So many years had passed, and our box has been displayed for everyone to enjoy at Santoni’s when one day I received an inquiry from Randy Lewis and Sue Kenny of Sagamore Farm and Sagamore Racing asking if I would consider giving it up. We do catering for Randy and Under Armour at the farm, and one day when he stopped by the store to shop he noticed it. I asked Randy and Sue why they wanted it. That’s when the real story in my mind begins. You see, as most folks around here know, when Jim Ward decided to sell Sagamore Farm, there was a gentleman who had the means, and a deep appreciation of the farm and of Maryland Racing. This man was Kevin Plank, and he would be the next owner of Sagamore… the next person to steward this amazing resource back to prominence. And in doing so, Kevin has refurbished the farm, invested in leadership and a vision to make it reflective of its proud heritage. He has made countless moves to fulfill his vision, but one of the many respectful things he has done was to hire Sue Kenny as the Historian to capture the past and reflect the Sagamore’s legendary journey. If you have ever of had the gift of visiting the mansion at the top of the hill overlooking the property, you would see in one of the main rooms in the house, a tribute to Alfred Vanderbilt the second, the owner of the farm for over 50 years who brought it into its prominence.
Thus, the request for the box. Kevin, Sue and Randy had reconnected with the late Alfred Vanderbilt’s son, Alfred Vanderbilt the 3rd out of respect for his father and the history that his family had fostered at the farm. They knew of this original box that I had at Santoni’s, and they thought it would be a meaningful gesture if they could obtain it for Alfred as a gift to honor his father. It would also serve as a precious memory for Alfred knowing that he had grown up spending countless hours at the farm.
I remembered thinking on it a lot before coming to a decision. I appreciated the box very much, and the kind spirit of the good man who gave it to me those many years ago. But the thing that kept coming to my mind was this: although the box was in my possession, I was just the caretaker for a moment in time. That box, just as the good folks at Sagamore Racing had hoped for, would be better served in the possession of the son of the man who invested much of his life to make Sagamore Farm the special place that it was, and is to become again. And even though my friends at the farm offered compensation, I knew in my heart that the only thing to do was to give it away. So, I called Alfred personally and let him know that I would be dropping the box off to Randy Lewis and Sue Kenny and that they would carefully ship it to his home in Connecticut. As you can imagine, he was gracious beyond words, and now has box number 4 as a memory of a time gone by, and of his father, and of his time spent at this beautiful place we call Sagamore Farm.