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Saratoga track attracts diverse crowds of gamblers, entrepreneurs, fun-seekers

The walk along East Avenue toward the main entrance of Saratoga Race Course is an immediate reminder of the sheer diversity of the summer racing crowd.

Stable workers lead their horses in and out of their barns while a truck carrying bales of hay pulls out from the busy feed store.

Next door, men in dark suits and a startling number of women with bouffant hairdos gather outside the Fasig-Tipton pavilion where three horses, a trainer and popular jockey Edgar Prado have just been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Across the street, on a narrow strip of city-owned grass that lines the sidewalk, teenagers, and even a few tweens, hawk bottled water, soda and homemade cookies to the general admission crowd.

Soda, $1, $3 inside, says Phil Krisson, 13, of Saratoga Springs. It's Krisson's second year selling water and soda. Where other teenage salesmen have their own staff and tent, Krisson simply sits in a folding lawn chair behind two large coolers.

Krisson said he makes about $80 a day, not bad for a kid who can't legally work at a fast-food restaurant for another two years. Krisson said he buys soda and water at grocery stores or convenience stores and sells them for a profit. He sets up his wares about three or four days a week along the East Avenue strip and thinks he'll make $1,000 by the end of the meet. He's saving for a go-kart.

Many of Krisson's best clients are his neighbors, he says, but he also said he has regular customers who seem to follow the same ritual everyday.

The young salesmen on the strip have a certain appeal to families who stop and buy sodas from the boys as if they are little kids running a lemonade stand. But one gets a sense that some of these soda salesmen are more like used car dealers.

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