Write Off

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It’s that time of year . . . when you lament what you didn’t do instead of promising what you’re going to do. It’s nearly over. Three remaining issues, that’s it until next year.

As for this space, I’ve written 31 columns (I guess this suffices as 32) but I barely scratched the surface of Saratoga . . . 

I was going to write about Jack Brothers’ daughter Katelyn, who’s a speech pathologist in Manhattan, who met my second cousin, who had a stroke. Part of the therapy is talking, they started talking horses and made an instant bond.

I was going to write about the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and how the jockeys had organized a way of permanently funding it and how the owners should follow suit.

I was going to write about Saratoga War Horse.

I was going to write about Tammy Fox introducing herself to a 4-year-old boy at the sales and introducing him to a yearling and how a reader, Jim Oplinger, brought a letter and photos to the office, explaining how important it was for Jack and to highlight the warm caring side of “horse people.”

I was going to about the woman who works on the gate crew. Yes, a woman on the gate crew. She’s got to be a first. They say she’s good.

I was going to write about what happens to my desk every day as it starts off clean and pristine, it ends looking like the inner turf course after a hard day of turf sprints. At the moment, it holds a roll of duct tape, a half-eaten peanut butter cookie, four assorted bags, an empty oatmeal container, two microphone boxes, three Forms, five baseball hats, a package of tomato-contest photos, three Goffs catalogues, a banana (long since ripe), seven letters needing responses, a hard drive backup that I hope has the last four years of work on it which I erased somewhere in the madness of the season (I’m still afraid to look), pages and pages of loose paper, a copy of Saratoga Days meant to be signed for somebody but I can’t remember whom and a laptop doing overtime.

I was going to write about Janice Blake-Baeza and her book, How to Exercise a Thoroughbred Race Horse.

I was going to write about my friend at Jonathan Sheppard’s who takes a paper every day and smiles from under his straw hat, he must have stories to fill a season of columns.

I was going to write about Edgar Prado and Bob Klesaris, joining forces again to see if they can finish what they started so many Hall of Fame years ago.

I was going to write about how it scares me to think they’ll change Saratoga, change the character, change the mystique, change how the jockeys walk through the crowd, change how the horses are saddled under the trees, change how the wood feels under your feet, how the trees feel over your head. It will never get any better than it is right now.

I was going to write about the dogs.

I was going to write about the walks from the parking lot to the races, the conversations with Jimmy Dintino, Jonathan Sheppard, Bronson Thayer . . . all different, all the same.

I was going to write about the traffic patterns that have no patterns.

I was going to write about the kid Steve Byk told me about in the paddock Wednesday, the kid who fought the good fight.

I was going to write about the lead ponies.

I was going to write about Meg and Bryan’s friends, Ken and Anne Cornell, who run Cornell-Crest East Farm in Schuylerville and the job they do raising horses and children.

I was going to write a how-to instruction manual on how to steal two Travers Canoes.

I was going to write reviews, or at least Q and A’s, on all the books sent to me over the past year, from Garrett Gomez’s to something about a queen and a windstorm.

I was going to write how I wish all the people who owe us for advertising would pay us.

I was going to write about how we should all take a good look around because this place might never be the same.

I was going to write about how they didn’t even take two turns of the paddock for the Travers and how sad it is to see traditions fade away.

I was going to write about how I miss my own bed.

I was going to write . . .