Event Details

Start: Friday, October 7 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Categories: ,

Backstage at the Backstretch Celebrates the Art and Culture of Thoroughbred Racing

Arts Fest Friday celebrates the people and cultures of those behind the scenes of thoroughbred racing with music, dance, food and camaraderie all in the hallowed halls of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame!

‘Backstage at the Backstretch’ will explore not only the jobs of the backstretch such as grooms, exercise riders and grounds people but also the artists who endeavor to capture the explosive yet fleeting moments on the track. Meet the real people behind the scenes and hear about what they do!

The evenings entertainment will include: The Skidmore College ‘Raices Dance Team’ and ‘Adagio School of Dance and Music’ founder and choreographer Ericka Diaz O’Donnell will be on hand offering professional instruction and demonstration with a music soundscape that will explore Central and South American rhythms.

Children will have an opportunity to explore a pint sized horse stable, dance, a design their own racing silk station and even see a full sized skeleton of an actual thoroughbred race horse!

Backstretch Workers on hand will include but are not limited to:

  • Bob Duncan, Head Starter, Oversight of the Starting Gate Crew;
  • Marco Acosta, Exercise Rider; and,
  • Riccardo Parra-Vargas, Professional Groom

Featured artists at Arts Fest Friday’s ‘Backstage at the Backstretch’ will include, but are not limited to:

  • Adam Alejandro Mooshian, Celebrated National Racing Photographer;
  • Lisa Miller, Author & Photographer, “The Foal Project;”
  • Ellen E. McHale, Researcher & Author, “Stable Views – Stories and Voices from the Thoroughbred Race Track;”
  • Dona Ann McAdams, Curatorial Photographer, “Tales from the Backstretch;”
  • Sharon Crute, Fine Arts Equestrian Painter;
  • Penny Ploughman, Artisan Belt Maker, Professional Saddle & Bridle Repair;
  • Ericka Diaz O’Donnell, Director, Choreographer and Instructor at “Adagio School of Dance;” and,
  • Antoinette Brocklebank, Racing Silk Maker.

As a special feature, bilingual interpreters will be on hand to allow visitors to have direct dialog with the professionals who work behind the scenes at the Saratoga Race Course and at racetracks throughout the country.

Arts Fest Fridays are presented free of charge, and are co-presented by SaratogaArtsFest and Spring Street Gallery. Corey Aldrich of 2440 Design Studio is the Guest Producer for Arts Fest Friday’s ‘Backstage at the Backstretch.’


2440 Design Studio

Adagio School of Dance and Music

National Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame

New York Folklore Society

Skidmore College

Spring Street Gallery

Workforce Development Institute