Chapter 2

By Sean Clancy
From The Saratoga Special, reprinted with permission

"They say it'll take a day and a half to get there in this old trailer, Slim. So I say we leave tonight. We'll be up there by Tuesday as long as we don't hit no bumps along the way. I got the trailer rarin' to go. I gave Buster two bucks and he dug her out of that parking lot, he said there was a litter of dogs living in the back. He chased em on into the woods and got the truck started. He said it'll need a case of oil and a Sunday Mass to get it to Saratoga. We can load Pegleg and Doughty at midnight I figure, be on out of here and in the promised land before we know it."

"For Chrimmeny's sake, how I let you talk me into something so damn far fetched is beyond me and all my good senses. Pegleg, you, me, and a fat black goat packed into a 20-year-old, and hard years, truck and trailer bound for the greatest damn race meet in the country. They'll laugh us right on out of town. And a stall? I bet we can't even get a stall for this poor old bum we call a racehorse. Hadn't earned a cent in two plus years and you're telling me tingly water going turn him into Alsab. Good God, I've heard it all."

"Slim, for the last time, it's an adventure OK? Loosen up those old suspenders and enjoy the ride, by the time the meet's over, Pegleg gonna be a worldwide star and you'll be thanking me for stamping your ticket. We only gonna die if we stay in this fallen down tumbleweed of a racetrack. We got two packs of Marlboros and I got the missus to make us some samiches, oughta get us there in fine style, Slim."

"Fine style, huh? You don't know a drattin thing about fine style. They got Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Whitneys in Saratoga. We're gonna get there without a dime. We'll have to sell Doughty to some pettin zoo just to buy a blanket. Pegleg. Pegleg. I'm goin' cause I ain't got nothing to stay for. Hear me? That's the only reason I'm going along on this dream of yours. The last time I was in Saratoga, I went up theres with wide eyes and good horses. Least I thought they were good horses. Somehow I figure they'll outrun their form in Saratoga. They couldn't win at the Rock and I'm thinking they going to win at the Spa. You know, everybody there thinks their horse gonna outrun themselves at Saratoga. That leaves one winner and a town full of dirt kickers. We gonna be nothing but dirt kickers."

"Tell you what Slim, from here on in, we got to get positive. This gonna be a long trip with or without your bellyachin so leave all that here, will you? I don't want to disrespect you but you so down it's gettin us all depressed. Pegleg proly sick of it, too. You the one who told me horses sense attitudes and if make no difference if the horse is bad or the attitude is bad, either way you got nothing but damn disappointments. I know it's a tough game but it ain't licked us yet. I'm gonna load this trailer up and I'll wake you ups when it time to leave and please, I'm beggin, be in a good mood."

"Now I‚m getting advice from a racetrack bum. I used to give advice to the damn president of the United States and now I‚m listening to a guy who's never had a job other than walking hots and filling up water buckets. I love you Roy but sometimes I just can't take all this dreamer stuff. You're a young man, you'll see one day, that dreaming going to get to you by the time it's all done. You can dream all you want but the breakers gonna get you. I
used to dream every damn night and day, dream, dream, dream but then one day you're left with sad days, sad days. I'll go to Saratoga, I guess I'm not done dreaming yet, but trust me, sometimes it‚s easier to just go along and leave the dreaming to someone else."

"You know, no disrespect, but I don't want to hear about all that. You and all your reality. Forget all that for a couple of weeks, that's all I'm askin. We can always come back here sit on these here buckets and spit into the wall. If it don't work, it don't work, but you always say, 'nothing beats a try but a failure.' So we gonna go try."

"Listen, Roy. Don't you get it? I got a knot in my stomach the moment you brought up Saratoga. That knot isn't going away and neither is my dreams. One day you'll understand, the dreams are easier to take when they buried well deep. That's where mine are these days. Saratoga, hell, let's go."

"Righty then. I'll wake you up in a few hours and we'll get on our way. Pegleg'll ship better at night and at least maybe we'll get past the cops with this old trailer. You got an inspection sticker for this old thing? Never mind, never mind, I know the answer."

"Roy, you‚re a good man. No damn sense, but a good man just the same."

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