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About Terry Conway

For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, prominent daily news- papers and web sites.  Currently my work appears in Blood Horse magazine, Long Island Boating World magazine, The Hunt magazine, and PA Equestrian as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Delaware County Times, the Montgomery County Newspapers and Newsworks, the website of WHYY-TV (PBS in Philly).  I am a regular contributor to JustLuxe, JustSayGo,  Gallaghers Travels  and SeeTheSouth -- topflight travel websites - and have contributed travel articles to the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association website.

While many of my articles have spotlighted the world of art and special travel destinations, many folks ask, why horse racing? Well, it was America’s first sport. Andrew Jackson kept a stable when he was in the White House (1829-1837). Only four sportswriters have won the Pulitzer Prize and all of them wrote at one time or another about horseracing. It is all about chasing dreams, the fiercest rivalries, the wildest flukes and larger-than-life personalities, equine and human. The stories are personal, often laced with humor. And, unlike most professional athletes when you show up, the horse’s connections are pleased to talk with you.


Bio RanchCreekRide

I have been a regular contributor to The Blood-Horse magazine since 2003, and I have been a racing correspondent to ESPN.com, where I focus on historical racing stories. My work also appears on America’s Best Racing - the website of the Jockey Club, Equidaily.com, and TheRacingBiz.com. I have covered racing for Pennsylvania Equestrian since 2006; wrote a Sunday column on racing for several years for the Chester County (Pa.) daily newspaper; and write about racing and the horse world for The Hunt magazine in the mid-Atlantic region.

I represented clients for nearly a decade in the areas of marketing and publicity such as the Kahunaville restaurant chain, Baldwin’s Book Barn and Thoroughbred Charities of America. In a former life I was the editor, publisher and owner of Life Sports Magazine.

Smarty XmasCard

My wife Jane, our toller retriever Smarty and I live in the historic neighborhood of Wawaset Park in Wilmington, Del. A century ago it was the state fairgrounds, home to a top-tier standardbred racetrack. Today, the grand old track can be visualized on a stroll along a pair of crescent-shaped roads that together circle the inside of the park. A couple of hitching posts still remain and occasionally, a time-worn horse shoe is dug up. Life sure does turn circles.


Photos of Terry, Riding in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, and Smarty on the homepage - by Jane Conway.



Giovanni's World Print E-mail

The Hunt
Spring 2015

Like his wines, Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini boasts a rich history.BF Gio 01

Directly descended from Italian royalty, Giovanni spends much of his time guiding the family winery that lies at the foot of the majestic Dolomite mountains of northern Italy. Perfect rows of vines scallop the surrounding hillsides where Barone Fini grapes are grown in as natural a manner as possible in the Trentino-Alto Adige region that shoulders up against Austria.

Cultivating vineyards has been a family business since 1497 when the two noble Venetian families of Bonmartini and Fini united in marriage. Reports say they made wine for the famed Medici family.

Want more? The family history is haunted by the ghastly killing of Count Francesco Bonmartini of Bologna, a wealthy and titled landowner in 1902. The scandal was the talk of Europe and America for three years. It centered around the role played by Bonmartini's widow, Linda, known as "The Enchantress."  The story was turned into a political thriller in the memorable 1974 film La Grand Bourgeoise, starring Catherine Deneuve as the murderess wife Linda Murri. Linda is Giovanni's great-granny.

Upstart a Prime Derby Contender for Violette Print E-mail

PA Equestrian
April 2015                                                                                                                   

When you've just won a $400,000 Derby prep race and you're headed to the winner's circle, it's never good to see a flashing inquiry sign. Trainer Rick Violette, Jr. was getting ready to celebrate after watching his talented three-old Upstart roll to a 2 3/4 length victory in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 21.PAE 0415 Upstart

After a lengthy review, the 4-5 favorite Upstart was disqualified and placed second behind the stakes debuting Todd Pletcher trainee Itsaknockout. Violette and Upstart's owner Ralph Evans quickly departed the winner’s circle.

"Bad call," said a clearly upset Violette after the race. "They (stewards) have to understand that when the horse gets hit behind the girth (by a tiring and drifting-out Frosted), the only place the horse can go is to the right. It's disappointing. The horse ran great, we just don't get credit for it."

With Jose Ortiz in the irons, the New York-bred Upstart closed steadily in the 1 1/16-mile Derby prep to take control from 7-2 second choice Frosted in the final sixteenth. But Upstart bore out under steady left-handed urging from Ortiz against Starlight Racing's Itsaknockout in the deep stretch. Upstart raced wide throughout and the Trakus measurement system showed that he covered 20 feet more than Itsaknockout and 54 feet more than third place finisher Framment.

The Brandywine: An Intimate Portrait Print E-mail

Book Review
March 2015

Power once meant falling water.  In our new country in the late 18th century, nowhere in the fledgling American colonies was there more water power-- and, at just the right locations-- than on the Brandywine River.Bdywine 3

The water-powered mills on the swiftly falling Brandywine River made the lower stretches of the waterway the most important milling center in the country. More than 100 mills dotted the river's banks, producing flour, cloth and paper. And it was on those banks that a French émigré named Eleuthére Irenée duPont de Nemours established black powder mills at what is today Hagley Museum which gave rise to the DuPont Company chemical empire of today.

