‘saratoga living’ Editor In Chief Richard Pérez-Feria On Setting Up Shop In A Horse Racing Town

Telling the truth, as I found out in stark terms, may not always be the best policy.

Some years ago, I was the newly minted Editor in Chief of 7×7, what became San Francisco’s premier luxury magazine, and simultaneously, I was the Consulting Editor for the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. In other words, of the three most-read magazines in the City By The Bay, I was editorially in charge of two of them.

At an awards gala about a year into my dual roles, I happened to mention that, since I’m prone to migraine headaches from the tannins found in wine, I rarely have the pleasure of drinking it. Instantly, a heavy, awkward silence fell over what had been a light-hearted room just moments earlier. Everyone in the large space avoided eye contact with me. It was a bizarre, highly uncomfortable situation, simply because I had admitted to the apparently unforgivable crime of not drinking Napa Valley’s finest—for medical reasons! The sting of that event soon carried me straight out of San Francisco and back into the much more tolerant embrace of my beloved New York City.

Enter horses.

Relax—horse racing, as far as I know, doesn’t trigger any personal malady, but, in truth, I’ve never attended a single race on a horse track (or any track, for that matter). I guess the thought of sitting in the hot sun all afternoon, waiting around for several races, didn’t interest me enough to jump at a few opportunities I’ve had over the course of my career to attend horse racing events, including the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. But, here in Saratoga Springs, the historical and glamorous epicenter of American horse racing, I find myself the Editor in Chief of the city’s best magazine by far. And I couldn’t be happier about that.

So, yes, I’ll be there on Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course, screaming at my picks as they come down the stretch and genuinely taking it all in as I check off yet another item on my ever-shrinking Bucket List of firsts.

Like most of us, I grew up being taught to treat animals with love and respect. As a child, my family had always adopted stray or rescue dogs (Titina, Samantha, Hippie) and, later, as an adult, apartment life in Manhattan dictated that cats (Peanut, Estee) were easier to care for, given my hectic schedule. But the idea of coming home to living creatures who have such an uncomplicated love for you in this complicated world is a feeling that, quite literally, never gets old. At least for me.

And though, of course, I do know that horses—particularly magnificent Thoroughbreds—are hardly household pets, I will still show them no less reverence and love, even as I cheer them on at the track this season. After all, I don’t want to ever experience anything like that bizarre situation I had in San Francisco in my newly adopted (gorgeous) town of Saratoga.

This I know for sure: Horse racing will definitely not give me migraines. But I can’t promise I won’t have a slightly elevated heart rate as my favorite pony is heading for the finish line. Now, that’s a medical condition I truly look forward to experiencing in the flesh.

See you at the races!

Richard Pérez-Feria
Editor in Chief

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