JC / Railbird

Vic Ziegel

Vic Ziegel, RIP

The 72-year-old sportswriter died Friday:

… and the only one who could lighten such dark and heavy news would have been Ziegel himself.

Nobody had a more deft touch with written words or humor than Ziegel, The News columnist and former sports editor, who spent his life making readers smile or chuckle over the one-liners he so painstakingly crafted.

I can’t remember ever reading a bad Ziegel column. He could do humor without snark, criticism without condescension. Even covering the biggest racing days, when every little detail that could be reported seemed to have been so, his words always sounded fresh, his stories always new.

“It astounded my father — a man who rode with the Cossacks; the friendlier Cossacks — that a son of his earned a living writing 24-21, 4-3, $12.60 to win,” Ziegel once wrote of his career. “The truth? It still astounds his son.”

7/27/10 Addendum: Allen Barra remembers Ziegel. “But at a particular time, hell, there were times when I think I was the best.” No question.

Weekend Notes

New York Daily News racing columnist Vic Ziegel takes a buyout. “I’m gone,” said Ziegel, who was with the paper for 24 years. “It’s cool.” (New York Post)

DRF columnist Jay Hovdey joins the racing blogosphere, while Ed DeRosa of Thoro Times settles in at Big Event Blog. (Thanks for the shout-out, EJXD2.)

Rough weekend for stars.” Perhaps the most lacking in excuses for a flop was Music Note, who came off a seven-month layoff to finish a career-worst fifth going over her favorite surface in the Ogden Phipps. Will she improve next out? Or was the sub-par work of two weeks before, then her Saturday performance, indication that the filly isn’t the same as she was last year?

Commentator wins the Kashatreya Stakes, points to a third Whitney score. The most interesting thing about Friday’s race was that the 8-year-old ran a :23.48 final quarter (following a leisurely 1:12.17 three-quarters). The most disappointing was Naughty New Yorker, making his first start since the 2008 Suburban and obviously in need of a race, finishing a tired fourth.