raffle with a variety of gifts. This year Friends of Sanford Stud Farm celebrated the Stud Farm’s Broodmare Barn and stables listing on the NYS and National Historic Registries. Proclamations were read and presented to the group by NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk. Guest speakers included Michael Veitch, Alan Carter and Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Tom DiMezza. Friends founder Sam Hildebrandt spoke about historic site recognition and gave closing remarks. The event was well attended.
The Annual Kentucky Derby Party sponsored by Friends of Sanford Stud Farm, was held in Amsterdam, New York on Saturday, May 4, 2013. The free event started with a tour of the former Sanford Stud Farm Broodmare Barn, where visitors viewed Kentucky Derby Memorabilia from Amsterdam’s 2 Derby Winners-1916(George Smith) & 1929(Clyde Van Dusen).
The event continued at the Recovery Room Sports Grill where attendees were given a chance to pick the Kentucky Derby winner before the live viewing on the large screen televisions. There was also a hat contest where prices were awarded for the most original and prettiest hats. Fifteen percent of the attendees food and beverage bill went to the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm preservation efforts.
Friends of Sanford Stud Farm started the 2013 season on February 26, with their annual meeting held in the Sanford Room of the Raindancer Restaurant in Perth, NY. The Friends of Sanford Stud Farm is a not-for-profit organization in unison with the Town of Amsterdam formed to help oversee the restoration and preservation of the former Sanford Stud Farm as a heritage center because of its historical, architectural, and cultural significance.
Last night that mission took a giant step forward as Dan McEneny, representative from NYS Parks and Recreation National Register Unit, announced the Sanford Stud Farm will be formally listed on the NYS Historic Places registry next month. The Sanford Stud Farm will then be nominated for the National Historic Places registry so the history will not be forgotten.
Master of Ceremonies last night was Tom Foster standing in for Board President Scott Friers who was home with the flu. Past FSSF President L.F.”Sam” Hildebrandt gave the keynote speech which included funding and restoration initiatives. Jim & Janice Kelly, Sheri Brown and Ron & Audie DeCaprio were presented with the 2012 Raymond Pischel Volunteer of the Year Award for exemplary contribution and efforts on behalf of the Friends of Sanford Stud Farm.
We also heard from Cecilia Tkaczyk, newly elected State Senator for the 46th District, who pledged her support for the cause.
It wasn’t the kind of day they had hoped for, but the Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm still entertained a good number of people today during their open house just off route 30, next to Walgreens in the Town of Amsterdam. The rain kept some people away and according to volunteer coordinator Scott Friers, only five cars showed up from the scheduled New Wave Cruiser’s Car Club because of the weather. By the time I arrived at 2:00pm, there were only two cars left; but the show must go on and inside the barn there were an array of vendors and prizes to be raffled off. Montgomery County Board of Elections had a booth encouraging voter registration. I even signed on to be an election inspector. Representatives from Historic Amsterdam League were there raising money for the organizations historic marker program. Bob Cudmore was there selling his books with the profits going to charities. There was food and a kettle corn vendor. There was a bouncy house for the kids and horses in the barns once again. It was a nice diversion even for a rainy day, all for a worthy cause.