The Inside Rail

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

Circling the Drain

Coach Chris hit a fly ball during batting practice. Thwack. Logan caught it on the bounce. Another one. Thwack. It skipped past Ben. Another one. Thwack. Ace stabbed it to his right. 

Winners Help

Long weekend coming to a close. Sure, Monday morning feels like part of the weekend. Well, this part of Monday morning, when I’m at the computer, fresh-brewed coffee, wife and son asleep and a blank screen to fill. In a bit, when I walk to the barn to feed Gameboy and bring in Apse, Eagle Poise and Kissin Conquest from the back field, then it’s squarely Monday. But, with a winner and solid efforts in the books, that helps Monday morning barn chores. I’ve done them after losses and I’ve done them after wins. Lightning bolt. Lightning bug. 

Include It offered another strong performance to win the finale at Willowdale. Raw and unpolished in his win at Grand National, the 6-year-old settled in the back, loped along like he was reading a newspaper while waiting for his train stop and motored past It’s Nothing to win easily. A long-term project has come to fruition, thanks to Todd and Blair Wyatt, Eddie Keating, Rosie Allen and the team. We’ll stop with him for the season. Three wins and a second (two point-to-points) and a gaggle of happy owners. Nothing like it. 

Gostisbehere ran well to be second. As he jumped the last in front, I thought he was home free, then I heard Sanna Neilson behind me, yelling for her son Parker. She was bullish, encouraged, verging on confident. I knew we were in trouble before I saw He’ll Do. Two wins and a second (one point-to-point) in three starts for Gostisbehere. We’ll take it. 

Sunday, Douglas Road loped through an apprentice flat race to finish third. Rust. Gone. He’ll go to Virginia Gold Cup for the allowance hurdle. Queens Empire finished third in his hurdle debut, somehow, finding a sweet, settled spot in a messy race when most went off course and some hit the deck. A good introduction to the sport, for him, at least.

Off to the barn. Ah, yes, it’s now Monday.   

For more from The Inside Rail, check out the blog's main page. 

Go Racing

Race Day. Up early, with a to-do list and a departure time. Off to Willowdale for a seven-race card. Weather forecast improving in Pennsylvania while it’s drizzling here in Middleburg. Car full of hats, boots, jackets. Hopefully, they stay there. But it is Willowdale when the weather seems to play lead role more often than not. 

Miles’ baseball game in jeopardy tonight. We are riding a win streak. Of one. 

Two Riverdee runners at Willowdale. Gostisbehere coming right back after winning a maiden claimer two weeks ago. He took the most important drop in racing, from a maiden to a maiden claimer and now he takes the most important hike, from a maiden claimer to facing winners. Hall of Fame trainer Jack Fisher and leading jockey Graham Watters at the helm, two things I never thought I’d type. Well, the latter, sure, especially after landing the job as first-call for Fisher this year and the former, I guess, as wins piled up but certainly not when I was riding first call for him in 1994. Congratulations, Jack, now let’s keep it rolling. 

Include It returns from a win at the Grand National April 17 for Todd Wyatt and Eddie Keating. The 6-year-old takes on seven rivals in another amateur/apprentice timber to close the card. We have taken our time with the Maryland-bred and he seems to have enjoyed the switch to timber. Hopefully, it continues. 

Queens Empire makes his hurdle debut and Douglas Road makes his return on the flat at Middleburg Point-to-Point Sunday. 

After a sequestered year, a doubleheader of racing sounds good. 

For more from The Inside Rail, check out the blog's main page. 

They don't run themselves

As Coach Tom Law says, "The miles don't run themselves."

I need deadlines. Everybody needs deadlines. 


That's the average daily mileage for the rest of the year to achieve the iRun Local Challenge. 

Time to get to work. 


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