If you go to the racetrack you might see — almost literally — anyone.
Sergei Tolstoy, for example.
If that name vaguely rings a bell — well, it should. He’s the great-grandson of novelist Leo Tolstoy, of War and Peace fame — and he carries with him the Washington Post article about him to prove it. Tolstoy, one of the relatively few remaining vestiges of Russia’s old artistocracy, is 90 now and, according to that Post article, lives like, as he puts it, “a Bohemian.” Which is to say: in subsidized housing for the elderly with barely two nickels to rub together.
It wasn’t always this way. Tolstoy once had money and the high-flying lifestyle you might expect from a man of his stature. But something — namely, the racetrack — intervened. From the article: “According to people who have known him for more than 30 years, Tolstoy’s money is gone, vanished, lost at the betting windows of the Laurel, Bowie, Timonium and Pimlico racetracks he used to roam six days a week.”
Yet hope springs eternal. On Saturday, at the Maryland Million, Sergei told our Jeff Krulik: “I hope to be in the winner’s circle.”
Later that day, Jeff caught up with two people who were in the winner’s circle: trainer Elizabeth Merryman and owner Dale Schilling, the connections of Roadhog, winner of the Maryland Million Turf. In a mild upset, Roadhog ran down Ben’s Cat late to get the money. “What a horse!” exulted Merryman.
“Biggest race we’ve ever won,” said Schilling — a nice moment in the career of a horse who’s provided plenty of them. Roadhog, a six year-old, has now won nine races and more than $500,000. Schilling, his owner, said he hoped to bring him back to Laurel next year to try for the hat trick.
(Featured image of Roadhog by Laurie Asseo.)