Saratoga Springs, NY, August 14, 2022 — On occasion, I run into a sports fan, one who just doesn’t get it about horse racing, and asks me “why do you do this?”
Depending on the kind of day I’m having, I might respond, “I often wonder that myself.”
HorseRaceInsider.com was conceived, as many of the HRI Faithful are aware, Derby Week of 2007. Thank you Street Sense for not making a fool out of me.
It was intended to be as voice to and for the people, holding horse racing to account. Not that being in this game is something bad–quite the opposite, in fact. There is no apologizing for a way of life that, in its fashion, communes with nature.
But any game where big, fast money is involved, at whatever level, from the sales ring to the betting ring, needs a watchful eye.
Simply stated, I love the game, warts and all, and a majority of the people in it. They know who they are, and who they are not. It’s given me a life. I’ve met great people, have had the big fun, the excitement; a score here and there, and heartbreaks aplenty.
The best part of the day is during morning training, before the blood-letting begins. Every day is full of possibility. Most people you see are in a good mood; doing what they love.
The horse is a beautiful beast, wondrous, and magnificent. Awesome. Scary. To those who love them, care for them, or just plain admire them, they are godlike creatures with heads held high.
For almost every turf writer I know, it’s also about comraderie, the sharing of great backstories, the bad beats, the scores, an atmosphere that carries into the grandstand and clubhouse of racetracks, from the half-milers to Belmont Park.
These are the people to whom you relate, who get you, and you get them.
So you do your best to entertain, to inform, sometimes enrich your horse-playing colleagues, and the fans, the ones who do know which end eats and appreciate the beauty and rhythm of a horse race, a slow-motion classical piece until it explodes furiously in the final strides, heads up and down at the wire.
These are my horse racing soulmates, the ones who appreciate all of if: the animals, the little guy at the end of the shedrow who cares for them, and the stoopers, too; horseplayers who survey floors, heads bowed at the end of a race day in search of a miracle, a carelessly discarded win ticket, staying alive, by any means necessary.
Sometimes these people find you, one of the few saving graces about social media and hosting a horse racing website. Back in the beginning, one such horseplayer with those qualities found us here. He went, and still goes, by the name, Indulto.
I related to him immediately. His words indicated that he cared about the other guy. He was about being fair, about making the game better.
We bonded because I once had a thing for Indulto, the racehorse, a King Ranch color-bearer trained by legendary Max Hirsch. I first laid eyes on him as a two-year-old. He finished third in Buckpasser’s ’65 Hopeful. It was the start of a prodigious career.
Indulto, the man, had a good story idea, pitched it, and asked if he could write a piece for the site. That was the idea behind the Dealer’s Choice column section of HRI, a means to provide a voice to horseplayers and stakeholders with something to say.
And so began a relationship that has lasted through the years. Sadly, not many have taken advantage of our Vox Populi feature, but Indulto always has, and the site is better for his presence.
The following came in a Thursday night email. Indulto allowed me to share this message with all of you:
On Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 08:00:16 PM EDT, Indulto wrote:
Have been hospitalized for 4 weeks, but they cannot save me this time.
Thanks for being a wonderful friend and mentor, publishing what I thought was important even when it was not popular with most of the HRI Faithful.
Goodbye to MCD, Tabasco Cat, TTT, wmc, and especially Nick Kling and Andy Asaro.
You all enhanced my life in meaningful ways.
Right back at you, I.
Your presence is an inspiration to go forward, even when broaching those subjects that were “not popular with the HRI Faithful.” And I dare say some racing officials, too.
You had something to say, and said it with grace and style, even if some of the edges needed honing from the time time.
It was, and always will remain, the message that counts here. You embodied the best of what this game can be, and I’m proud to have shared your thoughts in this space.
This is horse racing, and everybody counts.
May the trail rise up to meet you my friend…