Periodic columns from our staff and the occasional guest.


I always look. Just a token, wistful, wishful glance, never in the front, knowing that’s out of reach and surely you’d know, but thinking perhaps in the back, the asterisk column of The Best American Sports Writing. It’s called notable sports writing (from the previous year). This year, I escaped to the three-door privacy of the bathroom in the first-floor guestroom in my brother and sister-in-law’s house on Deerfield Lake in Shelby County, Alabama. Book in hand, a moment of peace.

Boxing Day Special – December 26

Christmas in Alabama. Mad dashes to the Summit, jazz band and a bloody Mary at Shae’s, talk of eight-points and Busch beer, baseball on the lawn and walks around the lake. Not my Christmas, but certainly Miles’.

A Winter's Tale: Kalashnikov

It’s that time of year, when National Hunt racing has begun in earnest. The weather has turned, the ground has softened and names like Tingle Creek, King George and Fighting Fifth have returned as headliners.

Good Bye, Harry

Harry Leslie Smith died Wednesday. He was 95.

Farewell Friend

Rick Violette passed away more than a month ago. That still seems difficult to believe, let alone write. The news of Rick’s passing trickled in the afternoon of Oct. 21 through the usual channels, by phone calls from friends, social media or news reports online, and hit the game hard.

Country Living

“What is that?”

Of all the questions in all the world, there is nothing like that question when it comes to living in the country. Sometimes, it’s from Miles. Sometimes, it’s from Annie, she will add “the hell” in there. And sometimes it’s me, with “the f***” added in for good measure.

Real Horse Power

Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop . . . the hoofbeats closed in as I crossed Union Avenue toward the Oklahoma stable area at Saratoga Race Course. About halfway across, I looked back and a big-but-little bay horse was on my heels and closing in.

He reminded me of a first-grader at recess on the first day of school. Unsure. Shaky. Lost in a “I've-never-been here-before” way. 

“Come on, you can do it,” I found myself instinctively saying.

No Poof

Valdez made his seasonal reappearance Saturday. The 11-year-old veteran jumped straight and true, gave us a moment of interest, a hint of hope and then faded, pulling up before the last in the handicap chase at Ascot. The windmill is slowing. At least, I guess, it didn’t go poof. Remember, when it went poof back in March? 

Here's that one. 

November Plans

It’s November. Time for Thanksgiving. Time to regroup.