And this is the final week of racing at Saratoga.

THE INSIDE RAIL | by Sean Clancy

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Two years ago, I needed a column. Wandering and wondering, I walked down Gridley Street and found an 18-year-old wide-eyed kid pulling his tack off a horse.  

In 2012, Dylan Davis wanted to be a jockey. In 2014, he is a jockey.

Wednesday, Davis won his third race of the meet, steering first-time starter Ms Eileen to win the fifth. It was career win number 174 for Davis. Saratoga isn’t easy for any jockey and it hasn’t been easy for Davis. If he’s questioned it or he’s frustrated by it, you’d never know. Every day, he and his agent Mike Kelly, upbeat, walk the beat. For weeks, Davis has laughed when he’s seen The Special’s team, “I want to make The Special. Before the meet’s over, I want to make The Special.”

This is how far you’ve come, kid.

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Time for a walk.

With a stiff neck, no afternoon races and an off-in-the-distance deadline, I go for a walk Tuesday morning. For six weeks, my exercise has consisted of reaching down and turning the key to the golf cart, moving papers from cart to rack and walking across the street to pick up dinner at Spring Street.

I needed the walk.

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Garrett O’Rourke met Bill Mott at the foot of the winner’s circle after the Personal Ensign. Mott has a way of silently making people talk, he just kind of stares at you until you fill space with observations.

“She’s just that good,” O’Rourke said.

Mott smiled.

Close Hatches is that good.

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Shug McGaughey watched his first Travers, or at least the first one he recalls, from a tack room at Belmont Park.

It was 1978. Laz Barrera had Affirmed. John Veitch had Alydar. McGaughey had nothing but a TV. Affirmed bumped Alydar, got disqualified and everybody left empty.

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Harvey Vanier used to say rainy days were for getting his horses fitter than everybody else’s. Every day it rained, you’d see maroon saddle towels whizzing past, splashing through the mud, hooves rattling the base, while other trainers’ horses stayed dry. Now there’s something to be said for keeping horses off bad tracks, but the Travers-winning trainer had a point. There are advantages to rainy days.


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