Sean Clancy Fiction--Chapter 5

By Sean Clancy
From The Saratoga Special, reprinted with permission

"I want you to do it like this way, Son. Break him off like this, with him in hand. Then sit, sit, sit. When you sit so long it feels like a bad movie, sit a little longer. Then justa chirp to him once, not twice. Just once so he knows it's time to come home. Roy here worked him the last time and he go a minute flat. I know, I know. Surprised me more than anybody on the grounds. So you just go out there and think about next week, not this morning. Only thing you make in the morning is eggs, hear me, Dillard? Just get him a blow, that's all."

"Just look at em, Slim. Look at em go. He's rolling now. That's him passin the quarter pole, look, look. He's gathering ground like a mad general, I tell you. A mad dang general. How fast, Slim? How fast he going?"

"Fast enough for the world to see. We losing the price every pole he passes. Dillard, slow him down, Dillard. Please. Keep that leg on old boy. Just easy, Pegleg. Easy old boy. That's right, he finish strong and everything. Roy, I hate to say it...ah hell I'm not saying it. Go down there and meet them at the gap, take him home the long way, let him blow his nose out before you get back to the barn, then keep him walking, don't let him drink too much and make sure...I need to go see the racing secretary, damn, been so long I can't even remember his name."

"You got it Slim, I'm just glad you going and talkin to the man who takes the entries. I can't stand to think 'bout it for I get so excited. We runnin at
Saratoga. Damn da war, we runnin at the Spa. There you are Pegleg, good boy, Peg. You all right. Whatayathink Dillard? Like him, do you? Will you ride him Dillard? Will you? We'll take care of you at the window by God. Easy Pegleg. Easy there Man Of War."

"Roy, I put him for the last day. Monday. Going long. Dillard up, they say it's a short field and it might rain, which would be all right from this end. I think his Daddy like the slop at Saratoga. Somehow, all this talk and air around here has me thinking big. Shoot, never thought that'd happen again. How's he acting anyway? He blow his nose out quick? Straighten your cooler, there."

"Slim, this horse like he never even been without this morning. He's bightin the shank, bightin my sleeve, and tryin to eat grass. Damned if he don't chase Doughty right on out of the shed. He's sharp, Slim. You got him sharp as I ever seen em, Slim. Ever, I tell you. Got to be the air, reckon? Maybe your trainin, though, I think about it. He's ready to run and Dillard say so too."

"Roy, don't get too high on him OK? I just want him to go out and not disgrace us like happened most of the time. I been let down before and I'll get let down again. You ought to learn by now, the racetrack always wins. Maybe they'll put the fix on and let us win one, just cause we're do. Maybe they'll put the old boy on the lead. Wish they'd tell us, that's all."

"Yessir, you're probably right 'bout what you say but I like to think we can win on pure effort and smarts. I ain't been rubbing on this tendon morning and night and you don't know all you know to come here and need a fix to get out picture taken. I just think we got a shot to win, Slim. That's all. Why can't I think like that?"

"You know Roy, this isn't a dream. If this was a dream, Pegleg would win by the air in the stretch. I know, you been dreaming about this ever since I agreed to come to Saratoga but it's no dream, OK? Just don't cry and mope like you did the last time we ran him. Hear me?"

"I'll do my best, Slim. I'll do my best."

Contact Sean Clancy via e-mail at or telephone at 518-581-1947.