Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. Edward Sandford Martin
My heart of gratitude has overflowed in 2011. No cynicism, no crankiness, no sarcasm: on the day appointed in this country for thankfulness, I have more blessings than I count, for which I am abundantly and humbly grateful.
Here, I give my racing thanks for the people and the events and the horses that have enriched my life. Do add yours.
- The Thoroughbred retirement organizations that have worked tirelessly to raise the profile of their work, and who have made it no longer an option not to care about what happens to horses when they can’t race any more. Thank you, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, ReRun, Akindale, Old Friends, and CANTER.
- All the readers who contributed to this year’s Kentucky Derby charity league, who contributed more than $600 to racing charities.
- The organizations that support the people who take care of the horses: the Belmont Child Care Organization, the Race Track Chaplaincy, Backstretch Employees Service Team.
- The ways in which learning about racing history becomes ever easier, thanks to the free information provided by Equibase, the Keeneland’s Library digital collection of the Daily Racing Form, and the New York Times historical archive.
- The New York Racing Association, for its advertising and editorial support of Brooklyn Backstretch, and for the writing opportunities it’s given me since this blog began.
- The publications and editors that gave me a chance this year to write about racing: Thoroughbred Times, the Saratogian, the New York Daily News, Hello Race Fans!, the Daily Racing Form, Forbes, Saratoga Summer, Grade One Racing.
- The National Museum of Racing, for the wealth of racing history it provides, for asking me to join its Hall of Fame voting committee, and for the chance to write about Allen Jerkens for its Hall of Fame program.
- Everyone who made it possible for me to attend my first Kentucky Derby.
- The horses that made this year memorable for me: Winter Memories, Get Stormy, Ask the Moon at Saratoga, It’s Tricky, My Miss Aurelia, Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, Turbulent Descent, Hessonite.
- All those Kittens and the hockey player horses, Sean Avery and B Shanny
- Being at the Spa when Saratoga’s Terri Pompay won her first Grade 1, the Hopeful with Currency Swap.
- Sky Beauty being elected to the Hall of Fame, and Allen Jerkens’ stories and the generosity with which he shares them.
- Hanging out with my nephews in the backyard at Saratoga.
- The endless number of stories at the racetrack, and the people who are willing to share them with me.
- The Wishing Well, the Adelphi, and Lyrical Ballad bookshop, without which a Saratoga summer would not be complete.
- All of you who read and comment here.
- The uncountable number of racing friends I’ve made in the last five years.
And thanks to my family, immediate and extended, who don’t get too cranky when I demur because of deadlines, and without whose support this crazy racing life would be a lot less fun. Most of us will be gathered around the table tomorrow, as I hope you will be with your loved ones.
From Furlong, Imp, Floyd and me, to you and yours, a very happy Thanksgiving