Articles

The Sherpa of New York

Deadspin, July 25, 2018

Serap had only three more giants to scale to become the first Sherpa to top the 14 tallest Himalayan peaks—a kind of alpine Hall of Fame. One year later, he was living in Queens and working at Tent & Trails.

(Featured on Longform)

The Drug Runners

Texas Monthly, August 2017

The Tarahumara of northern Mexico became famous for their ability to run incredibly long distances. In recent years, cartels have exploited their talents by forcing them to ferry drugs into the U.S. Now, with their land ravaged by violence, they’re running for their lives.

(Featured on Longreads, Longform, the Sunday Long Read, and KERA’s “Think”)

Saving Queens’ Secret Wetlands

The Village Voice, June 27, 2017

One early-March afternoon in 2007, Rob Jett climbed through a hole in a chain-link fence and thought he had entered a lost world.

Meet Peter Dorosh, the Bird Man of Prospect Park

The Village Voice, April 4, 2017

For weeks, a sneaky intruder had eluded Peter Dorosh and at least six others who were now shuffling along the stone Terrace Bridge in the freezing cold. Their target: a linebacker-shaped raptor called a northern goshawk.

How America’s Favorite Sports Betting Expert Turned A Sucker’s Game Into An Industry

Deadspin, June 23, 2016

Today’s touts get you on both ends. They sell you “winners,” and then collect when you lose. It’s a sucker’s game, same as it ever was.

(Featured on Longform)

Predicting Racing Success Genetically

International New York Times, June 14, 2016

DNA testing in horse racing is relatively new but already one of its most contentious topics.

A Father and Son Cultivate Training Excellence

International New York Times, June 14, 2016

It took Norman Casse almost three months to tell his father, Mark, that he wanted to become a racehorse trainer just like him.

American Pharoah Strikes Gold as a Stud

Tablet Magazine, January 6, 2016

The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years is set to garner a breeding fee of $200,000 per foal. But his championship run does not guarantee success for his offspring.

Father and Son, Riding High 

International New York Times, December 12, 2015

The father, who nows rides in Australia, will be watching—from a seat in the stands—as his son, now 21 and a rising star in racing, buzzes past.

Mongolian Horsemen Conquer the West, One Race at a Time

International New York Times, December 12, 2015

“Mongolian racing is 100 years behind,” the man said. “How will you catch up?” Enebish’s response was simple: “A horse is a horse.”

Secrets of a Japanese Horse-Breeding Empire

International New York Times, November 27, 2015

Katsumi Yoshida needs few words to explain his approach to breeding racehorses: “I buy the best and I never sell.”

An Irishman’s Blazing Trail Into Japan’s Racing Circles 

International New York Times, November 27, 2015

Harry Sweeney’s Japanese peers have never seen anyone like him. As his brother Finbarr joked, “Harry says more than his prayers.”

A Filly’s Date With History 

International New York Times, October 3, 2015

A year later and with all that can go wrong with horses, that Trêve finds herself going for a third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is nothing short of incredible.

Longchamp Revamp Splits French Racing

International New York Times, October 3, 2015

A week after the 94th edition of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has been run on Sunday at Longchamp racecourse in Paris, demolition crews will start bringing down the track’s half-century-old grandstand.

A Jockey Rises After Hard Fall From Grace 

New York Times, October 3, 2015

Frankie Dettori turns 45 in December, but he sounds as if he is closer to the start than the end of his celebrated career.

‘Mad Genius From America’ Sets His Sights on England’s Racecourses 

International New York Times, June 16, 2015

For three months before the annual Royal Ascot meeting in England, Wesley Ward becomes a hybrid, part racehorse trainer, part weatherman. From his home in the United States, Ward looks for that very un-English sight: sunshine.

A Challenge Too Great for California Chrome?

International New York Times, June 16, 2015

“We wanted to take on all comers and see what kind of horse we had,” Perry Martin said.

In Dubai, an American’s Racing Dreams Come True 

International New York Times, March 28, 2015

On the night of the first Dubai World Cup, in 1996, Doug Watson was in charge of driving the horse ambulance. Under the lights at Meydan Racecourse this year, Watson, now one of the most successful trainers in Dubai, will saddle Candy Boy in the $10 million race.

