The Saratoga Six: Barbara Stevenson & Brandon Ture

The Saratoga Six: Barbara Stevenson and Brandon Ture
Six inquisitive questions with Saratoga’s most interesting people.

By Alyssa McClenning

When people think of Saratoga Race Course, they think of fast horses and big hats. Too easily, the behind-the-scenes work and workers are overlooked. The goal of Race for Choice is to better bridge that gap and make sure healthcare is readily available to the men and women who help make the track what it is. We recently caught up with event committee-people Barbara and Brandon at SPOT Coffee to learn more.

1. Tell us about your earliest Saratoga memory.

Barbara: I first came to Saratoga for a visit in 1977. It was a very special trip for myself and my daughter. Our good friends owned Seattle Slew and there was so much excitement around their barn, as Slew had won the triple crown that year. We also were staying with John and Dianne Russell, who trained for the Phipps family. So we got a first class look at Saratoga and the beautiful Historic race track.

Brandon: I grew up here. I remember being amazed when I left Saratoga for the first time, I realized that not too many places are like Saratoga. No matter where you go in the world, when you say you are from Saratoga people recognize it or have some memory of Saratoga. There is always so much happening around town with racing, concerts, festivals… it’s really cool to call Saratoga home. 

2. The Saratoga Social was created to highlight the work of our local nonprofits. Which organization is most important to you?

Barbara: I do a lot of work with Planned Parenthood and the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York. 

Brandon: I have been lucky to help out with some great non-profit organizations around Saratoga. I am on the Board at the Children’s Museum at Saratoga so that has been a very rewarding few years. The Saratoga Rowing Association played a major role in my high school years and beyond so I try to help with as many regattas as I can and I worked with the Adaptive Rowing program. And of course, being on the organizing committee for Race for Choice I have been lucky to see how important Planned Parenthood is to so many people. 

3. Which spot in town serves your favorite drink or dish?

Barbara: The Wishing Well for soft shell crabs and in-season tomatoes is a favorite evening out for me.

Brandon: I enjoy whatever new IPA Drew (bartender) is pouring at Henry Street Tap Room. Favorite dish is a tough one and definitely depends on the night.  My wife and I enjoy the patios at Sperry’s, Hattie’s, and 15 Church. One Caroline is our go-to if we ever get a date night.

4. Why is Race for Choice so important to you?

Barbara: The premise behind Race for Choice is to help raise funds for our local Planned Parenthood facility, specifically for all the benefits they provide to the hard working backstretch men and women, who in many cases would not be provided the medical services they much need.

Brandon: Race for Choice is a great opportunity to celebrate and support an organization that brings health care to so many women, and men, that wouldn’t otherwise have access to care.  Many people focus on small segments of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. I consider it a win if we can shed some light on the overwhelming number of great service they provide and break through some of the stigmas. 

 5. What's the first app/website you open in the morning?

Barbara: Email. Email. Email.

Brandon: My emails usually start dinging pretty early so it’s generally me checking work messages or catching up on some daily news rundown. I get a lot of my news from Twitter so that’s where I go to see what’s dominating headlines and how the Yankees did last night.

6. "I consider Saratoga's greatest hidden gem to be..."

Barbara: Chez Pierre!

Brandon:  In the summer, mornings on the backstretch are pretty special. There is a buzz back there that you don’t get during the day on the front side. You see all the hard work that goes into training these amazing creatures and all that happens on the business side of the sport.