Periodic columns from our staff and the occasional guest.

Driving Jonathan Sheppard

It was 2008. Jonathan Sheppard was in yet another chapter of his storied career and The Blood-Horse magazine wanted a feature story. Steeplechase Times still existed, and I still wrote freelance articles for other racing publications.

1,000-mile Challenge

Every year the goal stays the same. Get in better shape, put in 100 miles a month and make it 1,200 (or more) for the year.

Cool Songs 2020

The website title says horse racing so you should expect some horse racing in this spot. This is not it. OK, here’s a little . . . the Eclipse Awards voting choices for 2020 were difficult, maddening and kind of weak at the same time. Here’s to better stuff in 2021. But, let’s turn to something else. Music.

Ticking past 71

Back on the road with another 5 miles yesterday. Passing 71 on the year. 

Preakness Thursday is still Preakness Thursday

Thursday morning of Preakness Week typically brings many things to Pimlico Race Course: Sunrise tours of the stable area, Clydesdales, the Archbishop of Baltimore, banter among rivals at the Alibi Breakfast, selfies with the Woodlawn Vase and finishing touches for the Thoroughbreds entered in Saturday’s Grade 1 stakes.

Goodbye 20

This should be easy. The last one. Number 17 this year, instead of 34 last year. The 17th time I’ve sat down to type out a column that has been running for 20 years. Twenty years. Some of the early ones are shuddering, shocking, to read. If I didn’t own half this paper with my brother, many would have never seen the light of day, the print of the page. The last one of the season should be the easiest, just 800 words, half a page to say good- bye. I’ve done it 19 times before.

Derby Day

Tony Reinstedler had a place for me to stay. That clinched it, I was going to the Derby. After homemade seafood jambalaya and a couple of Abitas Monday night, Reinstedler pointed to a tent in his backyard. I could still hear music from Baxter Avenue as I fell asleep. Mark Hennig smuggled a backstretch parking pass and held a spot for my Honda Civic. I finagled a press pass from John Asher, it had Steeplechase Times in block letters. Doc Richardson handed me two glossy box tickets as I wandered aimlessly before the first on Oaks Day. I wound up at the Lavins’ party along the river. 

A Winner

Farm general manager Bruce Hill was at home, alone because his wife doesn’t want to be a jinx, when he sat down to watch Live Oak Stud homebred Win Win Win compete in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga Race Course Saturday.