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Hang in there, racing people

Give director of publications Barrie Reightler credit for the quip. In response to a simple “How’s it going?” she replied, “I’m hanging in there. . .but the thread is getting thin.” I nearly spit out my tea. I don’t think she intended to do so, but she basically spoke for the entire Thoroughbred industry – publications, racetracks, farms, trainers, breeders, owners, buyers, sellers, whatever.

Snap Decision puts on a show at Saratoga

People ask me all the time why Saratoga Race Course still hosts stee-ple-chase races. Compared to the old days at America’s most storied racetrack, the jumpers have been marginalized –  seven races (if they fill), always the first on the card, on Wednesdays, no final jump in the stretch, only two hurdles on the backstretch, never in the pick five or other major multi-race wager.

A long road to Old Hilltop

Uncle Lew wrote a letter, a few actually, and received actual responses. And soon I was in a Subaru, or maybe it was a pick-up truck, headed south on I-95 with Josh Pons. We took the old tunnel, went to Laurel Park and the Bowie Library. We talked about racing, writing, horses, people. I’m embarrassed at what I told him I was reading – newspaper sports sections mainly, and some dumb books.

Derby upset might help craft new thinking

Rich Strike charged through the stretch, passing horses to his inside and outside, rallying as if steered by a gamer with the cheat codes, and upset the Kentucky Derby-G1 with one final surge past Epicenter. The winner was 81-1. The runner-up was favored at 4-1.

Stat search a frustrating endeavor for all

A few pages deeper in this magazine, ­I wrote a long feature about 1972 Preak­ness winner Bee Bee Bee, his trainer Del Carroll and the passage of time. Carroll died 10 years after that Preakness, stopping a career at 2,224 victories. While far behind Steve Asmussen, Dale Baird, King T. Leatherbury and others, the total still stands tall. Carroll ranks 83rd among trainers by career victories according to Equibase.

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