By Sean Clancy
From The Saratoga Special, reprinted with permissionSunday's usually Pegleg, Slim and Roy time. Well, they're hanging a little on the turn. We'll return to their story when we get them back in the bridle. People keep saying, "Can't wait to see where you go with it." Yeah, me too. As for today, it seems like a good time to say thanks. With one more week to go for Saratoga 2001, explanations, thank yous and predictions might be in order. Thanks to all of you who talked, read, bought, or simply said something. The Saratoga Special has survived its first running. With one more week I can say definitively that we survived our first trip to the post. We didn't flip in the paddock, we weren't cheap speed. We didn't bolt, dwelt or bleed. Of course we didn't take any early money, late money or steady money but that's what happens when you're a homebred with a few blemishes. Maybe our conformation will improve in the next year. What we're most proud of is the product. And that's where the thank yous come in. The best stories we wrote were when the players spoke. All I can do is fill in the lines between good horses, good stories and good quotes. Yesterday, I sat on a picnic table with Gary Stevens for 15 minutes. He just talked about life as Point Given's jockey. I saved the tape for my grandkids, or at least the Hall of Fame. Now that was cool. Thanks for the time. After I sat down with Stevens I rode my bike over to John Kimmel's barn. They handed me a glass of champagne and told me all about what it was like to lose a good horse. Thanks for the openness.Simon Harris let me come along on a Victory Ride morning. He waited for a sandwich and I got a story. Thanks for the ride.Aaron Gryder gave me 10 minutes of his time so I could ask stupid questions about turf racing. I know what it's like to be a jockey, it's not the easiest time of your life. Thanks for the knowledge.Richard Migliore, like always, gave me good honest answers about anything that I asked. His emotion always makes the dream seem attainable. Thanks for
the frankness.Donna Ward put down her hoof brush and sat with me while I asked all about the life and times of Beautiful Pleasure. The letters have been coming in thanking me for a touching piece about Beautiful Pleasure. Thank Donna for the open door.Jerry Bailey stopped every time I needed a quick quote about his latest stakes winner. He gets a lot of requests. Thanks for the minute.John Velazquez walked with me, stopped for me and even told me exactly how to beat Hap. Thanks for the pause in your day.Robert Clay stifled the tears and talked about what it was like to sell a homebred. Thanks for the truth. Frankel gave me more quotes than I even knew what to do with. The most educational part of the month for me. Thanks for being Bobby Frankel.Bill Mott took every stupid question I had and tried his best to give them an answer. Thanks for the effort.Bob Duncan stopped and explained everything that goes into a problem horse at the gate. Thanks for the explanation. Linda Rice led me right into City Zip's stall. I stood in his hay and gave him a pat. Thanks for the memory. James Bond invited me down to see his new barn and complimented the paper every time he could. Thanks for the invitation. Edgar Prado went over a whole card with me. Even repeated his answers when I missed them. Thanks for the handicapping lesson.Shug McGaughey dutifully answered any question I asked, from Serra Lake to Finder's Fee. Let me in on what it was like to be struggling at Belmont. Thanks for the words. Those are the ones off the top of my head. I'm sure I forgot, or actually just didn't mention a slew of others who have made this paper a good read. We'll keep it going for another week. There'll be more thank yous, requests, hallenges, and predictions from this corner before we're done.But if I forget or don't wake up tomorrow. Thanks for talking and thanks for reading. Contact Sean Clancy via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at 518-581-1947.