SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mike Blair will move from San Francisco to Saratoga Springs next month in order to work at Saratoga Race Course.
Blair, who recently retired after 35 years in the insurance business, plans to live with his 85-year-old father for the summer at a home near Saratoga Lake. He will bike to the track, weather permitting.
"It's always been in my head that I would do it when I retired," the Shenendehowa High School graduate said about working at the track. "When I told people about it, they didn't believe me."
Blair was one of more than 1,000 people expected to attend the two-day New York Racing Association annual job fair, which began Friday and continues Saturday at Embassy Suites on Congress Street.
Approximately 2,500 jobs are up for grabs, including betting clerks, security guards, cashiers, box office representatives and cooks. The season runs from July 20 through Sept. 3.
Blair, who interviewed for a White Cap or usher position, worked at the track selling hot dogs from 1973 to 1977.
When his wife, Sue, heard her husband's idea to work at the track for the summer, she said she was initially shocked.
"The more I thought about it, I thought why not? When will he have the opportunity again?" she said. "He'll be doing something he loves, and Saratoga is a great town."
Blair said he typically visits the track every year for one week, but as a Saratoga Race Course employee, he'll have six weeks to enjoy horse racing.
"I hope to have fun and meet new people," he said. "There are always interesting people at the track."
Macaila Dipasquale was filling out a job application Friday in hopes of becoming a hostess.
Last year, the soon-to-be Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School grad worked at Shake Shack at the track.
"My friend was a hostess last year, so I thought I'd try it," she said. "I'm hoping to make connections and meet new people."
Dipasquale said she encourages others to attend the job fair.
"It's easy to apply, and the interviews are brief," she said. "I'd definitely tell people to apply."
At a nearby table, Saratoga Springs resident Ken Kroslak was applying to be a betting clerk.
"I like interacting with people, and I thought it would be something I'd enjoy," he said.
It was Kroslak's first time attending the job fair.
"I was out of town last year when they had it, so I made a point to do it this year," he said. "Everyone is friendly, and it's well organized."
Kroslak, who also works as a real estate agent, said he's looking forward to becoming a Saratoga Race Course staff member.
"It would be a great experience to be part of working at the track," he said. "It's a beautiful venue. I hope to make some extra money and have fun doing it."
The job fair continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Embassy Suites, 86 Congress St. in Saratoga Springs.
Positions are available with NYRA, Centerplate, Union Square Events, Integrated Staffing and American Maintenance.
Applicants must be at least 15 years old (with New York State Certified Working Papers); prospective security guards, cashiers and betting clerks must be at least 18.
Betting clerks and cashiers must have significant cash handling experience. Security guards must have a high school degree or GED to apply.
All applicants must bring a photo ID and Social Security card or I-9 alternative.