BONUS: This edition contains a Seabiscuit discussion guide and an excerpt from Unbroken.
Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:
Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon.
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
Here is the story f the exceptional filly, a horse so dominating, she was likened to legend. Beginning with her earliest days in Kentucky, the book follows Ruffian at every stage of her career and through the agony of her final hours--venturing behind the scenes of the racing world, and exploring the politics and personalities that came together to shape this exroardiinary filly's life.
From the Paperback edition.
Sullivan didn't know, not really: the track had always been a place his father disappeared to once a year on business, a source of souvenir glasses and inscrutable passions in his Kentucky relatives. But in 2000, Sullivan, an editor and essayist for Harper's, decided to educate himself. He spent two years following the horse-both across the country, as he watched one season's juvenile crop prepare for the Triple Crown, and through time, as he tracked the animal's constant evolution in literature and art, from the ponies that appeared on the walls of European caves 30,000 years ago, to the mounts that carried the Indo-European language to the edges of the Old World, to the finely tuned but fragile yearlings that are auctioned off for millions of dollars apiece every spring and fall.
The result is a witty, encyclopedic, and in the end profound meditation on what Edwin Muir called our "long-lost archaic companionship" with the horse. Incorporating elements of memoir and reportage, the Wunderkammer and the picture gallery, Blood Horses lets us see--as we have never seen before--the animal that, more than any other, made us who we are.
Most of us know the legend of Secretariat, the tall, handsome chestnut racehorse whose string of honors runs long and rich: the only two-year-old ever to win Horse of the Year, in 1972; winner in 1973 of the Triple Crown, his times in all three races still unsurpassed; featured on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated; the only horse listed on ESPN's top fifty athletes of the twentieth century (ahead of Mickey Mantle). His final race at Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack is a touchstone memory for horse lovers everywhere. Yet while Secretariat will be remembered forever, one man, Eddie "Shorty" Sweat, who was pivotal to the great horse's success, has been all but forgotten---until now.
In The Horse God Built, bestselling equestrian writer Lawrence Scanlan has written a tribute to an exceptional man that is also a backroads journey to a corner of the racing world rarely visited. As a young black man growing up in South Carolina, Eddie Sweat struggled at several occupations before settling on the job he was born for---groom to North America's finest racehorses. As Secretariat's groom, loyal friend, and protector, Eddie understood the horse far better than anyone else. A wildly generous man who could read a horse with his eyes, he shared in little of the financial success or glamour of Secretariat's wins on the track, but won the heart of Big Red with his soft words and relentless devotion.
In Scanlan's rich narrative, we get a groom's-eye view of the racing world and the vantage of a man who spent every possible moment with the horse he loved, yet who often basked in the horse's glory from the sidelines. More than anything else, The Horse God Built is a moving portrait of the powerful bond between human and horse.
Jo Anne Normile was not supposed to keep the foal, an exuberant Thoroughbred with only a few white hairs on his reddish-brown forehead. But she fell in love with the young horse, who had literally been born into her arms. The breeder finally said she could keep the colt, whom she nicknamed "Baby" – but only if she raced him.
It was difficult to take Baby away from the safety of his pasture. But Normile had made a promise. Besides, horseracing had always come across as a glamorous blend of mint juleps and celebrity, of equine grace and speed. It was a vision she found appealing.
And she fell hard for it, this "Sport of Kings." She experienced a thrill every time Baby sprinted around the track, edging out other horses. But the magic that enchants is a veneer. For every Seabiscuit, there are tens of thousands of racehorses whose lives end in pain and despair, with indifference and corruption that runs rampant through the world of horse racing.
Normile knew none of this. Not until an accident on a poorly maintained track. That's when everything changed. That's when Normile founded the most successful horse rescue in the country, an organization that would go on to save more horses than anyone else ever had. That's when she knew she had no other choice.
Saving Baby is Jo Anne Normile's story of perseverance and passion. A heartbreaking and ultimately life-affirming book, it testifies to the transcending power of hope, and the unshakeable bond of love.
Founded in 1924 by Chicago mogul William Monroe Wright, Calumet Farm was to the world of thoroughbred racing what the New York Yankees are to baseball -- a sports dynasty. The stable bred so many superstars that it became the standard by which all achievements were measured in the horse racing industry. But during the 1980s, a web of financial schemes left Calumet destitute.
Wild Ride is Ann Hagedorn Auerbach's investigation of the fast-track, multibillion-dollar thoroughbred industry and the fall of Calumet -- the inside story of a debacle that extended further than anyone could have imagined. Spanning four generations, this fast-paced saga brings to life a gallery of colorful characters from Calumet's glittery past. Wild Ride shows the industry's transformation from a clubby blue-blood society where a handshake closed a deal to a high-stakes business bulging with bankers and scandalous deal making. When the Bluegrass Bubble exploded, one of America's largest family fortunes lay in ruins.
