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AHL can't get it right

Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014
Not big on these “report card” style columns, but it seemed like a natural fit since the American Hockey League took a couple of summer courses.

Racing makes up for a lot

Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014
The racing was great. That’s a given. There were moments that we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives, like the Jimmy Jerkens Travers exacta, Wise Dan’s incredible comeback and track announcer Tom Durkin’s retirement.

Durkin makes a classy exit

Monday, Sept. 1, 2014
The story is over.
Our favorite storyteller has closed the books on his career, the thick personal thesaurus that he filled with nouns, adjectives and verbs, and the drab, thin program that he filled with rainbow ink to guide him through each race card.
On a gray, rainy Sunday, track announcer Tom Durkin jauntily spun a sodden final yarn in the Spinaway at Saratoga Race Course, and now will go about the business of a retired person.

Lopez introduces himself to Saratoga

Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
“Cheatin’ …” The next word is unprintable in this space. I knew it was jockey Junior Alvarado even before I swung my head around to check.

State responds to horse deaths

Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014
t’s not the hardest job facing those tasked with making sure that racehorses don’t die. The making-sure-they-don’t-die part, of course, is the hardest. And, in fact, that’s impossible.

Better late than never

Friday, Aug. 29, 2014
It’s that time again.
The Saratoga Race Course meet is wrapping up, with just a Labor Day weekend of action left.
Track announcer Tom Durkin is heading off into the sunset, just 33 race calls of denouement left in his brilliant 43-year career.
And yet, the old boy Wise Dan is just getting started, it seems.

Victory a tribute to the father from the son

Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014
On Friday, the son held his father’s jacket, empty but for a hanger. On Saturday, the father, 1,500 miles away, burst at the seams.

Tonalist sitting on a big race

Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014
I’m not a bridge jumper.
I’m a bridge taker.
And that bridge is the Jim Dandy.

Uncertainty looms over 'Princess', 'Palace'

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014
I can’t remember Captain Stubing ever meddling in any of the amorous behavior on the “Love Boat.” Isaac, your bartender? Sure. Julie McCoy, your cruise director? Yep. Gopher, your yeoman purser? Of course. But the captain ran the ship and let his crew deal with Charo. So any comparisons between the Pacific Princess and L’affaire Princess at trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn sink to the ocean floor.

Forget image. Manziel lacks skills

Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014
To honor the great Don Pardo, he will supply the voiceover for today’s imaginary game show, “Punk/Not a Punk.”
Don Pardo: “OK, now it’s time to play Punk/Not a Punk! Let’s welcome your host . . .”
(Three contestants strangle buzzers simultaneously, holler “Johnny Manziel”)
Don Pardo: “Oh, um . . . That’s right! OK, well, that’s all the time we have! Tune in next week . . .”
And people will tune in.

Untapable is still the best 3-year-old filly

Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014
n extremely uninteresting 3-year-old filly division got a little more interesting on Saturday. A discussion that wasn’t taking place suddenly is.There was only one way that this was going to happen, and Stopchargingmaria provided it.

MLB is in good hands

Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014
Reading up on who Rob Manfred is and what he’s all about, I couldn’t escape an analogy with “The Godfather” (if you know me, you probably know that this happens a lot).

Collmus the man for job

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014
Somebody has some incredibly big shoes to fill. In fact, “size 12,” Tom Durkin drily informed us on Wednesday. That somebody is Larry Collmus, who will step into the Aqueduct announcer’s booth next April and give voice to what he considers the greatest job on the planet.

Only Stewart has the answers

Monday, Aug. 11, 2014
I can’t imagine what it must be like to kill somebody, even if it’s an accident.
I also can’t imagine what took so long for Tony Stewart to decide not to drive the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen International on Sunday.

It wasn't hard to pick this winner

Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014
Hey, I picked a winner! In a column on June 17, I put a few bucks on Plaintiffs in the first race at NCAA Downs, and federal judge Claudia Wilken awarded the photo finish to Ed O’Bannon, et al. on Friday, bringing to conclusion a suit against the NCAA that was filed way back in 2009. I thought the players’ case had merit based on antitrust principles, and judge Wilken agreed, saying that NCAA rules on player payment for “name, image and likeness” represented restraint of trade.

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