Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A collection of favorite horse racing articles & blog posts

I save things. Brochures, magazines, newspaper clippings, scraps of paper, notes from various people, my husband in particular. I save emails, too. Thousands of emails, all neatly sorted into dozens of well-named folders. Some of these folders contain links to certain articles or blog posts. While a few of these links were sent to me, most were discovered through web searches or by chance. Each of them lifted me up and carried me along on a wondrous ride of awe, heartbreak, nostalgia, and more.

Rather than allowing them to sit quietly in my email folders, gathering the proverbial dust, I'm sharing a few of my favorite horse racing links here. So sit down for a spell and enjoy the ride, as I did.

Farewell to Skip Away - Steve Haskin, Blood-Horse

Those of us that began watching racing in earnest in the early 90s will vividly recall the greats that emerged in the decade. Skip Away, with his high-kneed gallop and sharp red and yellow colors, was one of these, and here Steve Haskin weaves a nostalgic tribute to the champion gray.

"Quarter of an inch will do us" - Gerard Whateley, Brisbane Times

No matter your opinion of Black Caviar's exact ranking on the list of all-time greats, it goes without saying that she's one of the top horses of our century. The crown jewel of her undefeated career is her desperate win in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, in which she faced seemingly insurmountable odds, and Gerard Whateley artfully tells the story of that win.

Saying Goodbye to Arc Winner Alleged - Frances J. Karon, Running Rough Shod

It's rare that one is granted an intimate look at the last days of a great horse, particularly one fabled as untouchable. By sharing her journal entries on Alleged's final weeks, Frances Karon allows us to not only see the stallion for the individual he was, but also say goodbye to him along with her.

A Break from Data, A Rekindled Love for Racing - Derek Brown,

Handicapper Derek Brown takes a break from the data and numbers of gambling to spend an idyllic few days in horse country, Kentucky. Along the way, he returns to the root of his love for racing. This link is a must-read for any handicapper.

Present and Past at Sagamore Farm - Teresa Genaro, Brooklyn Backstretch

The past and present overlap and become one at Sagamore Farm in Teresa Genaro's wonderfully-written blog. Once the home of Native Dancer--a modern-day foundation stallion of the Thoroughbred--Sagamore is coming to life again under new ownership with its history and legacy intact.

Remembering Wanda - Barbara Livingston, Daily Racing Form

No matter how often I read them, the first two paragraphs of this blog--as brief as they are--take my breath away. Barbara Livingston's photographic tribute to the great Go for Wand is simply put, beautiful.

Viva Canonero! - Steve Haskin, Blood-Horse

Master storyteller Haskin has another piece in this collection. This one is the rags-to-riches tale of Venezuelan wonder horse Canonero II and his remarkable journey to the 1971 Kentucky Derby winner's circle--and beyond.

Kincsem: The Mystery and Majesty of an Immortal - Abigail Anderson, The Vault

Most of us have heard of her: Kincsem, a 19th-century Hungarian mare undefeated in 54 starts. But information on her racing career and life is difficult to find. Abigail Anderson provides the answer through this cohesive, lovely stroll though the life and influence of the great mare.

She's Just Like One Of The Boys - Whitney Tower, Sports Illustrated

Here, Whitney Tower's literary voice is rich in quiet awe as he writes about Ruffian's dazzling win in the Spinaway at Saratoga. Penned in September 1974, the article takes us back to a time and place in which Ruffian was a brilliant filly with a bright future, and her fateful match race was not yet in the cards. Furthermore, to read the typically stoic Tower marvel at a 2-year-old Ruffian while now knowing she is one of the greatest fillies of all time is a wonder in itself.

A once-in-a-lifetime ride - Paul Moran, ESPN

Forty years after he swept the Triple Crown in breathtaking fashion, Secretariat's legend continues to grow. Paul Moran reflects upon the magical two-year racing career of the colt, and with a nod towards the Triple Crown drought of the present, notes that the wait for Big Red was worth it.

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