THE INSIDE RAIL | by Sean Clancy

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Sorry, it's been a while. Took a break after Saratoga. A big, long, welcoming break.

You know it’s fall when you wind up in a field on a Saturday, watching horses run and jump. Shawan Downs put on a stellar show Saturday, hosting seven races over ground listed as “good.” The description might have been a stretch, but there was a cut in the ground and it made a big difference to the racing. Horses made divots. Yes, divots. One faller all day, and he jumped up and ran off. Fun day at the races.

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“If we had a boss…” Tom Law began.

And I cut him off, which I’m prone to do. Looking back on it, I have no idea what he was going to say, but I knew what I was going to say.

“If we had a boss . . . they wouldn’t let us do this. They wouldn’t let us do any of this,” I said, as we drove our golf cart through the harness track looking for Desmond Farrell, Lars Becdelamotte, Bill Hickey, Eddie Miller, Joe Parker and any other little guy for the Little Guy Stable Tour (see page 7). “They’d have us maximizing revenue, filing reports for HR and holding editorial planning meetings. They definitely wouldn’t have let us run a 5K this morning, with one more paper still to go.”

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We’d sleep in the living room, at least, try to sleep. Somehow, we thought it was better to sleep downstairs, on couches and two chairs pushed together, better to slip out in the middle of the night. Pillows, blankets, duffel bags ready to go. Dad woke us up at midnight. He always shipped at night, better for the horses.

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Richard Farquhar, dressed in tweeds with a pint of Guinness in his hand, said he was going to “walk the courses” for charity.

I looked at him, a pint of Guinness in my hand, and thought ‘that’s cool, you’re going to walk once around each racecourse in England for charity.’ Like tossing a dollar in the bucket on the way out of the races, a token gesture, a conscience clearer, an effort but not an exploit. Then he explained further, that it was going to take 13 months, covering 3,000 miles.

I dropped my Guinness.

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Time to define. How will Saratoga 2015 be defined?

A lot of ways, for a lot of people – some good, some bad, some career-changing, some life-altering. We don’t look at stats about handle, attendance, fan enhancement or economic impact. We look at the human and equine impact.

Here are a few…