JC / Railbird

The Year in Reading, 2018 Edition

Let’s not call this a list of bests — head down in archival literature and grad school for most of the year, I didn’t read as expansively or widely about racing in the past 12 months as I might have in past years to make that kind of claim. These are the stories, and writers, that stuck with me in 2018. Read:

1. Kit Chellel’s profile of Bill Benter, his algorithm, and almost a billion dollars won: The gambler who cracked the horse-racing code (Bloomberg)

2. When Gronkowski (the human) went to Belmont. The details in this story are fantastic! I won’t spoil the fun: A tale of two Gronkowskis, and their day at the Belmont Stakes (Boston Globe)

3. This look at the man who stays behind. Pascual Rivera, barn foreman: What’s the magic behind six Kentucky Derby winners? (Los Angeles Times)

4. Reporting that will break your heart: Hazel Park Raceway closure causes ripple: ‘You don’t do people like this’ (Detroit Free Press)

5. The story of a Minnesota-bred American Pharoah baby that encapsulates all the dreams that drive this game: Triple Crown champion’s colt, born just outside Twin Cities, is a stunner (Star Tribune)

6. Tim Layden on a tremendous call: Remembering Chic Anderson’s call of Secretariat’s record run at 1973 Belmont Stakes (Sports Illustrated)

7. How you never forget the good ones: Dave (Saratoga Special)

8. Insights into how Equibase controls racing data: Getting from ‘Cease and Desist’ to ‘Come Work With Us’ (Thoroughbred Daily News)

9. Diana Hurlburt, on Aqueduct and Suffolk Downs.

10. Hambla Bauer on owning a horse and kicking around the New England circuit in 1940. Yes, this one’s a throwback. My thanks to Eric Banks for the introduction to one of the first women to take a seat in the Saratoga press box: Chicken one day, feathers the next (Saturday Evening Post)