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THE ARTFUL HORSE

​Railbirds: It's a purely American addition to both the dictionary and race track lore. 


They arrived by horse-drawn carriage in August 1863, just a few weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg, for Saratoga's first Thoroughbred meet. For the faithful – then as now – whatever else was going on in the world, including a Civil War raging one state away, it took second place to the draw of betting on a herd of large animals galloping around a track. 


Over 150 years, they have been the most faithful of migrating fowl, returning to Saratoga every July for the summer meet. Here, photographer Michael Davis captured them in the long shadow of the track’s iconic spires, Daily Racing Form in hand, hopes high, as their chosen Thoroughbreds thunder toward home.