By sneaking in under the wire on Sunday afternoon with a regrettable 1,600 word piece on Derby Day in Columbia County, the first year of Around2Turns came to a crashing and inglorious end. It was our 24th blog post and came 364 days after making our maiden voyage with this more buoyant number on the announcement of Tom Durkin’s pending retirement. What can I say? Even at a rate of two-per-month they can’t all be gems.
I make this post not to offer self-congratulation for such uneven and ill-scheduled contributions to the state of online horsetalk, but rather, to thank my small but cherce collection of readers for clicking through to here from someplace better, and hanging around for as long as they could possibly stand it. Like Christopher Kay of the New York Racing Association, we here at Around2Turns pledge that – here in Year 2 – we will do our utmost to make your guest experience as free from drudgery and squalor as can reasonably be expected.
Towards that goal, let’s take a brief look at the things that seemed to be OK last year, and how we might manage to do more of those (and fewer of those other ones) from hereon.
“The Drama King” piece on Durkin was that rare bird among the two dozen, as it was posted while a breaking story was still fairly fresh, making it a timely piece. Since I continue to be gainfully employed on the business side of that place where Red Smith toiled following his Women’s Wear Daily days, these sort of “newsy” bits will often be subject to the vagaries of my off (writing) hours. And if a fresh take or unique angle can’t be provided? Then, dear reader, what’s the point? You might just as well re-read the story you already saw in the pages of what Smith used to refer to as “Pravda“.
A story that came as a complete surprise, even to me, was the piece about Daniel Colman (“A Gambler’s Problem” – thanks to Justin Finch who figured this sordid affair was in my wheelhouse and tipped me to it). It would be great to be able to come up with more like that one, but there are only so many Daniel Colmans in the world, so we will just hope to get lucky and go from there.
Some of the more personal things (“The Final Hurdle” and “Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar”) were OK, but we would really prefer to do less of this sort of thing (too many I’s and me’s and we’s), even if this is technically a blog. And speaking of it being a blog, until I can get to a twice a week schedule instead of twice a month, it’s probably better to think of Around2Turns as a website where I occasionally post things.
The best thing to show up here was the “Trust and Consequences” piece on the Steve Asmussen and PETA affair (you can scroll down to find that one). While this one was certainly au courant, what really helped was having a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission report to dig into and present in a way that you were unlikely to see elsewhere. This piece getting a Twitter shout out from Steve Byk – along with really nice comments from my friends on the Thoro-Graph board – was the highlight of my year.
And that is really why I wanted to write this post. When I first hit “publish” one year ago, my personal morning line said Around2Turns was no better than even money to last the year. But getting encouragement from a bunch of smart people who I have an awful lot of respect for has helped to make this folly feel like something more, and makes me want to do better. So thank you to all the people who click over from Thoro-Graph or the Ragozin board or from PaceAdvantage or Twitter or wherever you may find me. Special thanks to good friend Jerry Brown, who has always been encouraging and allows me to hang out my shingle on his rollicking message board. And one more special thank you to Justin Finch and Marc Attenberg of TimeFormUS, who have been quite early and explicit in their encouragement. Thank you all, and here’s to hoping that the next few photos go your way.