"A fascinating tale with a cast of characters worthy of Dickens -- or Runyon." -- Carl Desens, Business Week
AS THE DAYS GET LONGER
the horse dreams
of flying in the air
like a gust of wind
on an abandoned
red exploding like
a spurt of light,
flaming wildly like
those boughs of
out of darkness
Jim Squires's Horse of a Different Color tells the story of his wild ride from absurdity to glory at the pinnacle of horseracing success alongside Monarchos, the charismatic gray colt blessed with the extraordinary speed, poise, and stamina necessary to carry his motley band of human handlers to the highest level of their profession.
Squires takes you on an exciting journey through the close-knit and secretive world of horse breeders, buyers, sellers, owners, and trainers. And his hilarious tour of racehorse culture ends with a blazing sprint down the homestretch of the second fastest Derby in history in the company of a crowd of Kentuckians driven mad with "Derby Fever."
In this revealing book, Maryjean Wall offers a tantalizing true story of vice and power in the Gilded Age South, as told through the life and times of the notorious Miss Belle. After years on the streets and working for Hill, Belle Brezing borrowed enough money to set up her own establishment -- her wealth and fame growing alongside the booming popularity of horse racing. Soon, her houses were known internationally, and powerful patrons from the industrial cities of the Northeast courted her in the lavish parlors of her gilt-and-mirror mansion.
Secrecy was a moral code in the sequestered demimonde of prostitution in Victorian America, so little has been written about the Southern madam credited with inspiring the character Belle Watling in Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Following Brezing from her birth amid the ruins of the Civil War to the height of her scarlet fame and beyond, Wall uses her story to explore a wider world of sex, business, politics, and power. The result is a scintillating tale that is as enthralling as any fiction.
HORSE RACING...watch those second favorites; let the suckers play the favorites, they’re usually overplayed!
DICE...you’re a sucker if you don’t take advantage of the odds, but the real pay-off comes when you know how to bet!
SLOTS...there’s only one way to beat those “one-arm bandits,” but, unfortunately, it’s against the law!
ROULETTE...it’s tough to beat the house percentage, but there are ways to lose less, keep you in the game, and then, who knows?
BLACKJACK “21”...here’s a game you can win at consistently if you learn the tricks and how to put “lady luck” on your side!
POKER...you get real help here; tips that’ll open your eyes, make you play a better game and win!
This book gives solid advice on how you can become a tough player and helps tilt the odds more in your direction. I’m just plain sick of “experts” who promise the moon but peddle virtually worthless advice.
Somewhere in their pitch you’re told that they’re not multi-millionaires because they are not allowed in gambling casinos and I challenge any one of them to use this system at “craps”, “21” or roulette at my casino. If they haven’t got the guts to back up their system with hard cash, I challenge them to meet me face to face in public to debate any phase of gambling on which they claim to be an authority.
P. G. Johnson was a blue-collar wizard, a hardscrabble tough guy who had come east from Chicago, determined to make his mark on New York. And he did. He became leading trainer at all three New York tracks -- Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct -- as well as at Florida's Tropical Park. And he did it without ever winning a Triple Crown or Breeders' Cup event, or having "the big horse."
"I never knew how to kiss rich people's asses, and I got too old to learn. If no owner was going to give me a big horse, I figured I'd have to find one myself," he said. He did that, in his seventies, buying a mare for $8,000, breeding her to a $20,000 stallion, and in 1998 producing Volponi, the horse that would change his life.
In October 2002, weakened by surgery and radiation treatment for cancer, P. G. watched Volponi -- the longest shot in the field at 43 to 1 -- bring home more than $2 million by winning the Breeders' Cup Classic, the richest race in America.
The following summer at Saratoga, McGinniss -- journalist, investigative reporter, and horse racing obsessive -- began showing up, more Tuesdays with Morrie than Guys and Dolls, at P. G.'s barn in the predawn hours to listen to the inside racing stories and lore P. G. had gathered. McGinniss came to appreciate that Johnson was not only a stellar horseman but an American original whose wit and wisdom carried far beyond the confines of the racetrack.
