The Inside Rail

Two at the Top

Rough day at Callaway Gardens Saturday. Jockeys and horses hitting the ground. Stellar racing. With a cost.

Carrying Jack Doyle’s whip to a somber jocks’ room after the last, I wondered about blessings in disguise and all the years when we wished for Montpelier and Callaway Gardens to be on separate days, allowing for more runners, better racing at both storied venues. Well, this year we got our wish with full fields at Montpelier in Virginia Nov. 2 and at Callaway Gardens in Georgia a week later. Full fields of fast horses and determined jockeys on a tight, right-handed, demanding course. A cauldron. There was nowhere to hide.

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No Jet Lag

No jet lag here. 

I have clambered onto the plane straight from the Far Hills Steeplechase, from the International Gold Cup, from one race after another after losses for a long, restless overnight plane to the United Kingdom for a long, restless week at the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale. After losses, the plane ride feels like purgatory, a stewing of disappointment and deflation.

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The Penalty Box

“I’m in the penalty box.”

That’s how a friend of mine describes when his stable goes in a slump.

The first time he said it, I said, “What?”

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Road Trip Leg 2-3

So far, so good.

The road trip has gone smoothly – so far. We skirted one snafu when we received an email about the Cape May Ferry cancelling our two bookings (4:30 looked too early and 6:00 looked too late) due to mechanical issues. I called the number Siri gave me and hit 5 for customer service.

“Hello this is Bill from the Cape May Ferry. How can I help you?”

Bill informed me that the email was wrong. Whew. Now, about the timing.

“The rule of thumb is 45 minutes before scheduled departure…”

“What if I get there at 4:15…”

“You’ll never make it, lines at the toll booths, the rescheduling…”

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Cheltenham…Poof

Ben Bradlee has nothing on Tim Keefe.

“I looked Friday night, Saturday, looked Sunday, looked Monday,” Keefe said. “I said to myself, ‘Sean’s not going to write about this? I can’t believe it. Of all the things he’s written about…he’s not going to write about this?”

Editors.

Here goes.

Valdez lost jockey Wayne Hutchinson at the third fence in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham Friday.

There, I wrote it.

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Living the Dream

I thought he won. I was almost confident, well, as confident as you can be in a photo finish. Live, I thought City Dreamer had gotten there, nailing horses to his inside in the final strides of the Marcellus Frost Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase Saturday. I didn’t know who the inside horses were, didn’t care, I just thought Sean McDermott had galvanized City Dreamer on the far outside and delivered him on the line. Timing. Timing is everything. It looked like perfect timing.

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Open the Door

Miles and I stayed up late to watch Front Door at Turfway Park Friday night. Miles, more interested in Shakespeare, presidents, John Prine, Percy Jackson, baseball, anything than horse racing but he’s a team player. Once I explained the naming process, that Front Door’s dad is Point Of Entry, that helped Miles’ interest. When Front Door found a stalking spot outside in fourth, Mark Grier’s gold silks breaking the Turfway park winter gray, that helped. Then when Front Door put his head in front, then his neck, well, that really helped.

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Sean Clancy

P.O. Box 1832
Middleburg, VA   20118
(c) 302.545.7713
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