And this is calendar time.

THE OUTSIDE RAIL | by Joe Clancy

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How about this for juxtaposition? The riding horse for visitors at Jonathan Sheppard’s barn is three years younger than the Grade 1-winning champion the visitors want to see.

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Wednesday morning, I went to Lizzie Merryman’s barn at Fair Hill Training Center to check on Maryland Million runner Roadhog. I know the drill. Say hello, give him a pat on the nose, rub his ear, ask Merryman how he’s doing, get a feel for the situation and watch him train.

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You going racing this weekend? Good stuff all over, especially at Parx Racing (which is still difficult to type – had to delete Philadelphia Park) which features the return of California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby and a scary good rendition of the Grade 1 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies.

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You wonder how anyone can do it. How do people work with racehorses, closely? How do they care so much? How do they worry about every little detail – the feed, the bedding, the hay, the bandages, the riders, the tack, the dust, the coat, the hooves, the flies, the coughs, the saddle pads, the water, the electrolytes, the heart, the back, the tendons, the knees, the ankles, the airway, the mane, the tail, the eyes. 

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It took a rainy day to make me write this column. It’s been circulating – the interview happened 10 days ago and the interview notes have been open on my laptop for a solid week. 

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