This year, I got to learn about and then chronicle twelve horses from a variety of eras that embody the best that racing has to offer: fillies that fly, horses of tremendous heart, and stories that give us new perspectives on historic moments. Click on the caption to visit each and find more great pieces at Past the Wire.
Thank you to Jon and Nick for the chance to work on these pieces.
The Racing Biz covers mid-Atlantic racing, highlighting the sport from its equine stars to the legislative and other official issues that govern the sport in the region. This year, I was able to work on the BackTracks column for the site, profiling great horses and important personalities with a mid-Atlantic connections. Click on each photo’s caption to read the story.
All right, I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for books. I probably have more books in my library than I’ll ever be able to read in a lifetime and my pile of books on horses and horse racing is taller than I am. Books will always be among my favorite gifts to give and receive. If you are as fond of the written word as I am, this gift guide is for you!
By early November, 1919 had become a year of mixed blessings for jockey Johnny Loftus. He had been aboard Man o’ War for all of his victories — and his lone defeat. Loftus had ridden winners for a number of racing’s top stables and trainers, everyone from Sam Hildreth to H.G. Bedwell. He had won a Kentucky Derby on Sir Barton but also lost the Dwyer Stakes to Purchase, who Loftus also had ridden to victory that year. Loftus had been set down for rough riding, yet he also had served as trainer Louis Feustel’s go-to rider for a fractious and challenging Man o’ War. With the year winding down, Loftus was looking forward to 1920, possibly his final year in the saddle. Years of fighting his weight left the jockey ready to consider what’s next. In the meantime, he was ready to finish out 1919 on a high note.
The Autumn Handicap on November 5th would prove to be anything but.
Every time Triple Crown season rolls around, Kenny Rice is there, reporting for NBC Sports. You can catch his familiar cadence and expert coverage on their broadcasts so imagine my thrill when I discovered that Mr. Rice had a show of his own! Streaming on YouTube, you will find all 29 episodes, featuring names like Bill Parcells, Mike Smith, Bill Mott, Larry Collmus, and more. Imagine my delight when I was able to part of Mr. Rice’s Horse Racing Show! Below you can find my interview with Mr. Rice.
You can find the show on YouTube and subscribe to their channel or stream the audio here. Thank you to Kenny Rice and his staff for this chance to be a part of a great show!
It’s July 4th weekend! Summer is already half over, but you still have plenty of time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some downtime before you get back to the grind. What better way to enjoy your free time this weekend than with Sir Barton? I will be around the Lexington/Frankfort area on July 5th and 6th. I hope you will come by, say hi, and talk all things Sammy and racing!
If you can’t make it out to the Lexington/Frankfort area, why not pick up a copy of Sammy’s story for your beach reading? Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown is available from your favorite bookseller or library. If your library doesn’t carry the book, you can request it.
The month since the release of Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown has been a bit of a whirlwind, which puts me woefully behind on updating here on the Sir Barton Project. In 2016, on the occasion of Sir Barton’s 100th birthday, Lori Hoyt of the Boondocks Flower Shop and Gifts in Douglas, Wyoming was kind enough to create a bouquet of flowers for Sir Barton’s grave. This year, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sir Barton’s Triple Crown triumph, I decided to place flowers on Sir Barton’s grave again, but, because of this milestone, I thought we needed to go bigger!
Last year, I discovered Old Smoke via Gary Stevens. I now have a handful of shirts from them, ranging from an adorable Bodexpress shirt from this year’s Preakness to a wonderful Triple Crown shirt. Their shirts are high-quality material with these great designs that show their appreciation for horse racing. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Triple Crown this year, it was only natural that Old Smoke would celebrate this milestone with a Sir Barton shirt.
I am grateful to Kurt & Adrian at Old Smoke for the chance to create another way to recognize this milestone and celebrate the anniversary of America’s first Triple Crown. You can purchase the shirt here!
The other day, I had someone ask me where I put Sir Barton in the pantheon of Triple Crown winners. Where did the first Triple Crown winner rank amongst the thirteen that have won the honor of being the most elite of this sport? In order to answer this question, I sat down with a notebook and my trusty copy of Champions and contemplated exactly how I was going to rank all thirteen.