THE INSIDE RAIL | by Sean Clancy

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

Hello, neighbor.

I found Wicked Strong. Finally. For months, I had been talking about going to see the Jim Dandy winner. I hate to say it, yes, months. As the crow flies, he’d been living about two miles from me at Centennial’s Middleburg farm. I’ve jogged past his barn, driven past his paddock, talked about going to see him, planned on going to see him. Finally I stopped to say hello. Evidently, I even need deadlines to visit horses, as I knew he would be leaving soon. Better get there.

Every once in a while, in mid-sentence or mid-battle of mid sentence, when the words aren’t coming and I’m toiling, I lean back and grab a book off the shelf to the right of my desk. It’s a wide variety – the Red Smith Reader, Paul Theroux’s To the Ends of the Earth, Kerouac’s On the Road, The Art of Fielding, Tesio’s Breeding the Racehorse…some I’ve even read.

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

Miles turns 6 today. What a journey.

Before Miles, I used to think there was a chance of getting hurt, of feeling pain. Now I realize the true potential of getting hurt, of feeling pain. When he was born, everything changed. I guess it’s like this for all parents – I hope it’s like this for all parents. I remember lying on a hospital cot, next to Annie, the night after he was born, I folded my hands across my chest and recited this crazy prayer that I had recited for so many years. I started it and it had changed, just like that, the first person I blessed was Miles, didn’t think about it, just came out. I realized then how different things would be from that day forward.

Over the years, I’ve written about Miles, his laughs, his fears, his sayings. Here are a few.

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

Here's the third and final chapter of my final days as a jockey. Written in 2000 and somehow discovered again in 2014. Enjoy the ride. 

It was the coldest, wettest, most miserable (weather-wise) day of racing in my 13-year career. No one who didn’t have to be there was there. Every person at the races had a job at the races. There weren’t any spectators. Camden usually offers mild, warm weather. On this day, it was brutal. It rained for two days straight and got colder by the hour. What a fitting way to end it. A book should always end with a lightning strike rather than a sunset.

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

Here’s the second part to “A Jump Jockey: The Final Days.” Written after my last fall at Far Hills in October, 2000 and about my final day as a jockey, the Colonial Cup 2000. 

Read the first excerpt here.  

There was only one thing left to do. Ride at Camden. Jockeys retire at Camden at the Colonial Cup meet in November. Not after falling at Far Hills or quitting in the middle of the season. It’s Camden in the fall. That’s where you retire. That’s how Jeff Teter did it. That’s how Ricky Hendriks did it. Both after winning the Colonial Cup. That’s what I wanted.