The whole saga is the subject of a new book by Alex Brown, an exercise rider who maintained a blog that gave daily updates on Barbaro at New Bolton until the horse was put down in January 2007, suffering from the effects of laminitis. Brown talked to all the key participants and seemingly every bystander. It's a terrific read, the definitive telling of the Barbaro story.
A former Wharton School lecturer who lives in Chester County himself, Brown is in bookselling mode these days, visiting bookstores and tack shops. He'll sign Greatness & Goodness: Barbaro and His Legacy at the Chester County Book & Music Co. in West Chester on May 12. He's also been at eight racetracks in five states (Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Florida), was in Kentucky over the weekend, and is driving back there Wednesday.
"I think one of the ladies at a gas station in West Virginia thinks I live locally," Brown said.
Another terrific read
Joe Drape of the New York Times detailed why Durkin, the best in his business, decided to step down as caller of the Triple Crown races after calling the Kentucky Derby 13 times. Durkin will continue his regular duties at New York racetracks.
Drape wrote: "Last year in Louisville . . . Durkin was stretched out on a psychiatrist's couch days before the race undergoing hypnosis in the hope of conquering his performance anxiety."
Durkin had, in fact, missed the late charge along the rail of Mine That Bird at the 2009 Derby, not mentioning the horse until his final strides. "I wish I could get that one back," he told Drape.
The 60-year-old works about 2,000 races a year, and has done it for more than 33 years. But the three Triple Crown races, he said, "are like being up to bat with a 3-2 count in Game 7 of the World Series. I had to get out from underneath the heavy stuff." He called it a tough professional decision but "a great personal one."
Where in the world is . . .
LaMont Ferrell? The former Penn Wood High basketball star, who played college ball for John Chaney at Temple, helped write more than 100 episodes of Tyler Perry's TBS series, House of Payne. He recently wrote an episode of the TBS series Are We There Yet? Ferrell also does stand-up comedy, and won outstanding comedy series at the 2010 LA Webfest for a web series, You're Joking, Right? It's based on Ferrell's own life.
"Lastly, I'm planning to shoot my first independent feature film later this year," said Ferrell, who recently moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta. "It's entitled Family Business and it is a true story based upon my family's restaurant, Ferrell's Franks, that was located in the Gallery in the mid-'80s and early '90s."
Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or firstname.lastname@example.org.