Opinions - 2013 - 2015

Free Days

Third Friday, second Saturday...guess, we needed a runner Sunday. I call days when we have a runner, free days. It gives you something to think about all day, it's a free day. Watching Alzammaar Friday morning, while turning our living room into Narnia and our back yard into a scavenger hunt, was a free day. Miles, 7, had a great birthday, I asked him to rank it on a scale of 1 to 10, he said, "Dad, it was 400. 

Sunny Saratoga

The calendar reads December 10. It feels more like October 10, or maybe April 10. Regardless we'll take it here in upstate New York, where we gutted out a brutal winter that started before Thanksgiving 2014 and extended until nearly April this year.

Unwrap the Halter, take off the bandages

Could be worse. I just got a call from our van driver, he was sideswiped on 95 and wound up in the guardrail, then the ditch. Hurt his shoulder, "Feels like when you fall off a horse." I know the feeling. Horse isn't going anywhere today. As I tell Miles, "There are big problems and little problems." The horse staying another day is a little problem, crashing and winding up in the hospital is a big problem.

Reindeer Run

The text pinged a little after 8 p.m. last Friday - Black Friday to some, not for our camp that spent the day hiking at the Mohonk Preserve in the Catskills - asking if we'd be game to "venture back south for our annual tradition of the Reindeer Run on 12/4?"

Thoughts for Friday

Condolences and congratulations. Another board meeting. It seems when you reach 40 (or so), you get elected to boards. A lot of boards. As Dale Thiel said, "You can't complain if you don't get involved." I have now done both - complain and get involved.

Goodbye, Season

All we ask for is clarity. That's what the Colonial Cup was designed to provide. Clarity. One defining race to put a lid on the year. Mrs. Marion du Pont Scott nailed it when she created the $100,000 classic in 1970. She wanted a championship race and she got a championship race.

The Colonial Cup: The Last Stop

Colonia Cup morning. For American jump jockeys, this is it, the end of the line, the end of a long season that began in March and meandered through a dozen states, a weekend jigsaw puzzle of air miles and hard miles, highs and lows, bruises and bonanzas.

The Long Lost Rush

Goodbye, Pat Eddery. Sad end to a long, slow slide for one of the greats. Daring and definitive in the saddle, flawed and fragile out of it, the 63-year-old died Tuesday. Alcoholism. His daughter, Natasha, blamed alcoholism on Instagram, she didn't sugarcoat it. Tough loss. Tough post. 

Who's the next horse, Tom?

Racing fan Nick Cerza relaxed with a cheese plate and a pint from a legendary Vermont brewery as he presented the question of the season - or maybe the year - Saturday night just outside the warmth and orange glow from the Henry Street Taproom fireplace Saturday night.

Breeders' Cup: A Parade of One

Back to reality after the Breeders' Cup. Whew, big difference going from standing on the rail with a microphone as Golden Horn, Runhappy and American Pharoah jaunt around Keeneland to walking around the farm with Miles, looking at retirees and rehabbers, although, Eagle Poise still moves like a machine as he gallops around the backfield. He's still the track record holder at a mile and three quarters at Woodbine, as I was reminded on Twitter this week. That's cool. Now, to find another...

Reunion at the Breeders' Cup

We loosely called ourselves the "OTB Club."

At various times of the week, when all our classes for the day at Castleton State College were finished, we'd pile in the car and make the 20-minute drive across the state line to catch the races at the Whitehall OTB. Located up on a hill on Route 18 across from a cemetery, the OTB parlor shared space with a restaurant and bar.

Why I go to the Breeders' Cup

The trips have simply gotten harder to make. Miles, Annie, farm, expectations, life... 

My first Breeders' Cup lit up my world, 1997. I figured I could break even if I bought a plane ticket, slept on a couch and wrote a feature about jockeys for The Blood-Horse. Skip Away won the Classic with Mike Smith. I spent the afternoon in the jocks' room and wound up with a honorable mention for the Eclipse Award - and better yet -  I broke even on the trip