Modern Track in Dubai Enters an Old-School New Era

International New York Times, March 28, 2015

It was the end of a short-lived era in Dubai.

John Moore, an Accidental Kind of Horse Trainer 

International New York Times, December 13, 2014

The Moore name is one of the best known in Australian racing circles, but it is on the streets of Hong Kong, not Sydney, where John Moore never goes unrecognized.

What’s Age Got to Do With It? At 8, Cirrus des Aigles Is a Model for Other Racehorses

International New York Times, December 13, 2014

Cirrus des Aigles’ six-year career—which continues—is one of the most incredible in turf history. Never has such unexceptional breeding yielded such quality.

How Japan Built The World’s Best Horse Racing 

Deadspin, December 11, 2014

I've spent years covering the dysfunction of American racing, and the Japanese version is its antithesis: centralized, strictly controlled, and presumably—almost unbelievably, to any veteran turf writer—upright.

A Day At The Track For The World’s Biggest And Strangest Horse Race 

Deadspin, December 5, 2014

One of the most-watched and best-attended sporting events in the world took place in Tokyo last Sunday. More than 100,000 people, thousands of whom slept outside overnight, streamed into Tokyo Racecourse for the $5 million-plus Japan Cup.

Renewing a Winning Pedigree: Sea the Stars Is Making His Mark as a Stallion 

International New York Times, October 4, 2014

Sea the Stars retired on a high note, and the question for breeders and owners was whether his success would continue into his stallion career. The answer has been a resounding yes.

Longchamp’s Fountain of Youth: The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Has Favored 3-Year-Olds Lately

International New York Times, October 4, 2014

The winner’s roll for the last two decades of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe reads like a Derby or an Oaks. 

Qatar, the New Force in European Thoroughbred Racing 

International New York Times, June 17, 2014

Much of Qatar’s wealth from the oil and gas industry is held by the al-Thani family. And they have spent heavily on sporting interests.

High Hopes for an American Racehorse in Europe 

International New York Times, June 17, 2014

Verrazano the horse, a European transplant that began his career in America, was named by two friends for a structural marvel: the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge in New York City.

Winning Horse Races Is All in the Family: Criquette Head-Maarek, Trainer of Treve, Is at the Top of French Racing

International New York Times, June 14, 2014

On the day he closed the deal, Alec Head brought his father to see the dilapidated farm for the first time. Seeing its condition, with a prison and bunkers remaining from the German occupation, his father told him, “You’re going to ruin the family.”

Prix de Diane: A Race Made for Local Heroines 

International New York Times, June 14, 2014

The Prix de Diane will almost certainly be won by a filly trained and bred on home soil—all the favorites fit that category.

Riding High on a Last Chance

International New York Times, May 3, 2014

A little more than a year ago, Billy Gowan suddenly found himself without a horse. “It’s pretty wild how this game is,” he said. “You can be down and out and not have anything, and the next year be in the Kentucky Derby.”

Secret to Success: a Derby win and Racing’s Doping Addiction 

ProPublica, May 2, 2014

Fifty years after the 1964 Kentucky Derby, revisiting the race and its implications for drugs in the Sport of Kings.

(Honorable mention for the 2014 Media Eclipse Award in news/enterprise writing)

Horses and Handlers Groomed For Success 

International New York Times, March 28, 2014

Riverside is one of 10 grooms’ cooperatives in South Africa. They are part of a 2010 government-funded plan called Black Economic Empowerment, which aims to help black and so-called colored South Africans who endured apartheid.

South African Horse Gets His Star Turn 

International New York Times, March 28, 2014

Arranging a typical racehorse’s schedule may seem to be a straightforward task, but 6-year-old Variety Club, the two-time South African horse of the year, is not your typical racehorse.

The World Is This Horse’s Track

International New York Times, December 7, 2013

In the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin, the 7-year-old Red Cadeaux will make another stop on a multiyear world tour unlikely to be matched anytime soon, except maybe by the Rolling Stones.

