Thoughts from our editor, Joe Clancy. For archived editorials click here.

Idle thoughts, oddball ideas at the sales

The stuff you think about at a horse sale that get a little monotonous after awhile…

If I were designing a sales pavilion, I’d look hard at the English/Irish versions where the horse for sale gets the opportunity to walk while the auctioneer rat-a-tat-tats through the bids. It’s always going to be a foreign environment for a horse, but the ability to walk has to help. Horses in the rings at Tattersalls and Goffs or wherever else, look calmer, a little less agitated by it all, and buyers get one last chance to see them walk. 

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Everybody wins with wagering push for jumpers

Imagine for a moment racing without betting, where each racetrack attracted spectators with atmosphere, amenities and customer experience. 

There’s no television pundit, no odds board, no post-time delay, no carryover. It’s just racing, a day out, entertainment with horses and jockeys. What would the purse structure look like? How different would it all be? Would racing survive? Could it actually happen?

Well, this is – essentially – American jump racing. 

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Special past, bright future makes Million

Dive into the Maryland Million Guide in the back of this magazine and prepare for some serious racing history.

Northern Dancer sired the first Classic winner, Herat, in 1986 – a year that included winners trained by the likes of Allen Jerkens, P.G. Johnson, Jack Van Berg and Woody Stephens. Jerry Bailey rode three winners, Vince Bracciale Jr. rode two. What a day that must have been. 

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Big scores boost region

I guess it’s the improbability of it all. Or something like that anyway. People ask me, and I’m sure you too, all the time: “Why horse racing?” Sometimes I struggle for an answer. Other times, I come up with things like Belmont Stakes Weekend turned in by Mid-Atlantic-bred horses.

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Save Pimlico, because we can

This month’s column could pretty much be just two words – Save Pimlico – but I’ll finish the sentence because the old girl deserves a proper explanation. 

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Timber stars make most of 2nd chances

Match races, an attempt on England, trophy retirements, historic comparisons . . . they were all in play this spring with the emergence of three major timber horses on the National Steeplechase Association circuit.

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One of a kind, Timonium ready for another sale

The snack-bar at the Timonium sales pavilion would make good material for a comedian, or some sort of social experiment. Where else would a guy buy a $10 lunch on a plastic plate minutes after spending $1.5 million on a horse? 

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Remembering Ronnie Franklin

Ronnie Franklin died in March. At 58. Obituaries listed the cause of death as lung cancer, but substance abuse played a role. Franklin lived hard, and fast.

At Delaware Park in 1978, he was just getting started, as part of a colony that included other young hot shots Tommy Kupfer (who won everything) and Chris Baker, plus veterans Bill Passmore, Vince Bracciale Jr. and Herbie Hinojosa.

Franklin rode for powerful trainer Buddy Delp and they were fairly unstoppable. Delp’s barn, perpendicular to the wide horse path that divided that part of the stable area, seemed bigger than others, taller, more important. Delp and Franklin seemed to win every day.

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