As for Volponi, the big horse had given P. G. the perfect Disney ending with the Breeders' Cup victory, and, indeed, Disney soon bought film rights to P. G.'s life story. "He'll be even better next year," P. G. had said, but by the time McGinniss got to Saratoga, Volponi had not won a race in nine months. His faith undiminished, P. G. continued to race Volponi against the best, at Saratoga and beyond, until in the end it came down to the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic in Santa Anita, a race only one horse in history had ever won twice. As fires burned in the Southern California hills, Volponi -- with Funny Cide's jockey, Jose Santos, in the saddle -- ran the last race of his life.
This book is about what happened that day, about what came after, and about much of what had come before. It's the most exciting, rewarding, and heartwarming story about the world of horse racing that you'll ever read, by one of America's finest writers, at the top of his form.
Tim Snyder did not then believe in reincarnation. But he acknowledged the strangeness of this journey, the series of coincidences that brought them together, and the undeniable similarities between the horse and his late wife. And so did those who knew the couple well, and who could now only marvel at the story of the filly, Lisa's Booby Trap, and the down-on-his-luck trainer who apparently had been given a new lease on life.
The Ghost Horse is a powerful horseracing story of underdogs and second chances.
In his quest to identify the culprit, Doyle is aided by his old friend Moe Kellman, furrier-to-the-Mob; trainer Ralph Tenuta, himself the target of a blackmailer; and young veterinarian Ingrid McGuire, a talented horse communicator. The action moves from Chicago's Heartland Downs to New York's famed Saratoga Race Course, even stepping aboard Mob capo Fifi Bonadio's lavish yacht in Chicago's Belmont Harbor. Will Jack's persistent push for answers get him killed?
“It is a lovely, valuable book, introspective without being self-servingly so, affectionate but never saccharine in its evocation of racetrack life, witty and perceptive throughout.” —Jonathan Yardley, Sports Illustrated
Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Sports Publishing imprint, is proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in sports—books about baseball, pro football, college football, pro and college basketball, hockey, or soccer, we have a book about your sport or your team.
In addition to books on popular team sports, we also publish books for a wide variety of athletes and sports enthusiasts, including books on running, cycling, horseback riding, swimming, tennis, martial arts, golf, camping, hiking, aviation, boating, and so much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to publishing books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked by other publishers and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
From the moment they first galloped head-to-head in Saratoga Springs, the two chestnut colts showed they were the stuff of racing legend. Alydar, all muscle with a fearsome closing kick, was already the popular favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. Affirmed, deceptively laid-back streamlined elegance, was powered forward by his steely determination not to settle for second place.
In the Sport of Kings, the Triple Crown is the most valued prize, requiring a horse to win not just one race, but three: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. And 1978 would not be just for the record books, but also one of the greatest dramas ever played out in the racing world.
There were names to conjure with, worthy of the Sport of Kings. The bloodline of Native Dancer. The teen wonderboy jockey Steve Cauthen. The once unbeatable Calumet Farm—the Damn Yankees of the racing world—now in eclipse and hoping for a comeback. The newcomer Harbor View Farm—owned by brash financier Louis Wolfson, who wouldn’t let even a conviction and a prison sentence for securities violations stand in the way of his dreams of glory. And the racetracks themselves: Belmont, Saratoga, Pimlico. And, of course, Churchill Downs.
It has been thirty-five years since Affirmed and Alydar fought for the Triple Crown, thirty-five years when no other horse has won it. Duel for the Crown brings this epic battle to life. Not just two magnificent Thoroughbreds but the colorful human personalities surrounding them, caught up in an ever-intensifying battle of will and wits that lasted until the photo finish of the final Triple Crown race . . . and Alydar and Affirmed leaped into the history books.
With the help of Chivalry, their barn’s newest and most promising horse, Rachel and her family set their sights on the most prestigious race in the country—The Kentucky Derby. But with the intense pushback from the male jockeys and the fans, they wonder if it’s all worth it. Will Rachel be able to hold on through the storms coming against her?
In his own words, Frankie Dettori charts his rise from stable lad to champion jockey, revealing the endless hours of hard work, the fun along the way, and his determination to succeed against the odds.
Frankie relives his nine Classic winners in the UK and talks about his notable victories at the St Leger, The Breeder’s Cup Mile, the Arc de Triomphe, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, and, memorably, his seven winners on the same card at Ascot in 1996. He also shares the secrets of his successful partnerships with trainers like Luca Cumani and John Gosden, and owners such as Sheikh Mohammed of the Goldolphin organisation.
This is also a human interest story. Frankie talks openly about using drugs to keep his weight down, his celebrity role as team captain on ‘A Question of Sport’, his rich and varied lifestyle outside of racing, including his family and inner circle, and of the moment when he almost lost his life following a plane crash.
