In the Paddock

Contributions from managing editor and writer Tom Law.

First impressions

Spend roughly 14 hours in the car yesterday driving from Lexington to Saratoga – thanks for the accident Cincinnati, costing me an hour – and wondered what things might look like back home after two-plus weeks on the road.

First impressions last night - after time in Kentucky for Keeneland, the Derby and Oaks - and after arriving to sub 50-degree temps a little after 9 p.m. were pretty good. Truth be told it was dark. So what about this morning?

The grass is starting to green up nicely and the trees are about half leafed out. Is that even a thing?

The backyard, savaged by a couple years of chickens, needs some serious work. The patches where there is grass looks pretty solid though.

Needing to weed the small row of strawberries, something is invading.

The hops planted last spring look like they’re coming back, at least that’s what I think. Do hops come back year to year?

The college students renting in the neighborhood are still in town. Watching them leave Lexington seemed pleasing to my Kentucky host. They don’t generally present a bother, but when is graduation?

Do L.L. Bean, Sundance, Eastbay and so many others need to produce so many catalogs?

Bills, bills, bills.

Smokie The Cat seems no worse for the wear after nearly three weeks at the sitter. Thanks Bev.

The fridge now contains a couple six-packs of Lexington’s best beer, half and half purchased last night and plenty of condiments. Time to hit the grocery.

Flowers in the front still blooming and colorful and small bushes starting to bounce back from the long winter.

There’s a sign nearby about the Farmer’s Market going Saturdays, right behind the house. They have it Wednesday, too. Guess where dinner is coming from tonight?

Alternate side parking is a thing of the past now on Circular Street. At least until fall.

The bike survived the down and back trip – plus plenty of rides down there. Time to get back on and get going with the efforts to make this city more bike friendly.

First trip, the Oklahoma Training Track. The horses have been there for nearly a month. Time to get rolling.

Only 71 days until Opening Day.

Turning 18

Standing on the hill at Keeneland, outside Doug O’Neill’s barn and waiting for Blue Grass winner Irap to go to the track for his final workout before last weekend’s Kentucky Derby, a colleague pitched a question that got me thinking.

And snow it begins

The buzz started before the weekend was through. Snow was on the way to upstate New York, a surprising revelation to some even though we live in, ahem, upstate New York.

Once the coffee gets cold

The lights flickered and the screen of my office iMac went dark just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Early spring?

There’s an old saying out there that the cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea. Someone needs to come up with one about sunshine, too, because as winter set in for good in the Northeast the last few weeks a little bit of the bright stuff is undoubtedly a tonic for anything that ails.

Breeders' Cup memories

They say you always remember your first.

Your first Breeders' Cup, that is.

What was your first?

Thrill of the Chase

Leave it to my great friend, running buddy and former Lexington assistant fire chief Rick Jordan to get philosophical on the roughly 75-mile drive from Lexington to Clermont, Kentucky, last Friday.

It's been a quiet week ...

The singing started about a half hour before the show and it continued for well over an hour after the show.

Three-paced

Everyone talks about pace.

In racing it's early pace, fast pace, slow pace. Pace makes the race. That kind of stuff.

Pharoah fever

The 2015 Triple Crown is nearly a year in the books, the 2016 edition now only days away.

There's a new cast of characters and plenty of familiar names associated with the current crop of 3-year-old stars. There's an undefeated colt with connections who came close to the sweep not that long ago, others trained by past horsemen who've succeeded on America's biggest stage, too. There is interest in the new but make no mistake, there's still plenty of American Pharoah fever to go around in the Bluegrass.

A win for what?

Minutes removed from Spotlight being awarded the Oscar for Best Picture Sunday came the predictable consensus about a film involving hard-nosed investigative journalism being awarded the top prize from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Krakauer on writing

People clutched dog-eared copies of paperbacks and worn-looking hardcovers as they filed into Page Hall on the University at Albany Downtown Campus Tuesday evening.

The books they toted - with titles such as Into The Wild, Into Thin Air, Where Men Win Glory, and Three Cups of Deceit - were as diverse as the people carrying them. Students mixed with retirees, young professionals sat alongside seasoned veterans of the white- and blue-collar workforces.