How two brothers who just loved horse racing started the newspaper that became a staple in Saratoga SpringsSARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- The first year, it was this thin little eight-pager, more like a pamphlet than a newspaper. They drove the proofs from Saratoga Race Course to the printer in Clifton Park and slept there while it came off the presses, then loaded the finished copies into the car and drove back to the track as soon as they were done. In the 10 years that have passed since the first edition of The Saratoga Special made its debut, brothers Joe and Sean Clancy have collected more than a decade of memories and printed more than 311 editions of a paper that beat the odds. They've also become part of the fabric of Saratoga, a historic oval where the best horses come to run and the next great victory is just around the corner.
The copy is crisp and clean, turned out by eager young journalists and the brothers themselves.
“In 2001, The Saratoga Special was born. It wasn't particularly named after the race that will be run Monday -- the $150,000 Saratoga Special for 2-year-olds -- but more because of the idea that a paper based in Saratoga, focusing only on racing, would be special. "We got an office downtown and tried to go six days a week the first year," Joe said. "The computers were slow, nobody could email you an ad, you were getting FedEx stuff, and if it was FedExed to you on a disk, then wow, that was big time. It was a nightmare, an absolute nightmare." They tried to sell it. Nobody knew what it was. For all their connections, they really didn't know people in the flat racing world. It was like the beginning of anything -- somewhat shaky, not perfect by a long shot. But they learned that the stories were there, they just needed to figure out how to make it work -- and together, that's exactly what they did. "We get along; we actually complement each other pretty well," Joe said. "It's a decent mix of skills." "My brother is very steady, easygoing," Sean said. "I'm kind of the one always dreaming up crazy ideas, and he's the one that tempers those. We balance each other out very well. We've had a lot of fun doing it beyond the business aspect -- a great time doing it with his kids, our families, everybody doing it together working at something."
I'm kind of the one always dreaming up crazy ideas, and he's the one that tempers those. We balance each other out very well.” -- Sean Clancy