The Saratoga Race Course opens up on Thursday and while the horses are making their way up to the track as we speak, fans this year will not.   But the pandemic is not getting the best of a local man who took the time to meticulously recreate the Saratoga picnic area that he and his buddies sit at every weekend.  It's a stunning mini-replica of the 'Toga paddock and best of all, right in his backyard.

"I just came up with the idea because we have not missed an opening day in 25 years or so and just felt like it would give us the feeling of actually being there", says Mark Struffolino of Rotterdam.

Struffolino said it took him about 6 weeks to complete his recreation of the Saratoga Race Course picnic area.  When asked how big it is, he told me it takes up about 1/5 of his backyard.   It's not just nice to look at, it's a fully functional gambling, watching, eating and drinking outdoor man cave for racing fans.

Struffolino proudly explained that his version of the Rotterdam picnic paddock has Direct TV and it is equipped with speakers, a monitor, a red and white canopy and wooden posts. No word on whether Struffolino installed an ATM back there in case someone gets low on funds.

While friends and neighbors undoubtedly enjoy it, it's taken his family a little while to warm up to his "rambunctious" plan.

"But now," he says "they love it!"


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