How a Spindly Yearling Became a Legend 

International New York Times, December 7, 2013

Moonlight Cloud, a diminutive mare with a truckload of courage, has won 12 races — six of the Group 1 variety — and the hearts of European racing fans.

A Cosmopolitan Horse Comes to Australia 

International New York Times, November 5, 2013

“As soon as an Australian rings up, the price goes up,” Darren Dance said with a laugh. “In all negotiations, I’m always known as A-dot-client.”

Australia’s Melbourne Cup Is Now a Foreign Affair

International New York Times, November 5, 2013

At least a third of the field in the 153rd Melbourne Cup will be made up of overseas runners, and a couple more were recently purchased from Europe by deep-pocketed Australian owners. But it wasn’t always an international prize and spectacle.

In Germany, a New Day at the Races 

International New York Times, October 4, 2013

Horse racing in soccer-centric Germany rarely catches the eye of the public at large, but Andreas Wöhler, one of the most successful German trainers, has witnessed a shift recently.

Orfevre Gets a Last Shot at Redemption

International New York Times, October 4, 2013

With 200 meters left in the Prix l’Arc de Triomphe last year, it looked certain that Orfevre, the Japanese star with the French name, would erase his nation’s past disappointments in this special race.

Affirmed and Alydar’s Travers showdown still rouses emotions 

Daily Racing Form, August 24, 2013

For two months in 1978, Saratoga had readied itself for the 109th Travers, the anticipation bubbling and then bursting to the surface like the mineral springs that rise through limestone and shale to give the town its name.

Chart callers: The inexact science behind a basic betting tool

Daily Racing Form, August 10, 2013

Most jobs at the racetrack are comprehensible to the outside world. You ride horses, or you train them, own them, take bets, or bet on them. Steve Hurley, a chart caller for 30 years, is not so lucky. He only receives blank stares when he describes his occupation.

It’s personal: A battle rages between advertisers and privacy advocates over access to online behavior 

SC Magazine, July 2013

It took Sid Stamm, the lead privacy engineer at Mozilla, a few minutes to create the first prototype of the Do Not Track header. Then came the hard part.

‘Race Horse is Not a Diagnosis’: The Path Forward 

Thoroughbred Daily News magazine series “A Painful Truth,” June 22, 2013

The reality is that those inside and out horse racing see it as beguiled by drugs and suffering dearly for it.

Hard Times for Sport of Kings in Ancestral Home

International Herald Tribune, June 18, 2013

To mention money in the rarefied setting of Royal Ascot might seem tasteless. But beyond Ascot, the industry’s numbers don’t add up.

One Victory Away From Racing History 

International Herald Tribune, June 18, 2013

This will be the third continent on which Animal Kingdom has raced, and he has won on three surfaces—dirt, turf and synthetic—on the grandest stages. Winning at Ascot would put him in a class all his own.

How Big Brown’s People Nearly Pulled Off Horse Racing’s Biggest Scam 

Deadspin, June 7, 2013

Only 11 horses had ever won the Triple Crown, and if Big Brown could do it, both Richard Dutrow and IEAH would be immortalized. But for both the horse and his connections, the fall was swift and severe.

War on Drugs? Vet Records and State Rules Say No 

Thoroughbred Daily News magazine series “A Painful Truth,” May 10, 2013

It seems a trainer would have to be crazy to use illegal drugs when so many legal ones are at his disposal.

The Road to Louisville Is Now Paved With Points

International Herald Tribune, May 4, 2013

The most talked about aspect on the road to the 139th Kentucky Derby this year has been a matter of points: To decide which 20 horses will be in the starting gates on Saturday at Churchill Downs, race officials created a new qualifying system.

2 Storied Lineages Share a Kentucky Derby Favorite

International Herald Tribune, May 4, 2013

The silks of the Phipps family and that of the Janneys, two of the oldest-running in the sport and bonded by blood, are as recognizable as any in American racing. But neither stable has won the Kentucky Derby. A long-striding bay colt named Orb could change all that.

