THE OUTSIDE RAIL | by Joe Clancy

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Katherine “Kat” Zwiesler was 12 years old, aboard a horse named Gambling Man at Sharp Farm in Delaware and really wanted to be somewhere – anywhere – else. 

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Got a half-hour? Park your car, decline a golf-cart ride, walk a bit, then find a fence to lean on beside a maple tree. It’s 6:09 in the morning and a cool breeze puffs under that maple tree next to that fence.

On the horsepath, road and racetrack shaded by that tree a morning unfolds.

“Morning sir.” “How you doing?” “Tired already.”

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Here we are again. Fifteen years ago, we packed up much of what we owned and drove north to Saratoga to start a daily newspaper. 

It was chaos. 

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What are you doing Thursday night? If you live anywhere near Wilmington, Del., get to Theatre N and see “Being AP.” The documentary chronicles the last season of jump jockey Tony McCoy’s career.

McCoy, if you don’t know, was the dominant jockey in English/Irish National Hunt Racing and arguably the most dominant athlete of his time no matter the sport.

If you’re alive in 2016, you probably know someone. If you’re in Thoroughbred racing in 2016, you know someone. Or at least that’s the way it seems when it comes to alcoholism and its connection to racing, and everyday life.

I know a whole lot of people who are recovering alcoholics. Many are in racing. Some are quite close to me. I admire their courage, their ability to set aside that part of their lives, their skill at living one day at a time in sobriety and sanity. They didn’t destroy their lives, though some tell me they almost did, and they pretty much all left at least some destruction behind them.