The Rail goes to ‘The Rail’

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One or two posts a week. After getting a few columns from our site linked to The Rail, a Thoroughbred racing blog section of The New York Times website, in 2011-12, I asked about being a regular contributor.

Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert, the NYT’s racing writers, said yes and there’s my byline on the Times website this week. I don’t really need more to write, but it’s good for business and an even better exercise. They say the best stuff comes from writers who are overwhelmed, pushed to the limit, unsure whether they can pull off the project. I feel like that frequently, but I’m not sure the theory holds. But I’ve got a lot to write. 

Back to the NYT. The Rail pulls together several writers from around racing, much like The Times does for other topics such as politics, health, technology, grammar, baseball, hockey, golf, fashion and a long list of other topics. The concept puts racing on par with other sports and news, collects content, presents it for readers. I love the concept, which runs through the Triple Crown. I also love the name. The Rail makes me think of leaning on one – watching horses and people on the racetrack.

The editors said to make the first post something personal so I wrote about Shecky Greene, Fourmatt, Dandy Danny, a personal hero Lonnie Fuller and how I went from hotwalker to racing writer – satisfying both branches of my family tree at once. It was fun to write, and was read by everyone from relatives to neighbors to some guy named Billyspeed in Ashland, Oregon (he commented).

Next came today’s post about Vyjack, the only 2013 Kentucky Derby entrant I’ve met – thus far. He’s a cool horse, really likes to roll in the sand. I’m glad I got to meet him, even took my 11-year-old son Nolan for a visit before school. Seven years ago, I took Nolan’s brother to see Barbaro train before school. The Vyjack post is supposed to be up Wednesday morning. Let me know if you don’t see it.

We’ll see where it goes – I’ve got ideas and we’ll even pull a few links from to share the love – but make sure get to The Rail for a look.