Talkin' Horses - Live Discussions

Bill Nack Turf Writer

Wednesday April 19, 2006

Although he is “retired” from Sports Illustrated magazine, Bill Nack is anything but retired.

The multiple Eclipse Award-winning Turf writer presently joined the set where the ESPN made-for-TV movie about the great filly Ruffian is being filmed. Nack is an advisor on the project. An authority on the great racehorse Secretariat, Nack wrote Secretariat: The Making of a Champion. He also recently served on the panel that selected the top events in racing history that were compiled in the recent Eclipse Press release Horse Racing’s Top 100 Moments.

A former writer and columnist for Newsday, Nack spent 23 years an investigative reporter and general feature writer at Sports Illustrated. During his tenure with the sports weekly, Nack covered all sports but focused primarily on boxing and horse racing. In 2003, he compiled an anthology of his magazine writing in the book My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money and the Sporting Life.

Born in Chicago and raised in Skokie, Ill., Nack graduated from the University of Illinois before serving a two-year period in the Army, the second in Vietnam. After leaving the service, he was a political and environmental writer at Newsday for four years, a turf writer for three years, and then served as a Newsday sports columnist for four years before joining Sports Illustrated. He has three daughters and a son and lives in Washington, D.C.

Bill is taking time out from his hectic schedule to answer questions from our readers about subjects ranging from Secretariat and Ruffian to how hard it was to rank “Horse Racing’s Top 100 Moments.”

Hanover Park, IL:
I read your book on Secretariat and I loved it. It was so well written. What was he like, both on the track and at Claiborne?

Secretariat was a chivalrous prince of a colt who was playful and mischievous---he once grabbed my notebook out of my hand with his teeth, when I was talking to his groom, Ed Sweat---and stayed the same as a stallion at Claiborne. A kid could have ridden him. The older he got, it seemed,  the more of a ham he became, and throughout his life he used to stop and pose whenever he heard the click of a camera.

Atlanta, GA:
One of the most exciting races I've ever seen was the Preakness between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer. Do you believe Pat Day lost that race for Easy Goer? Could another jockey have won it?

When Easy Goer lost that stretch drive to Sunday Silence in the Preakness, many people blamed Pat Day because Easy Goer's head was cocked to one side, and that certainly did nothing for the colt's chances. I don't think he'd have won if they had gone around again. That Preakness was one of the epic struggles in the history of the turf, a ding-dong stretch battle that left thousands breathless.

Best of Talkin HorsesTo read the complete transcript of this chat, along with many others, check out Best of Talkiní Horses.

Best of Talkin’ Horses features provocative “chats” with some of Thoroughbred racing’s most prominent names. Adapted from “Talkin’ Horses,” the popular weekly online chat series hosted by, this edited collection provides additional insights by Ron Mitchell, editor and moderator of “Talkin’ Horses."


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