A History of Drugs in Racing

Thoroughbred Daily News magazine series “A Painful Truth,” May 2, 2013

For as long as races have been run in America, there have been horsemen eager to win them with whatever substance was at hand. This headline–“Dope: Evil of the Turf”–once ran in the New York Times. Not in 2012, but 1903.

Kevin Krigger is Racing for History 

Men’s Journal, May 2013

Black jockeys once dominated the Kentucky Derby, winning 15 of the first 28 titles between 1875 and 1902. They were former slaves and their sons–a vestige of colonial times, when planters owned both horses and riders.

Brothers’ Keeper: Savvy racetracker stands behind success of riding phenoms Irad and Jose Ortiz 

Daily Racing Form, April 6, 2013

Everything Pito Rosa has learned watching jockeys during four decades spent in racing, he has poured into Irad and Jose Ortiz. At times this winter, the brothers were as close to unbeatable as it gets in racing.

For South African Horses, a Long Road to Dubai

International Herald Tribune, March 30, 2013

A nonstop flight from Cape Town to Dubai generally lasts 10 hours. But for a dozen of the best racehorses from South Africa, the trip to Dubai this racing season took five months.

Great Expectations for a Convention-Bucking American Colt

International Herald Tribune, March 30, 2013

Among the American imports in the Dubai World Cup this year, Animal Kingdom is something of an anomaly.

New York OTB: Remembering a city icon 

Daily Racing Form, February 9, 2013

The impact of New York City OTB’s closing is still felt acutely–most of all by former employees, but also by bettors and anyone who came into its orbit during its outrageous lifespan. Their stories reveal an era of New York City that no longer exists.

Recovery Begins Slowly for Award-Winning Jockey 

New York Times, January 23, 2013

It speaks to his nature that on the day he was to receive the Eclipse Award for jockey of the year, Ramon Dominguez planned on riding at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens before flying to South Florida for the ceremony. Dominguez didn’t get the chance.

Pacer Finishes 2nd in His 461st and Final Start 

New York Times, December 28, 2012

Tattler’s Jet, a 14-year-old gelding, didn’t finish his career in the winner’s circle, but he showed characteristic toughness in a sea of mud and snow Thursday at Monticello Raceway.

After 460 Starts, a War Horse’s Last Stand

New York Times, December 27, 2012

A blue-collar folk hero on the Midwest harness circuit, Tattler’s Jet has never missed a beat in a career that beggars belief. Bred in Wisconsin, a state known more for livestock, he is one of the sturdiest racehorses to pull a sulky.

Cool, Calm and Collecting Millions 

New York Times, November 20, 2012

At 5 feet 6 inches, Ramon Dominguez sits high in the saddle, stretches his hands onto the reins in an unorthodox manner and flashes his whip in an almost exaggerated half-windmill arc. There’s an easy way to spot him in a race, too: look for who’s in front at the finish.

Jerkens in long line of trainers thriving after 70 

Daily Racing Form, October 6, 2012

There is a gallows-humor refrain often heard at the track: “Trainers don’t retire, they die.” Across the country, you find trainers in their 70s and 80s who are not only hanging in there but still successful.

Ability to Pace is Written in DNA of Some Horses 

New York Times, September 11, 2012

Eadweard Muybridge settled a bet in 1872 by showing, with a single photographic negative, that a horse has four feet off the ground at the trot. Now, 140 years later, trotting horses have yielded another breakthrough, this time in the field of genetics.

Keiber Coa presses on a year after father’s fateful spill

Daily Racing Form, July 7, 2012

Keiber Coa rides with the specter of his father’s accident over every trip to the track. He might not see it, since the fearlessness of youth blinds. But his father does.

(Won the 2012 Media Eclipse Award for feature writing)

Reunion at Belmont Park For 4 Buddies and Bettors 

New York Times, June 10, 2012

Four friends met in the same spot and at the same time on Belmont Stakes day as they have for years. The scratch of I’ll Have Another, as disappointing as they agreed it was, would certainly not spoil tradition.

‘Unbelievable’ End of a Dream 

New York Times, June 9, 2012

Word began to circulate just after 11 at Belmont Park on Friday morning. It almost seemed unbelievable. But it was true. I’ll Have Another, 30 hours from walking into the starting gate for the Belmont Stakes, was going to be scratched. 

