Opinions

Periodic columns from our staff and the occasional guest.

Short Lists and Plane Rides

There is nothing like the separation, the sequester, the purgatory of a plane ride. Especially one from overseas. London Heathrow to Washington Dulles. I lost the timeframe in the pilot’s opening salvo…delay…headwind…make up time in the air…eight, hour hours, some amount of minutes. I’m on my third movie, after a fitful nap, maybe two, and a serving of pancetta macaroni and cheese (actually not bad) and wondering what I’m missing down below.

No Words

I’ve been trying to put Far Hills into words and will at some point this week. Here and in the Irish Field. 

Wicklow Brave

Irish trainer Willie Mullins answered his phone on the third ring. Maybe the second. I was impressed. A late-afternoon call from America was probably not high on his list of things to manage last Thursday, but he answered and we talked for 10 minutes.

If we hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t feel so bad today.

Thirty: Fisher chases training record

That’s 30. Trainer Jack Fisher won two races Saturday at Shawan Downs to reach 30 steeplechase wins on the season. He’s dominated all year, but maybe now is the time to start talking about records.

Paddy Neilson

I would not have become a jockey without Paddy Neilson. 

Before school, my last two years of Unionville High School. Monday to Friday, one set. Eight dollars a horse, plus breakfast. Neilson’s wife, Toinette, toasted cinnamon rolls, I’d run up the steps, take a quick shower, pull on a slightly cleaner set of clothes, eat breakfast and listen to lectures and lessons from my mentors. Toinette, I had known her since she galloped and rode races for my father starting at Delaware Park in the 1970s, a great rider, a great cook, a great friend. She offered subtle points. 

Paddy Neilson

I would not have become a jockey without Paddy Neilson. 

Before school, my last two years of Unionville High School. Monday to Friday, one set. Eight dollars a horse, plus breakfast. Neilson’s wife, Toinette, toasted cinnamon rolls, I’d run up the steps, take a quick shower, pull on a slightly cleaner set of clothes, eat breakfast and listen to lectures and lessons from my mentors. Toinette, I had known her since she galloped and rode races for my father starting at Delaware Park in the 1970s, a great rider, a great cook, a great friend. She offered subtle points.