The Outside Rail

Contributions from TIHR co-founder, editor and writer Joe Clancy.

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.

Little Big Time

Friday, Luis Carvajal Jr. had three runners at his New Jersey base, Monmouth Park, and needed to be there. He also needed to be at Saratoga to watch stable star Imperial Hint put in his final training session for Saturday’s Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes – so he did both.

True Calling

They don’t make horses like Quick Call anymore, but that’s OK. The one they did make might just live forever. The 35-year-old gelding is the senior resident of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances farm at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, N.Y.

Fair Hill's Coggins race honors loyal supporter

When eight female hurdle horses line up for Saturday’s Iris Ann Coggins Memorial Stakes at Fair Hill, they’ll help honor someone who saw their value. Coggins, who died in 2015, was a loyal volunteer at Fair Hill and a staunch supporter of opportunities for fillies and mares on the racetrack.

Carroll finds right mix with Casse, War Of Will

At the press conference after War Of Will’s Preakness Stakes win Saturday, trainer Mark Casse answered all the questions – even one from an infield lax bro who clearly wasn’t with the media – but also made sure to make a point about someone who wasn’t there.

Thinking about 1984, the Tesio, the Preakness & family

April 14, 1984 makes it more than 35 years ago now. A crowded Pimlico Race Course winner’s circle in the rain. Muddy chestnut horse. Fourteen people. Mom, Dad, Sheila, Sean, Fee the Iranian van driver, owner George Strawbridge, his wife Nina, their kids Sanna and Stewart, super fan Reddy Stewart, super groom Lonnie Fuller, jockey Paul Nicol Jr. and a mostly hidden valet.

Ten minutes with a horse

Calls to make. Calls to return. Bills to pay. Jobs to do. Stories to write. People to see. Answers to give. Questions to ask. Podcast episodes to schedule. E-mails to answer. Grass to cut. Kids to worry about. A plane to catch in a couple days. A knee that won’t stop swelling. 

Life piling up all around you? Take five minutes and go see a horse.

Thanks Buck. Kisor leaves steeplechase memories

Reading his obituary, I probably should have talked to Buck Kisor about money instead of horses and writing. But horses and writing it was.

At steeplechase meets, racetracks and associated events of one kind or another, I’d find myself talking shop with Kisor. He was a good listener, had sound opinions. He admired the product and the process of our newspaper Steeplechase Times. His horses, always at the lower end of the game, even made the pages of ST now and then. Lochnagar won at Middleburg in 1999, finished second four times in 2000 and 2001; Heir Apparent did OK; Sumo Power won twice at Tryon; Gather No Moss came through at Foxfield, and did it again at Morven Park, even placed in the timber stakes at Shawan Downs.