Backing the wrong horse (shoe)


Dear Ace, There are some trivial matters that have a way of nagging at you well beyond the statute of limitations. More than 10 years ago I noticed two small horseshoes imbedded in the curb in front of what is now the Embarq building across from the Main Street Market. Last evening I noticed that the horseshoes were still there, at the base of the bus stop sign. Is there a story of interest here?–Phreigh Rein

Dear Phreigh, Fieldwork is Ace’s specialty, so he embraced the opportunity to pound some pavement in the search for an answer to this intriguing query. He forgot, however, that there is a proliferation of distracting bars and restaurants along West Main Street. No matter how many times he reminded himself of his true purpose in being out on the town, he kept forgetting to investigate the horseshoes in question. He did manage to snag a few ladies’ phone numbers over cocktails though. 

When Ace finally made it to the Embarq building and set his magnifying glass on the corner of the sidewalk across the street from the Main Street Market and located just a stone’s throw away from West Main Restaurant (Ace could practically smell the bourbon calling him—focus!), he reached a different conclusion about these sidewalk adornments. It looked to Ace that the circular spaces in the cement, only one of which still contained a ring of rusty metal, were the remains of the bases of poles. Granted, Ace’s eyesight was a little fuzzy from his recent layover at the Zinc bar, but the cement cavities looked the same size and shape as the one holding the current bus stop sign. The rusty metal was not immediately identifiable as a horseshoe; it could just as easily have been the remains of post with its sharp ends hammered down. And the last time Ace checked, horseshoes were much bigger than two inches across. Unless you’re in the habit of binding your mare’s feet to give her trot a more ladylike appeal. After Ace absorbed the fact that he may have just refuted a reader’s observations, he stood on the corner contemplating the image of a tiny pony with tiny feet clicking down West Main Street in tiny horseshoes. Then he took that fantasy to the bar next door, where Ace hoped it would be duly appreciated by the ladies.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to