The Inside Rail

A few readers have told us that they save up The Specials all summer, then pull them out and read them one by one in the dead of a Saratoga winter. 

 Can’t you see Rich Cristiano, Bob Giordano, Maggie Sweet, Rob Griffo, hell, Tom Law sidling up next to the fire when there’s three feet of snow and the wind is bending their houses like broken cornstalks and read about summer in Saratoga. 

A few, OK, one reader told us he doesn’t read a word of The Special during the meet, but saves each copy for the winter and pulls it out each morning, starting on New Year’s Day. 

“Hey, you know how much is going on the summer here and how little is going on in the winter? It’s the best. Makes me feel like summer isn’t too far away.” 

Guess, that tells you what he thinks of our handicapping.

As for me, I save phone messages until after the meet. I’ll listen to them once as quickly as I can while I’m here, just to make sure there isn’t an ad to be sold or a story to be told, then I save them for later. Not quite as romantic and inspiring as saving The Special until the winter and it’s due mostly to time constraints during the meet, but it does make for interesting listening once away from the grindstone. I always say I’m going to return the calls and sometimes do, but, I usually don’t. Sorry, callers. Listening to random readers who took the time to call and express their thoughts, concerns, plaudits or laughs (I erase the gripes), that’s the best. 

Here are the greatest hits.

“My name is Richard Klein, I just called to tell you that the article your newspaper and Catlyn Spivey did on Ida’s horse, it was absolutely beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes, and my father and my family’s eyes on how well it was done and how special it was about my mother, the horse and the real Miz Ida.”

That was from 2013. Thanks, Richard. It also made me realize I forgot Spivey in the list of Special interns, we’re proud of her as she buys runners and moves to New Zealand.

“Good morning this is Sandy Small calling. I was up there in Saratoga last week and I could not find any copies of The Saratoga Special. I looked all over the racetrack. Can you enlighten me for my next trip to the racetrack? Thank you.”

Sorry, Sandy, not sure why you couldn’t find the paper back in 2016, but keep trying and if you can’t find it, call me again (I’ll answer this time).

“Yes, good afternoon Mr. Sean Clancy, I’m an avid reader of The Saratoga Special and I’m looking at the Tuesday, August 9th edition, I’m reading the sales recap and I believe there’s a mistake in the percentage of the median price, I think it should be up 6.7, rather than 6.3. Thanks for your time and again I enjoy reading your paper very much.”

Thanks for the call, we’ll tell the mathematics division of The Special and don’t tell Boyd Browning that we gypped them .4 percent. 

“Mr. Clancy, my name is Dan, no need to call me back. I just wanted to tell you I read your article on Arrogate’s win yesterday, I just love your paper, I don’t get to read it as often as I like because I’ve got a job, a 3-year-old and a family at home, but when I do read it, it just puts me in such a good mood. I usually just read the Worth Repeatings and I can never get to the articles, but this time, I read the article and I just love the way you tell the story behind the story, you don’t just recap it, I could read 40 recaps of the race, you tell the story about the prince, Baffert, the doctor, the history of them buying all the horses, I really, really enjoyed that. Congratulations on what you’re doing, I’m just a small-time horse owner who doesn’t get there as often as I like but I’m noticing. Have a great day and a great rest of the season.”

Dan, you made my day that day and again today. 

“Yeah, Sean, my name is Pat. I’ve been a groom, on the racetrack for 64 years, I’ve got a nice short story, it’s about the grooms in the early 40s and early 50s and how tough it was, give me a call, I think it’s a nice story. OK.”

Sorry, Pat, forgot all about this. Call me again and you can tell me the story.

“Yeah, Sean, I’m a reader of the magazine every day. The Worth Repeating from Erma Scott is crazy. ‘It’s not the program, it’s The Special.’ Can we have an Erma Scott column for the rest of the meet? She’s awesome. She’s hilarious. Keep it up, dude, keep it up.” 

Now, that’s a great idea. 

From Richard to Dan to the anonymous callers, thanks for calling and thanks for reading.