The Inside Rail

Chasing Gold

The first Saturday in May…the last Saturday in May. It’s Gold Cup Day. In the midst of a hot, dry spell, somehow, the rain has come over the past two days. Good for some. Bad for a few. And questionable for others. 

Around here, it’s race morning when nervous trainers and owners call with last-minute commiserations and revelations. Instructions are tweaked. Caveats proposed. We listen. We agree, for the most part. Soon it will be out of our hands and in the jockeys’ hands, the pent-up energy of the horses unleashing, unraveling. Nine races that will deliver it all – elation to exasperation. 

As Dad says, “Son, it’s the game we play.”

Riverdee entered three but will run two. Douglas Road and Gibralfaro go to the post. We decided to scratch Lemonade Thursday because of ground conditions. He relishes firm ground and struggles when it’s soft. Next stop, Saratoga. 

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Mastering the Masters

As if I needed more distractions.

Richard Farquhar, of Walking the Courses (read a feature on his amazing walk here), organizes a Masters competition for charity. Pick four players, best cumulative score wins. Now I’ve gone to Masters dot com and am tracking Simpson, Oosthuizen, Rahm, Dechambeau, Day, Im, Hatton and Ancer like Authentic, Whitmore, Tiz The Law, Monomoy Girl…you get my point. And, yes, I played a few teams. Three in all. And, no, I don’t know anything about handicapping golf. A fun distraction. Not exactly a necessary one. Come on my son. One time.

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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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Ball Game

Hey, how’d it go on Whitney Day? 

Reinvestment Risk emerges as the talking horse who talks in the first…Everfast enjoys a class relief…Midnight Bisou gets beat…Vexatious, yeah, Vexatious…Tom’s d’Etat stumbles…Baffert, ho hum, his second Whitney…Sadler’s Joy gets taken down…Cross Border has two stakes in two weeks and everybody screams on Twitter…Echo Town upsets the Jerkens…Clement wins another one… Irad notches four…Jose wins two…nobody goes to Siro’s… 

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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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Hit Me

Has it hit you? Like, really, hit you. Like, stop-and-sink hit you. 

It hadn’t fully hit me until a couple of phone calls and emails this week, ones that hung in the air, stopped me in mid-sentence, mid-scroll. Ones that made me ponder life, made me wistful for better days, made me count my blessings, made me curse the uncertainty, the cruelty of today. 

Shug McGaughey switched from talking about Code Of Honor to asking how I was doing. I didn’t know how I was doing until listening to the recording of our conversation. Sadly, I now know. 

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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.

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Sean Clancy

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