Easy Writer - By Mandy Haskin

The following (Part 2)  was written by my daughter Mandy for the May 3 issue of Stride magazine (http://issuu.com/stridemagonline/docs/stride5), accompanied by photos. If you missed Part 1, you can read it at the above address (Pages 50-53) or on the "Hangin' With Haskin" blog archive.

I have been asked if I plan to stay involved in horse racing, and in what capacity. To answer that question, I must once again return to my past. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to find a way to keep racing in my life. As a teenager I wanted to be a trainer, until I realized how early in the morning I'd have to wake up. Then I wanted to be a bloodstock agent because it sounded cool. But I soon came to the realization that I understood more about quantum physics than I did about equine conformation. I eventually decided to become a veterinarian, majoring in pre-vet in college and spending my summers working at the New Jersey Equine Clinic under Scott Palmer and Patty Hogan. (Although I came after Smarty Jones, I was there for Afleet Alex's surgery). But after three school years of organic chemistry and systems physiology, and two summers spent covered in blood and holding castrated testicles, I knew that wasn't for me either. I rebelled against all things science-related by changing my major to English and Art History, and decided that I would make lots of money and become a horse owner. 

When it became clear that an English major was not going to make me rich, I resigned myself to just being a horse racing fan, and maybe a suave gambler, like some female Damon Runyon character. But just when I was about to start smoking cigars and learning the art of slapping a rolled up program into my hand, my father told me he was going to the Dubai World Cup and had found a writing assignment for me. Pat Cummings wanted me to write a piece for his website, DubaiRaceNight.com, chronicling my first trip to Dubai. I was ecstatic. Suddenly I was a serious journalist, traveling to the Middle East to report back on my cultural and glamorous experiences in a far-off land. In my head, I was Kipling. I wrote that article with all the enthusiasm and flowery metaphors I had in me, and actually received a lot of great feedback. People were saying that the apple didn't fall far from the tree and making jokes about my dad being a good "sire" -- that he was the next Storm Cat. I was honored and touched by all the compliments. But most importantly I knew I made my dad proud.

So the answer to that question is, of course, yes. But it took a while for me to realize I was destined to follow in my father's footsteps and actually write about horse racing. I guess life doesn't always show you the easy path. It's all those dead ends and roundabouts that allow you to recognize the right path when it appears before you. I know now that horse racing will remain in my life as long as I keep writing about it.   

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