THE INSIDE RAIL | by Sean Clancy

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

I was preaching. Just hours into the first day of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, my hands were waving, my voice quavering, my blue elephant tie flying.

“You’ve seen the changing of the guard. In four minutes, the reigning champion becomes the former champion. Just like that. The public changing of the guard, the coldest cut. He’ll never be back. He might not ever win another race. That’s it. The crowd salutes him their champion in the winner’s enclosure, say goodbye to the champ. Goodbye The Fly.”

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

Nothing like a trip to Kentucky. Seven and a half hours down, eight hours back (drank too much coffee), now home for a few days. Lexington, Kentucky, it’s been called the horse capital of the world. Who could argue after the trip I just made – Medaglia d’Oro, Animal Kingdom, Hard Spun, Street Sense, Elusive Quality (et al) on parade, Blind Luck on the auction block and Wise Dan in a field. Nothing like it.

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

My friends at HRTV asked me to come on the show and talk about the Eclipse Awards for steeplechasing. They asked me to talk about the three finalists – this was before the finalists were announced – and I quickly told them there were only two. Demonstrative and Divine Fortune. 

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

Jockeys smeared Vaseline over their hands, then baby powder, then Latex gloves, then insulated gloves and headed to the paddock at Laurel Park Thursday. The temperature hovered at 15 degrees, at least that’s what was registered. Wind chill, ‘feels-like’ temperature, forget it, that was Shackleton.

Posted by on in The Inside Rail

Night check. Every night, after dinner, we trek to the barn. Some days, it’s comforting, almost therapeutic, a stroll, past the apple tree on the left, winding between the fence rows of the front field and back field, along the stone driveway, down the incline to the bank barn built in 1890. Tonight, it’s anything but comforting, the wind whips like it’s finishing a grudge, my nose instantly drips, on command. I don’t dare check a thermometer. I pull my wool hat down, over my ears, and zip my down jacket to my chin. A stray cat, well, once-a-stray cat meows – more like a screech – from his makeshift bed next to the door. I walk head-on into the wind, the sky is bright for this time of night, one lone light shines from across two cow fields, I wonder if our neighbor is doing night check too.