By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Amsterdam Police Department K-9
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- Despite the rain, nearly 100 people showed up for the Horse Tales and Cocktails event held by the Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm Friday.
While it is an annual event held at the broodmare barn on Route 30, this year, the group had a special reason to celebrate, as it received the official certificate for the site's recent inclusion to the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
"This is the highest honor for historic significant sites," state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk said as she presented the certificate to Friends President Scott Friers. "The Sanford Stud farm has been awarded this distinction because it is a significant site of thoroughbred breeding and training right here in the Mohawk Valley."
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, was also on hand to present the certificate from the state.
"We are proud to support a unique treasure in New York racing history," Santabarbara said.
In addition to the certificate ceremony, Sam Hildebrandt, a member of the Friends group, presented Friers with a $35,000 donation from the Medway Charitable Trust.
On the heels of its May 2013 historic designation, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame recently announced it will induct Clifford, the first of Stephen Sanford's champion studs to get such a nod.
"It's a moment that many of us have been waiting for," Friers said.
Those milestones occurred just in time for the 100th running of the Sanford Stakes at the Saratoga Race Course this summer.
Friers said he has been in many broodmare barns and jumping horse barns, but the Sanford barn holds a special place in his heart.
"The broodmare barn to, me, is what Fenway Park is to the Boston Red Sox, or what the Yankees Stadium is to the New York Yankees. It's a building filled with some amazing history," he said. "When I step into this barn, I like to stop and look around and take everything in. When you are here alone you can almost hear the clip clop of the horses down the alley, and a small neigh."
The event included a dinner buffet, spirits, a silent auction, facility tours, and Sanford stories. All proceeds from registrations benefited the group's barn restoration efforts.