In W. Barksdale Maynard's fascinating new book: "Brandywine: An Intimate Portrait," the acclaimed writer crafts a sweeping narrative which brings to life the legendary men and women who shaped the Brandywine's history and industry, and its arts and culture. It stretches from the time of the Lenape Indians and  original European settlement to the "titanic" Battle of the Brandywine-- the largest land battle of the Revolutionary War-- to the establishment of First State National Monument on its banks in 2013.

A major theme that runs through the book is that the region has often hosted competing interests. The du Ponts, who arrived on the Brandywine in 1802, "present the whole Brandywine paradox in microcosm," Maynard writes. "The family has been at the cutting edge of modernization and high technology, yet arch-traditionalists in their attitude toward cultural heritage and the landscape."

Ben Jones: Racing's Pugnacious Maestro Print E-mail

America's Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
March 2015

It was 1939. Hard-knocking trainer Ben Jones was being wooed by Warren Wright, the master of Calumet Farm, near Lexington, Ky.BJones 2

"Mr. Wright, I'm afraid to tell you your horses aren't good enough," barked Jones, who had already won the 1938 Kentucky Derby with Lawrin.

A small and dapper but humorless man, Wright responded: "Well, by George, if I'm not raising them good enough I'll buy them for you."

No doubt about that. His father William Monroe Wright had  launched the Calumet baking powder company in 1889. (A native American term for "peace pipe," in 2015 the baking powder can still be found on grocery store shelves.)  Warren Wright joined the business at age fifteen and proved to be a man of considerable business smarts. Just before the stock market crash of 1929, Wright put together a $32 million sale of the company to Postum, later to be General Foods and then Kraft.

William Wright died in 1931, leaving his son a $30 million estate including Calumet Farm, a 400-acre  standardbred breeding nursery.  The younger Wright proceeded to switch the prominent harness racing facility into a legendary thoroughbred breeding and racing operation.

Laminitis treatment advances from an unlikely source-- Zippy the Zebra Print E-mail

Thoroughbred Racing Commentary
February 23, 2015

It was the site of the largest military engagement during the Revolutionary War. Today, the lands remain much as they were back then-- rolling open fields, ancient forests, and historic farmhouses with contented horses grazing in lush pastures.zippy1

So it's a bit jarring to spot a zebra-- half the size of a full-sized thoroughbred-- poking his striped head over a fence at Skirmish Hill Farm. Zippy arrived as a foal at Roberta (Bobbi) Odell's Chester County, Pennsylvania property in the fall of 1996. At first his strange scent and his zig-zaggy stripes startled the horses on the farm. Over time they learned to coexist, mostly by ignoring each other.

Recognized as the farm mascot and something of a local celebrity, Zippy developed an abscess of his hoof that made it impossible for him to bear weight on his right hind leg.  The farm manager alerted  the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square. Zippy was referred for lameness by the facility's field service and transported to New Bolton, one of the most sophisticated large animal and equine hospitals in the world.

When Zippy was diagnosed with laminitis, a disease that causes the hard outer part of the hoof to separate from its core, medical treatments were administered but the infection had severely compromised the hoof and it separated from the bone.  After a series of radiographs, the abscess was drained. A poultice was applied and more medications administered. Then Dr. Dean Richardson, chief of large animal surgery, head farrier Patrick Reilly, and Dr. Kim Olsen, an anesthesiologist, met to determine the correct protocol that would eventually enable Zippy to grow an entirely new hoof. It was a long and winding seven month journey that unfolded last year.

A Voyage to Wyeth's Magical Islands Print E-mail


January 2015

Jamie Wyeth's first major retrospective is on exhibit at Brandywine River Museum of Art through April 5. Displayed in three galleries, it is the most comprehensive survey of Wyeth’s art ever to be assembled. The traveling show presents a full range of Wyeth work, consisting of  111 paintings, works on paper, illustrations, and mixed media assemblages-- collages of three-dimensional items. JWyeth 2

The works depict the landscapes of the Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine, family members, fellow artists and friends such as arts impresario Lincoln Kirstein, pop artist Andy Warhol and superstar dancer Rudolf Nureyev. And there are, of course, many, many paintings of animals and birds. These works provide an in-depth examination of the artist's stylistic evolution and showcase the diversity of an artistic career now in its sixth decade. Wyeth divides his time between homes and studios near Chadds Ford and those on Maine's Monhegan and Southern Islands. Last summer I traveled to the north country to capture the sights and feel of these magical islands.

We're queued up on the docks of the charming village of Port Clyde ready to climb aboard a 65-foot vessel, the Elizabeth Ann.  With the passengers, mail and freight loaded, we steamed out of the harbor past Marshall Point lighthouse and a series of pine and spruce-clad islands before reaching the open sea to ply our way toward Monhegan Island.

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