THE OUTSIDE RAIL | by Joe Clancy

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It took longer than I thought it would.

The final furlong of Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, the one that gave American Pharoah and all of Thoroughbred racing the Triple Crown, lasted about 12 seconds but it seemed like an hour. He was going to win, he was going to make history, he was going to silence 37 years of doubt and slay 37 years of demons. People were going to go crazy. Hell, they were already going crazy up and down the Belmont stand, the noise bellowing in pitch and rolling high and low like some sort of tidal force.

Then time stood still.

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“Do you live in Baltimore?”

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So you want to be a horse trainer…

Jerry Hollendorfer, winner of 6,870 races, Hall of Famer, California legend saddles his horse in the paddock at Charles Town, signs autographs, poses for iPhone photos, wishes his owner luck and starts walking.

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We said goodbye to Steve Graham today. He was a neighbor, a friend, a husband, a father, an uncle, a brother and oh so much more. Today, a “celebration of life” filled a local fire hall and included people he touched from all corners of his life. Two weeks ago, when he was still alive, I wrote this. His wife Denise read it to him and posted it on a table at the memorial service today. She said it was OK to let everyone else read it too.

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Horse racing failed Change Of Command. Not because of drugs or racing surfaces or battery-powered buzzers or any other nefarious scheme on the list of the sport’s problems.