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The Notebook October 24, 2013

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Out of the Gate with ... Barbara Livingston

Barbara D. Livingston, chief photographer at Daily Racing Form, is one of America's most respected horse racing documentarians, having captured the sport she loves for nearly 40 years. She is the author of five books and her work has appeared in Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Vanity Fair, GQ, People, TV Guide, The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. Livingston has twice been awarded the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Photography.

Name: Barbara Livingston

What I do for a living: Horse racing photographer

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing: 1970s when, as a horse-crazy kid, my parents took me to the track.

My favorite racetrack: Hialeah

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: Travers Stakes

Other sports/teams I follow: Boston Red Sox … but I only really care if they’re in the World Series

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: Horses being led with fewer than two handlers and lipshanks

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: Whipping

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: I live to record it. (Yes … five words)

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended: Saratoga

Favorite All-time Thoroughbred: Sip Sip Sip

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing: Photographing the (Breeders’ Cup-winning) broodmares Personal Ensign, My Flag and Storm Flag Flying together at Claiborne. Think of that history! On-track, photographing 17 of Cigar’s final 20 starts.

Best racetrack food can be found at: Oaklawn Park, which actually offers some healthy fare … and has since at least the mid-1990s

My favorite jockey: Randy Romero (retired)

My favorite trainer: H. Allen Jerkens

My heroes: Allen Jerkens, the Bronte Sisters, Mozart

Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with: Allen Jerkens (surprise).  Todd Pletcher would be mighty entertaining, too.

My philosophy on life: Try your best and do the right thing

Favorite quote or motto: I’m ready for my close-up. 

Favorite animal other than a horse: Deer, perhaps because they look like little horses

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Random Yankees game, in George Steinbrenner’s box

Favorite food: Not sure, but make it healthy, please.

Favorite vacation spot: Hialeah (or is it not a vacation when you have a camera and take photos?)

Favorite city: Saratoga Springs (yes, it’s a city, a little one)

Favorite musician/band: Morrissey, by 50 lengths over Peter Gabriel and Ben Folds

Favorite all-time movie(s):  RebeccaSunset BoulevardRebel Without a CauseAustin Powers

Favorite TV show: “The Simpsons, but I don’t watch much TV. It's usually on the OTB channel.

Favorite hotel: Don’t care. Just give me big pillows and working A/C.

Websites I visit daily: DRF, Twitter, Facebook

What I drive: Red Toyota Corolla

Pet peeve: Grooms who automatically put a lip shank over even the kindest horse’s gums

Favorite movie about horse racing: Yankee Doodle Dandy

Which actor would play me in a movie: Ally Sheedy

Alma mater: Syracuse University

Favorite radio shows/channels:  Anything alternative, NPR’s Car Talk

Best book I recently read: I don’t read books. I have bad vision so, unfortunately, it hurts to read much.

Favorite memento: Allen Jerkens’ straw hat (racing), my mom’s nursing cap (non-racing)

Favorite dessert: Mud pie

Favorite drink: Iced tea addict. Starbucks. Tazo. Black. Unsweetened.

Favorite scent: Wild roses and rose-scented soap

What I like about my job: Almost everything … including the physical act of photographing, especially if it’s challenging (rainstorms, odd places, dangerous situations …anything to get the heart racing). Recording the sport’s widely varied moments – great, good, bad and ugly. I especially love sharing photos and/or stories of lesser-known people in our sport, those so instrumental toward its success. I could go on and on and on with this question. My job is more than a passion … to borrow an old movie title, it’s a magnificent obsession.

Favorite tech gadget: Don’t care much about any, but I guess my iPhone

Twitter handle: @DRFLivingston

People I follow on Twitter:  I don’t spend much time on Twitter.

No. 1 Bucket-List item: Ride a horse on the beach. Oh, and if it were in Australia, that would knock two things off the list.

How would you like to be remembered: For recording racing history well and for making people’s lives a little brighter.

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Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to Mary Meek, winner of this week's Fan Photo Contest!

From Mary: "Churchill Downs horse and rider in the morning sun." Want in? E-mail a .jpg with a brief caption to photos@ntra.com.

Photos of the week

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