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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: "Saratoga"

Saratoga is in the spotlight today: A "Saratoga" poem and details on the new Poet Laureate of Saratoga Springs announcement.

Saratoga Race Course (Photo credit: NYRA)
Saratoga Race Course (Photo credit: NYRA)

More than 30,000 people will visit Saratoga Springs on Saturday for the 135th running of the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. One of the attendees at the Travers will be John F. Cox of Kentucky, whose poem is featured below.

Speaking of Saratoga and poetry, the city of Saratoga Springs has announced that a Poet Laureate of Saratoga Springs will be selected for a two-year term beginning in 2023. The Poet Laureate Committee, comprised of members of the local literary arts community, will review the nominations.

The name of the poet selected as the inaugural Poet Laureate will be announced on December 15, 2022, and a celebration in honor of the city's poet laureate will take place in April 2023 during National Poetry Month. For more information, contact

John's poem, titled "Saratoga" was featured in a New York Times story about the race course last summer. Here's an excerpt:

"John F. Cox has been coming here [Saratoga Springs] since he was 2 years old from his native Lexington, Ky. for the Whitney Handicap and Fasig-Tipton yearling sales. When he was 8, his grandmother woke him up at 5:30 a.m. to see his favorite horse, the great Cigar, work out.

After missing last year, Cox, a public affairs manager for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, wrote a poem after his most recent pilgrimage. He called it, simply, 'Saratoga.'"


by John F. Cox

A passionate lover

And a sworn nemesis.

Love to see her come,

Hate to watch her leave.

Ponies win and lose.

Money comes and goes…

…But mostly, it just goes.

Whether hobnobbing with the suits,

Or slumming with the scabs,

We’re here for the same things, really –

Mostly thrills and laughs.

And when the party’s over,

Back to the Bluegrass I go.

See you next year; next summer,

My lovely friend and foe.

© "Saratoga" by John F. Cox. Reprinted with permission.

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, John F. Cox has been traveling to Saratoga Springs, NY for the August Fasig-Tipton sales and race meet since he was a child. Cox currently serves as Director of Public Affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.


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