The Inside Rail

Contributions from TIHR co-founder, editor and writer Sean Clancy.

Going for Gold

Ski Friday. Yes, ski Friday. Off to the slopes with Miles for the finale of the ski season at Bryce Resort. The Ski Olympics. Miles goes at 11:30.

Last week, we arrived at the slopes, found our rental equipment, hooked up our lift ticket, pulled our goggles down and stared up, well, not exactly up.

Goodbye Kempton, Thanks for the Memories

Kempton Bombshell. That was the headline in the Racing Post as Britain plans to bulldoze another turf track and build another all-weather. As John Gorka sings, “They’re growing houses in the fields between the towns. And the Starlight drive-in movie’s closing down the road is gone to the way it was before. And the spaces won’t be spaces anymore.”

Smith comes full circle with Arrogate

The first was Bat Prospector.

Mike Smith had arrived in New York earlier that year. I hadn’t arrived anywhere. It was 1990. In the jocks’ room to ride a no-hoper in the opening jump race, I worked up the nerve to introduce myself to Smith, who was due to ride Mike Freeman’s Bat Prospector later that afternoon. I had galloped the filly a couple of times, figured it was an icebreaker, a conversation starter. We shook hands, talked about the filly and became fast friends. I was in awe of the New Mexico kid who had come to New York with finesse and flare.

The Close Calls of Life

One of my resolutions is to write more, well, write more well. That sentence definitely doesn't suffice. Ah well, we'll keep trying.

So far in 2017, I've been diving into other forms, a book, a journal (for me now, for Miles later) and some other creative spots, they probably won't see the light of day. As I was toiling and tinkering and looking for distraction today, I checked my friend George Baker's blog. A great friend, a horse trainer and a natural writer, his daily blog always provides a moment of escape. His entry from January 2, sadly, isn't an escape. I cut and pasted it below, it's good perspective on a world gone mad.

Read him daily, you never know what you're going to get. 

Where I watched the Race: The King George

The house is quiet. The Christmas tree lights are dark. The Australian Shepherd/Catahoula, who hasn't threatened to bite me in hours, lies silent on his bed. Deerwood Lake drifts quietly behind glass doors. The coffee maker, which worked overtime Christmas Day, has yet to stir. I step gently, slippers dangling from my left fingertips, backpack slung over my right shoulder, down the stairs, to the cocoon of a basement at a lake house outside Birmingham, Alabama.

Goodbye, Go Go

Two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez died on December 14. He was 44.

I typed that sentence at the bottom of my weekly column in the Irish Field, below Mastery and Abel Tasman Grade 1 scores at Los Alamitos, below Paulasilverlining's Aqueduct triumph, below Irish-bred Lady Valeur's off-the-turf stakes win.

Yes, below all those.

A man's life, poof, a footnote in 900 words.

James Monroe, a Zip Line and an Emergency Room

Abby looked at me from atop a straw bale, as chaos reigned all around.

"You guys have the best parties."

Sign, sealed and delivered, the second-grader made everything worth it.

Of course, the moment didn't last long as Ryan shook up and down on the end of the zip line, "Come on, let me go, let me go."

Testing the Resiliency

"Our greatest trait is our resiliency."

That quote has become a mantra of ours, and we're not talking politics, we're talking horse racing, a game which continues to test our resiliency and resolve.

Traveling

Plains, trains and automobiles. Actually, just automobiles, from Keeneland yesterday to Camden today. Kicked tires at Keeneland, looking at horses too used or too expensive for our program. Watching the dispersal of the Conquest Stable horses, it was more like a yard sale than an estate sale, strange to see people jump in and jump out so lavishly. Some nice horses, some broken dreams. Heading out to Springdale to see jumpers train, the final day of the season looms Saturday, full fields, lots of races. Everybody looking for Christmas money.