Three days before Christmas means one thing and one thing only at This Is Horse Racing. No, it’s not time for a slate of four bowl games, last-minute shopping quality time on the couch or perhaps a little jazzed up eggnog – not that those are bad things. The end of 2018 means it is time to start the countdown of the most well read stories of the year here at TIHR.
Consider it our version of a Year in Review with some twists and variations since we don’t use a formula, compile the list by a ranking of the staff or use some other secret method.
The list of the top 10 most read stories comes straight from our traffic numbers so as always, consider this list as much yours as ours. Keeping with tradition we’ll start with No. 10 today – December 22 – and work our way to No. 1 in time for a champagne toast or overpriced prix fix dinner New Year’s Eve.
The first story on the countdown goes back on late February and the first Steeplechase Throwback Thursday piece of the year. Titled “The First Winterthur Point-to-Point,” the piece took a look at the inaugural meeting 1979.
“You’ve got to start somewhere,” Joe Clancy wrote. “The first Winterthur Point-to-Point shared a page deep in the Wilmington Morning News sports section with coverage of pacer No No Yankee’s upset loss to Richmond at Brandywine Raceway – in front of 5,373 – the night before. The handle was $481,589, presumably all on-track.”
Joe caught up with Paddy Neilson, a steeplechase trainer and jockey, and one of the initial course designers of Winterthur, to talk about that first meeting. Neilson credited Greta Brown Layton, better known as “Greets” Layton and a 40-year member of the Winterthur board who “thought a point-to-point would help generate interest in the museum, a former du Pont family estate with a collection of 90,000 objects made in America between 1640 and 1860, a 60-acre garden and 1,000 acres of preserved meadows and woodlands.”
As Neilson said, “She wanted to use the races as a way to get people to the grounds. It was terrific. Every now and then people have ideas whose time never comes. This was an idea whose time came.”
The story ran February 22 and is No. 10 on the Top 10 for 2018.
Check back Sunday for No. 9.