A Chiropractor for the Four-Legged Set

New York Times, June 2, 2012

Larry Jones is one of the few equine chiropractors in the horse industry—he stretches, he adjusts, he massages—and he has worked on I’ll Have Another through the Triple Crown races.

On fertile ground: Social networking 

SC Magazine, June 2012

Never before has more information about individuals and companies been publicly available, and the culprits are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks.

Monmouth puts its fate in Drazin’s hands

Daily Racing Form, May 12, 2012

Attorney Dennis Drazin is about to take the starring role, the director coming out from behind the camera to take his own acting cues. Monmouth Park’s fate will rise or fall on his ideas, his work, his political connections. Because the state wants out of this racing business.

Winning Horse Racing Partners Do It Their Own Way

International Herald Tribune, May 4, 2012

Graham Motion still can’t believe it. That’s what winning the Kentucky Derby does to a trainer.

A Fallen Horse Trainer Seeks to Revive His Once-Stellar Career 

International Herald Tribune, May 4, 2012

For a trainer who had to wait 14 years between major victories, Patrick Byrne looked strangely calm after winning the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. If he looked like a man who had been there before, it was because he had.

A Vision in White

New York Times, April 11, 2012

Hansen, the reigning 2-year-old thoroughbred champion, is the color of alabaster, a striking white vision set against the bays, browns and chestnuts he has left behind in all but one race.

Gemologist Earns Spot in Kentucky Derby With Win in Wood Memorial

New York Times, April 8, 2012

They say good stallions stamp their foals, and in the Wood Memorial on Saturday, Gemologist flashed the same resolve that once characterized his sire Tiznow in consecutive victories in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2000 and 2001. 

Hatton provides window into racing’s golden age

Daily Racing Form, March 10, 2012

The charm and enjoyment in reading Charles Hatton’s work lies in its time-machine quality. It takes you back to a grander time for horse racing.

Runner Leaves College, and Everyone Else, Far Behind in Wanamaker Mile 

New York Times, February 12, 2012

At the 105th Millrose Games, which were held at the Armory for the first time on Saturday, Matt Centrowitz showed why he is considered one of the rising stars of American middle-distance runners with an electrifying victory in the Wanamaker Mile.

Bratwurst, N.Y.C.

New York Times, January 13, 2012

New York, for all of its diversity, is also a city of defined communities, like the group of men who, for years, have gathered in the back of the Kettle of Fish in Greenwich Village. There, around a round oak table, they watch their Green Bay Packers play, week after winter week.

Lasix: Demystifying the drug, methods of training without it

Daily Racing Form, November 19, 2011

How would horse racing in America change without Lasix? Examining the alternatives to this universal drug.

(Honorable mention for the 2011 Media Eclipse Award in news/enterprise writing)

Next two weeks could put Ward on the rise 

Daily Racing Form, August 27, 2011

Wesley Ward laughs at the suggestion that he must be in more than one place at a time. Does a body double stand in for him at the various racetracks where he hangs his colors?

The Godfather of handicappers: Pittsburg Phil changed the game forever

Daily Racing Form, June 25, 2011

George E. Smith, or Pittsburg Phil, was the first modern handicapper. He perfected the art of picking winners, and a century after his death his maxims and methods remain instructive, in some cases timeless.

The Patients No One Wants

Brown Alumni Magazine, May/June 2011

Jody Rich is one of several Brown doctors who over the past quarter century have quietly established Rhode Island as a national model for providing quality health care to incarcerated citizens.

Louisiana HBPA case of fraud, conspiracy divides horsemen

Daily Racing Form, March 26, 2011

If Hamlet were recast in modern America, is there any doubt where it would be set? Over the last six years in Louisiana, a Shakespearean performance full of intrigue, betrayal, greed, and family rivalries has played out within the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

Motion finds success as trainer and family man 

Daily Racing Form, January 1, 2011

Graham Motion is a family man, humble, gracious, and a good listener; an interview often turns into a conversation among equals. But below his imperturbable demeanor burns a sentimental side one cannot miss on a visit to his stable at Fair Hill.

