The Inside Rail

Part underground newspaper, part town crier, The Saratoga Special serves as our public front. As a reader said to me, "You don't understand, we know all of you like you're family, we've watched the kids grow up, we know your good days, your bad days, we know everything about you."

Well, not everything. Here's what you might not know.

We learned our horsemanship from our father, our grammar from our mother.

We check the spelling and the facts for The Chief's excerpt, but as Jimmy Jerkens once said, 'How accurate do you want to be? Some of the best stories aren't always accurate.' It's pretty close and if we spell a name wrong, correct us, but don't berate us.

Joe Clancy Jr., the writer/editor/publisher is my brother. Joe Clancy Sr., the retired horse trainer, is my dad.

We root for obscurity. Every day, every race, we root for the little guy, just to tell a different tale, an original story.

Our office jokes are hilarious, on deadline, rung out, punchy, we laugh at Tom Law's Spanish accent, at nicknames, at impromptu skits, like, fall on the floor, laugh. The next day, when we repeat them in the cold light of day, people look at us like we're either insane or inane.

If you hear a burglar/fire alarm ringing in the middle of the night, near Spring Street, it's probably us. If you come visit, don't linger in the vestibule.

There is a going-out-of-business issue, it is designed, ready, under the glass bubble, like the button for the bomb. One press and we spill all the stories we could never tell.

We've never missed a deadline (completely), but we've had issues postponed or canceled due to a hurricane and a heat wave.

The best way to never receive a reply to an email is to send it to Joe and me. He thinks I'll respond, I think he'll respond.

We don't really want to write about Thoroughbred racing every day year round. Six weeks satisfies our needs. We don't ever want to feel like it's a job.

Collectively, this is the best group of interns in our 16 years. Individually, we've had some legends, but as a whole, this is the best group. Upbeat, prepared, knowledgeable and able to laugh in moments of crisis, they will go places.

We expect great things from our interns

Joe has three kids - Ryan, Jack and Nolan. I have one - Miles. Tom has three chickens, a dog and a cat.

If you bring beer to the office, Tom and I prefer craft IPA with meandering, mountain-themed names and colorful labels. Joe likes those too, but has more of a refined palate, stouts and porters, but we accept and appreciate all donations.

We survive on advertising. There is always room for more advertising.

If The Special was a house, Joe would be the foundation, Tom would be the frame, I'd be the spackle and our wives would be the roof.

Over the years, we have each cried over a horse, a child and/or a woman.

If they banned betting on the races, we'd still enjoy the races.

We owe part of our first year success to Sam Slater. If you know him, thank him.

We once paddled the Travers Canoe into the center of the lake and took a picture.

When we started, we had hundreds of papers left over each day, sometimes thousands. Our cars looked like recycling centers. Now, we scramble for a few copies to bring to the office.

We are nearing the 500th edition of The Special.

One of our secrets to good reporting is standing between the interviewee and the door, that way they can't get past us.

We aren't sure we would have made it through the first year without Toadie Taylor, Mark Hennig, Charlie Boden and Paul Wasserman.

We used to charge a dollar for the paper.

If we owned horses, lots of horses, we'd send two horses to each trainer we respected and trusted, and hoped others would follow.

Calvin Borel provided our favorite quote in the history of The Special, "Me and my agent, we been up and we been down but we always been consistent."

The paper is printed by the Times Union in Albany, it shows up on our doorstep every morning. Yes, we are sometimes surprised it is there.

We usually walk out of the office by midnight, but have been here at 3 in the morning. Yes, we once finished the paper, danced on Caroline Street, came home to the paper on the porch and delivered it then.

I rode jumpers for 13 years. Joe rode flat races at the jump meets. Tom has never ridden a stick horse.

Joe went to journalism school. I did not.

Tom Law has made the biggest contribution to the quality of The Special since joining the team three seasons ago.

Sometimes, I write a column from nothing.

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