The pedigree writer John Sparkman has an uncanny resemblance to the late film director John Huston. Judge for yourself: Who’s who in the photos? John spent years writing outstanding pieces for Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, etc., but he’s now semi-retired as a formal writer, though he still puts out a column for TT. However, he’s discovered a new medium in which to express himself: the blog, appropriately titled The Pedigree Curmudgeon. Same thing happened later in life to the curmudgeonly John Huston, who directed such films as The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Misfits, and Under the Volcano — personal favorites of mine. John Huston also dabbled a little on the other side of the camera in his films, with bit parts or screen appearances in several of them, but his explosive performance as an actor arrived in the Roman Polanski classic, Chinatown, where he played the surly, crusty old man to the hilt.
John Sparkman plays that same brilliant role in The Pedigree Curmudgeon, where he gleefully goes against sentiment and accepted mores. Yes, he may have violated Rachel Alexandra in some people’s eyes, when he wrote before the Woodward, “The rush by much of the racing press to crown her as an all-time great, therefore, is a bit embarrassing,” but he’s honest with his opinions and doesn’t matter one bit what anyone else thinks — including Dan Pride, Fasig-Tipton’s COO and Sheikh Mohammed’s man. Read about both Rachel and Dan in John’s column Let’s be honest about it. And he’s not about to jump head first on the Sea the Stars bandwagon, either. Read Seeing Stars?
John Sparkman’s transition to blogging from formal journalism has put some heft into a medium that oftentimes can be shrill without the weight behind it. Felt the same way about character actors after seeing John Huston in the Polanski film.