The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep
through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every
hour, some heavenly blessings! ~Henry Ward Beecher*
I am fortunate, particularly in an uncertain and trying time, that blessings are not hard for me to find. I have a healthy and (mostly!) happy family; a safe and comfortable place to live; abundant friends on whose care and support I can rely; a great job at a terrific school with wonderful colleagues. I cannot be anything less than fervently grateful.
And in addition to all of that—as if all of that weren’t enough—there is the racing world of which I have been lucky to become a part over the last two years.
It too is a world of conflict and challenges, of financial hardship and an uncertain future. But even amidst all of this, this magnet offers the following irons, for which I am grateful this Thanksgiving 2009.
–Equibase, BRIS, the Daily Racing Form and the Keeneland Archive, for making vast and free racing information available for the first time.
–My parents, for moving the family north to Saratoga while my brother and I were still young enough to be infected with the racing bug.
–The beauty of Belmont and Saratoga, and my proximity them. (Hey, I love Aqueduct, but it does suffer by aesthetic comparison to its sister tracks.)
–The trust of racing executives who have granted me access, credentials, and opportunity.
–Saratoga Russell and Crazy Catlady and all the other horses whom we love because they race on weekdays and on the undercard.
–The opportunity to visit racetracks and make new friends in new cities.
–The Saratogian, for giving me the chance to write professionally for the first time ever.
–JoAnn Pepper and Michael Blowen, whose generosity, talent, and energy are making possible a home for retired Thoroughbreds in Saratoga County.
–Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, who utterly changed the conversation that we’re usually having at this time of year.
–Lyrical Ballad bookshop and the historical gems of racing that it houses
–Those who have offered advice (solicited or not!), wisdom, and suggestions.
–All of you, for reading and commenting and writing, for provoking conversation and making me think, for saying hello and staying in touch. A blessed, peaceful, and happy Thanksgiving to you.
*Henry Ward Beecher was a fellow Brooklynite, a reformer and abolitionist who was the first pastor of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, located not far from where I live in Brooklyn. I am grateful for the thematic and geographical aptness of his quotation.