When my students and I discuss literature, we talk a lot about authorial intent: How do we find out what it is? Does it matter? Is it meaningful/significant if we find meaning/significance in something that the author didn’t intend, or even rejects? Mostly, I tell them to rely on the words of the page, to make meaning from them, without worrying what the author thought or wanted or intended.

I really oughta take my own advice.

If I had, yesterday’s post would have gone something like this:

In a marvelous bit of wordplay, the NYRA press release about the Ladies
Handicap, entitled “Ladies Handicap—Sweet Goodbye,” honors both the Christopher
Grove starter who ships in from the mid-Atlantic, and the fact that the Ladies
Handicap will not be run next year, or possibly ever again.


Instead, I assumed (yikes—always trouble there) that it was just an accident and that no one except me has spent the last week mourning the passing of this venerable race.

Turns out that I was (not for the first time, certainly not for the last) dead wrong.

The writer of the press release contacted me to say that the title was indeed deliberate, to acknowledge the passing of these great old races.

So many apologies for not having given more credit to those NYRA wordsmiths—kudos to them!–and shame on me for not practicing what I preach in the classroom.

Sweet Goodbye is the 5/2 morning line favorite, and George Yetsook’s Julie B comes up from West Virginia to see if she can make it four in a row. In seven starts this year, this five-year-old mare is 4 – 1 – 0. She’s a stablemate of the storied Confucius Say, about whom I wrote before his latest shot in the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic in October.

2 thoughts on “Do-over

  1. Teresa,Did you read this in Handicappers Edge by Vance Hanson?A very nice piece.(scroll all the way to the bottom)

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