The golden era of Brooklyn racing 

Daily Racing Form, November 13, 2010

There are no obvious traces left of Brooklyn’s grand horse racing past. Not even a plaque where any of its three storied racetracks once stood, reminding unsuspecting passersby of the famed circuit that laid the foundation for the modern game.

Suspended jockeys mocking the system

Daily Racing Form, September 25, 2010

It is accepted wisdom now that jockeys collect shorter suspensions for careless riding and, afforded legal rights of due process, can appeal them almost ad infinitum and in the end serve the days at will.

Jersey’s Pinball Wizard

Inside Jersey, October 2010

It’s four days until the 4th of July, and Rob Ilvento is scrambling. His Silverball Museum Arcade is about to celebrate its first anniversary, and he’s bouncing around the room just as, well, a pinball.

Frank H. Brunell: The father of form

Daily Racing Form, August 14, 2010

In the late 19th century, Frank Brunell quit as sports editor of the Chicago Tribune and changed horse racing with his creation of the Daily Racing Form.

Meadowlands Racetrack, Its Future Uncertain, Hosts Hambletonian on Saturday

New York Times, August 7, 2010

These are extraordinary times for harness racing in New Jersey. The state hopes to quit operating the Meadowlands and rejected the idea of having slot machines there.

Adidas Grand Prix Rolls On Without Bolt and Gay

New York Times, June 13, 2010

For months, this event, the fifth stop of the inaugural 14-meet Diamond League, had been fashioned around the rivalry between the sprinters Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay. But neither competed because of minor injuries.

Still Stylin’: The legend of Asbury Park’s Mr. Fashion

Inside Jersey, June 2010

Through all the tough times in Asbury Park, there was one constant light flickering downtown at 540 Cookman Avenue: Mr. Fashion, a men’s clothing store that has stood sentry in the neighborhood since 1971.

The $50 Million Question

Daily Racing Form, May 22, 2010

Monmouth Park is a bulwark against time. The stately 65-year-old racetrack peddles charm and tradition, and those wares have never faded here. But the meet that begins Saturday is the most important in track history.

Bolts Anchors Jamaican 4×100 to Record Win at Penn Relays

New York Times, April 25, 2010

At the Penn Relays, a record crowd of 54,310, most of them cloaked in the Jamaican national colors, turned out to watch Usain Bolt, the men’s world-record holder in the 100 and 200 meters. He didn’t disappoint them. 

After Some Detours, the Sprinter Bailey Finds His Stride

New York Times, April 24, 2010

Ryan Bailey looks more like a football player, which was his choice sport until the end of high school. Becoming a track star was far from predetermined.

Southern California is clocker country

Daily Racing Form, March 6, 2010

Clocking is still something of a religion in Southern California. It has different churches—workout reports from National Turf, The Winner's Card, Today's Racing Digest, The Handicapper’s Report—and many believers. Workouts are scrutinized like scripture.

Panama: Cradle of Jockeys

Daily Racing Form, December 19, 2009

At his jockeys’ school in Panama City, Luis Saez’s instructors often reminded him and his classmates of the school’s slogan: Panama is the cradle of the best jockeys in the world.

Little Joe Verrone: one of a kind jock’s agent

Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, November 2009

Little Joe Verrone may well be the longest-active jockey’s agent in the country. He is 86 years old, and has spent the last 60 years as an agent. In New Jersey, where he has plied his trade for nearly 50 years, he is an institution.

Big weights a thing of the past

Daily Racing Form, October 22, 2009

With few exceptions, weight, long the ultimate equalizer in racing, has largely disappeared from competition.

Apocalypse Now: Where to Escape

Minyanville, September 16, 2009

A crisis connoisseur, Doug Casey describes our current situation as the Greater Depression: Far from over, he predicts greater problems ahead, such as higher unemployment, a lower standard of living, and civil unrest.

