Savor Summer in Saratoga Winner Timmins Explains His Lifetime Love of Racing

Pop Culture
Fans soak up the action at Saratoga Race Course. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

Last month, thousands of people entered to win a trip to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., via the Savor Summer at Saratoga Sweepstakes Presented by America's Best Racing. The contest’s winner and a guest will be treated to an expenses-paid trip to the final weekend of racing at Saratoga Race Course in addition to fine dining experiences in the city of Saratoga Springs.

Prior to offering this prized trip to Saratoga, this year America’s Best Racing has partnered with Santa Anita Park to host the Santa Anita in Style Sweepstakes in April, in addition to collaborating with Horseshoe Indianapolis to host the Feel the Energy at Indy Sweepstakes in July. Both winners of the aforementioned contests had never been to the races before, but the winner of the latest sweepstakes is a lifelong horse racing fan.

Timmins with late father, Jimmy (Courtesy Luke Timmins)

As excitement builds throughout the Saratoga meet, we caught up with Savor the Summer at Saratoga Sweepstakes winner, Luke Timmins, to ask him 10 quick questions about his background with horse racing and favorite memories in the sport.

1. How did you hear about the Savor Summer in Saratoga Sweepstakes and what compelled you to enter?

Timmins: I heard about the Savor Summer in Saratoga Sweepstakes on Facebook and I believe I received an email regarding the contest. I felt compelled to enter because I love being in Saratoga for opening weekend and Travers weekend and thought should I win, this would be another opportunity to go to the place that I consider to be a “Heaven on Earth.”

2. How old are you now, and at what age did you first get into horse racing? What drew you to the sport?

Timmins: I am currently 46 years old. I got into horse racing at an early age (can't remember exactly). My late grandfather, Peter Pacifico, used to own Standardbred horses (Harness) and used to take us to the track when his horses raced. I loved everything about being at the racetrack and being up close to the horses at an early age.

3. Would you describe yourself as a new, casual or core racing fan?

Timmins: I would describe myself as a core racing fan. I try to get to the track as often as I can,  sspecially during the summer months. On weekends when out with friends, TVG/America's Day at the Races (FS1 and FS2) is always on. I also have owned micro-shares of horses with My Racehorse and another conglomerate.

Timmins and friends at the track. (Courtesy Luke Timmins)

4. What is the first racetrack you ever visited? Do you have a favorite racetrack?

Timmins: As I mentioned earlier, because of my grandfather the first tracks I visited were Harness tracks such as Yonkers, The Meadowlands, and the shuttered Roosevelt Raceway.  However, I have been to Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Monmouth Park, Penn National, Gulfstream Park, Woodbine, Pimlico, and Laurel Park as well.

5. Do you have a favorite horse racing memory?

Timmins: My favorite horse racing memor(ies) are being with my late father, Jimmy, at the racetrack. A week before he passed in 2010, I ran a picnic at Monmouth Park as a memorial for my grandfather. My dad attended (as he always did). My father used to ride around in a scooter, and as soon as we got there he went to his usual spot right on the rail. Prior to covid, I then ran a “The Annual JT Memorial” in honor of my father, Jimmy. Being with family and friends at the racetrack are my favorite memories.

6. What is your go-to bet at the races?

Timmins: Easy, $1 trifecta box … four horses, $24 bet.

7. Are there any bucket-list races (or racetracks) you have yet to attend?

Timmins: I WILL get the Kentucky Derby one day! That is my bucket list. I have been to the Preakness. I would also love to attend the Breeders’ Cup (one day).

Timmins with friends. (Courtesy Luke Timmins)

8. Do you have a favorite horse currently racing? What about an all-time favorite horse?

Timmins: A horse I rooted for that is no longer running is Midnight Bisou (Mike Smith up). And I enjoyed the winning streak that Cigar had. That was fun to see.

9. What is your favorite part about going to the races?

Timmins: I love everything about the races. The anticipation, the people, the cheering, the heartbreak, the “I should've had that’s,” the smells, the sounds, the excitement, the food/drink, being with family and friends/loved ones, packing coolers, the horses, the jockeys. There really isn't anything I don't love about being at the racetrack. Other than being with my daughter, Elizabeth, it is my most favorite place to be.

10. What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with new racing fans?

Timmins: Enjoy it! Bet within your means and don't expect to become a millionaire. I don't know anyone who ever got rich from betting the horses. If you think about it, the racing itself is only about 20-25 minutes in total. It's the other 6-7 hours that are spent there with family and friends is the reason I go and love it so much.

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