In the Paddock

Contributions from managing editor and writer Tom Law.


Jane Crager buzzed into The Saratoga Special office Thursday afternoon, new sandwich board in hand and an update on the significance of July 26.

Day Tripper

A passport isn’t something needed or even thought about during the course of writing, editing, producing and distributing The Saratoga Special.

Not so fast

The sound of the snowplows outside the window started relatively early, at least by “offseason” standards here in Saratoga. Up and down the nearby streets they went as the coffee pot in the kitchen bubbled and burped.

The end, again

A thin layer of frost covered the grass and the thermometer read a mere 20 degrees as a red-orange cloud hung high in the sky as the final official day of training in Saratoga started to unfold.

Three Decades

The scrap of paper, torn from one of those desk calendars you buy at Staples and jot notes on every month, passes from training log to training log every year.

First impressions

Spend roughly 14 hours in the car yesterday driving from Lexington to Saratoga – thanks for the accident Cincinnati, costing me an hour – and wondered what things might look like back home after two-plus weeks on the road.

First impressions last night - after time in Kentucky for Keeneland, the Derby and Oaks - and after arriving to sub 50-degree temps a little after 9 p.m. were pretty good. Truth be told it was dark. So what about this morning?

The grass is starting to green up nicely and the trees are about half leafed out. Is that even a thing?

The backyard, savaged by a couple years of chickens, needs some serious work. The patches where there is grass looks pretty solid though.

Needing to weed the small row of strawberries, something is invading.

The hops planted last spring look like they’re coming back, at least that’s what I think. Do hops come back year to year?

The college students renting in the neighborhood are still in town. Watching them leave Lexington seemed pleasing to my Kentucky host. They don’t generally present a bother, but when is graduation?

Do L.L. Bean, Sundance, Eastbay and so many others need to produce so many catalogs?

Bills, bills, bills.

Smokie The Cat seems no worse for the wear after nearly three weeks at the sitter. Thanks Bev.

The fridge now contains a couple six-packs of Lexington’s best beer, half and half purchased last night and plenty of condiments. Time to hit the grocery.

Flowers in the front still blooming and colorful and small bushes starting to bounce back from the long winter.

There’s a sign nearby about the Farmer’s Market going Saturdays, right behind the house. They have it Wednesday, too. Guess where dinner is coming from tonight?

Alternate side parking is a thing of the past now on Circular Street. At least until fall.

The bike survived the down and back trip – plus plenty of rides down there. Time to get back on and get going with the efforts to make this city more bike friendly.

First trip, the Oklahoma Training Track. The horses have been there for nearly a month. Time to get rolling.

Only 71 days until Opening Day.

Turning 18

Standing on the hill at Keeneland, outside Doug O’Neill’s barn and waiting for Blue Grass winner Irap to go to the track for his final workout before last weekend’s Kentucky Derby, a colleague pitched a question that got me thinking.

And snow it begins

The buzz started before the weekend was through. Snow was on the way to upstate New York, a surprising revelation to some even though we live in, ahem, upstate New York.

Once the coffee gets cold

The lights flickered and the screen of my office iMac went dark just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Early spring?

There’s an old saying out there that the cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea. Someone needs to come up with one about sunshine, too, because as winter set in for good in the Northeast the last few weeks a little bit of the bright stuff is undoubtedly a tonic for anything that ails.

Breeders' Cup memories

They say you always remember your first.

Your first Breeders' Cup, that is.

What was your first?