Colonial Farms: Three Generations and Counting

Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, September 2009

John Fieramosca didn’t envision a Thoroughbred dynasty back in 1950 when he purchased 113 acres of farmland in the New Jersey township of Colts Neck. He was simply looking for a place where he and his son, Sam, could ride their trail horses and enjoy life on a farm.

Dr. Foot’s Specialty? Philadelphia Basketball

New York Times, August 7, 2009

Dave Scheiner, whom everybody calls Dr. Foot, is a retired podiatrist and the man behind the most popular league in a city of rich basketball tradition.

The Blue Room Game

Brown Alumni Magazine, July/August 2009

What’s most remarkable about the Blue Room Game is how it became the training ground for a few of the most successful professional poker players to have emerged over the past couple of years. I know, because I was there.

Railroaded: One Man’s Ride Involves More Than Just Delays

Minyanville, July 17, 2009

In America, train travel has gone off the rails.

Whatever Happened to the American Suburb?

Minyanville, July 7, 2009

If most suburbs look similar to this one, it's because this was the first. This is Levittown.

New York Cabbies Get Taken for a Ride

Minyanville, June 23, 2009

Exorbitantly overpriced, taxi medallions are the last can't-miss investment in town.

Confessions of a Swapaholic

Minyanville, June 12, 2009

In a recession, you swap till you drop.

Giving Horse Racing More Exposure and Permanence

New York Times, June 7, 2009

Until a few years ago, there were hardly any easy ways the average fan could relive great moments of horse racing’s past. Credit Jim Conti (YouTube alias “partymanners”), and the Web, with providing the bridge.

Ghost of Woody Stephens Looms Large at Belmont

New York Times, June 6, 2009

The tens of thousands of racegoers on Saturday will be reminded of Woody Stephens, for he is forever linked to Belmont Park and its classic race. Stephens won the Belmont Stakes five years in a row, an astounding feat that seems improbable with each passing year.

The Forgotten Faces of Wall Street

Minyanville, June 3, 2009

At the foot of the high-rises lie the real stories of the financial crisis.

Horse Racing’s Digital Historian

New York Times, June 2, 2009

For the last three years, my racetrack friends and I have talked about Partymanners with reverence and awe. Partymanners is the YouTube handle of an anonymous person who, as of February 2006, has posted nearly 1,400 races, some recent but mostly older.

Top Traders: Where Are They Now?

Minyanville, April 6, 2009

The magazine Trader Monthly shut down in February—a victim of Wall Street’s implosion. Over its 4-year lifespan, the glossy publication—and its Gordon Gekko-meets-Julius Caesar motto, “See it, make it, spend it”—was the perfect foil for an unchecked bull market.

Economy Takes the Controls From Some Video-Game Pros

New York Times, April 1, 2009

Until recently, Emmanuel Rodriguez worked on a stage, under bright lights, amid intense competition and before cheering fans. He was a professional video-game player, and a world champion.

A Family Tree Has Roots At Monmouth

Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, April 2009

Ninety-nine years ago, Joseph Sacco arrived in New Jersey and laid the footers for a Thoroughbred stable. Now, grandsons Gregg and Rick are building the additions.

Let’s Make a Deal

Minyanville, March 16, 2009

I must have appeared calm on the outside, but I was actually in stomach-churning turmoil. Beads of sweat gathered on my brow; my hands were clammy. Finally I spoke, my voice nearly cracking: “Can you do any better on that price?”

In Army-Navy Game, Friends, Competitors, and a Band of Brothers

New York Times, December 3, 2008

As Army renews its college football rivalry with Navy for the 109th time Saturday in Philadelphia, Doug Larsen’s mind will surely drift back to the game in 2000. That was when he looked across the line of scrimmage and saw his friend Ronnie Winchester.

Winning Against Hopelessness

New York Times, September 16, 2008

“My job is to interrupt the pipeline that is causing young men to go from the cradle to prison,” Roy Young, a former All-Pro cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles, said recently.

*The above is a mostly-complete collection of my articles since I began freelancing in the summer of 2008. Articles from my days as a reporter for the Daily Racing Form (2001-05) and Asbury Park Press (1999-2001) can be found in those newspapers’ tombs, and my basement. I suspect nobody is clamoring for them.