The Inside Rail

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


Big weekend last week.

Birthdays and Racedays

I turned 48 Monday. I’m OK with that. Happy to be here. As we get older, some lament another birthday, wishing to be younger. I don’t wish to be younger, wiser, perhaps, but not younger. I think about our friends who aren’t here and think about how much they would want (their family and friends would want) another birthday, just one more birthday, then I don’t dare wish to go back in time, I try to cherish a day, a day in the now. Not my specialty, but that’s what I try to do. The highlight of my birthday was when Miles stood up and gave a toast to his dad, now that was a birthday present.

Valdez at Cheltenham – Poof

Ben Bradlee has nothing on Tim Keefe.

“I looked Friday night, Saturday, looked Sunday, looked Monday,” Keefe said. “I said to myself, ‘Sean’s not going to write about this? I can’t believe it. Of all the things he’s written about…he’s not going to write about this?”

Good Morning

Sometimes I forget. It doesn’t take long to remind me.

Silence is Good

It’s been a week. No phone calls. Which is good news. As an owner, you know phone calls only bring bad news. Like waiting for the draft.

Counting the Days

There it is in cold, hard print next to Valdez’s name. 1204. Yeah, 1,204 days since his last run. We knew it had been a while, since that fateful day at Chepstow, two, three, four years ago…yeah, the day he fell, slid, strained, the day the house of cards came down.

The Fisher Eclipse

A barn divided…

Nah, not really, but around the Jack Fisher barn in Butler, Md., hearts were with Mr. Hot Stuff, heads, if pushed, were with Scorpiancer. The latter, with a 2-for-2 season that included a dominant win in the Grade 1 Iroquois, won the Eclipse Award as champion steeplechase horse for 2017. The former, riding a one-hit wonder in the Grand National, wound up third in the voting. The Jonathan Sheppard-trained All The Way Jose finished second, an independent between Fisher’s bookends.

Crack of Dawn

There is nothing that will wake you up quicker than a European horse sale. Well, there is nothing that will wake me up quicker than a European horse sale. The texts started beeping at 5:05 Tuesday morning.

Sharing a Derby Sandwich

It was 2001, my first spring off the steeplechase circuit and I had gotten to the Derby. Getting to the Derby and enjoying the Derby are two different things.

My friend, Tony Reinstedler, said he had a place for me to stay. He did – in a tent in his backyard off Baxter Street. No problem, we weren’t sleeping much.