Controversial, informative and hugely entertaining, Frankie Dettori’s life story will appeal to the millions of people who follow the sport as well as those intrigued to know more about one of the greatest talents that horse-racing has ever seen.
Born in 1917, Man o' War grew from a rebellious youngster into perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time. He set such astonishing speed records that The New York Times called him a "Speed Miracle." Often he won with so much energy in reserve that experts wondered how much faster he could have gone. Over the years, this and other mysteries would envelop the great Man o' War.
The truth remained problematic. Even as Man o' War---known as "Big Red"---came to power, attracting record crowds and rave publicity, the colorful sport of Thoroughbred racing struggled for integrity. His lone defeat, suffered a few weeks before gamblers fixed the 1919 World Series, spawned lasting rumors that he, too, had been the victim of a fix.
Tackling old beliefs with newly uncovered evidence, Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning shows how human pressures collided with a natural phenomenon and brings new life to an American icon. The genuine courage of Man o' War, tribulations of his archrival, Sir Barton (America's first Triple Crown winner), and temptations of their Hall of Fame jockeys and trainers reveal a long-hidden tale of grace, disgrace, and elusive redemption.
History was made at the 2015 Belmont Stakes when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, the first since Affirmed in 1978. As magnificent as the champion is, the team behind him has been all too human while on the road to immortality.
Written by an award-winning New York Times sportswriter, American Pharoah is the definitive account not only of how the ethereal colt won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, but how he changed lives. Through extensive interviews, Drape explores the making of an exceptional racehorse, chronicling key events en route to history. Covering everything from the flamboyant owner's successful track record, the jockey's earlier heartbreaking losses, and the Hall of Fame trainer's intensity, Drape paints a stirring portrait of a horse for the ages and the people around him.
Rising from its humble beginnings as an American variation of England's Epsom Derby, the Kentucky Derby became a centerpiece of American sports and the racing industry, confirming Kentucky's status as the Horse Capital of the World. James C. Nicholson argues that the Derby, at its essence, is a celebration of a place, existing as a connection between Kentucky's mythic past and modern society. The Derby is more than just a horse race -- it is an experience enhanced by familiar traditions, icons, and images that help Derby fans to understand Kentucky and define themselves as Americans. Today the Kentucky Derby continues to attract international attention from royalty, celebrities, racing fans, and those who simply enjoy an icy mint julep, a fabulous hat, and a wager on who will make it to the winner's circle.
Nicholson provides an intriguing and thorough history of the Kentucky Derby, examining the tradition, spectacle, culture, and evolution of the Kentucky Derby -- the brightest jewel of the Triple Crown.
The players in the racing game range from track owners to stable boys, from law enforcers to lawbreakers, and from casual sportsmen to pathologically addicted gamblers. Considering the self-interests, the normative and operational codes, and the interactional relationships among the major types and subtypes of participants, the author defines the components of strategic movement within the framework of rules and resources to show how a player's relations to the "means of production" governs his behavior.
The fruitful application of sociological theory and method to an unusually interesting social context makes this particularly useful still for courses in social problems and the sociology of organizations and of leisure.
"...when he was teaching at Berkeley, Goffman asked me to come to his seminar to hear a student, Marvin Scott, present his research on horse racing. ...in the course of his presentation, Scott suggested in passing that gamblers, including horse players, sometimes had winning streaks' or losing streaks.' Goffman, who had been listening appreciatively until that point, interrupted to say that of course Scott meant that they thought they had such streaks of good or bad luck. But Scott said no, these were observable facts.' Goffman, unwilling to accept such supernatural talk, persisted, appealing to the laws of probability to assure Scott that such streaks' were natural occurrences in any long run of tries in such a game as blackjack or craps."--Howard Becker
Marvin B. Scott retired in 2001 as professor of sociology at Hunter College, City University of New York. He previously taught at San Francisco State College and received his Ph.D. in 1966 at the University of California, Berkeley. Jaime Suchlicki is Bacardi Professor of History at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Miami, and executive director of its Cuban-American and Cuban Center.
The last two years have seen a record number of Americans tune in for climatic Triple Crown races featuring Smarty Jones and Funny Cide; in 2004, television viewership jumped a whopping 61 percent over the record set in 2003, and the Belmont Stakes race itself drew a record crowd of more than 120,000! This easy-to-understand guide shows first-time visitors to the track how to enjoy the sport of horse racing-and make smart bets. It explains what goes on at the track, what to look for in horses and jockeys, how to read a racing form and do simple handicapping, and how to manage betting funds and make wagers that stand a good chance of paying off. Complete with coverage of off-track and online betting, it's just what anyone needs to play the ponies-and win!
Richard Eng (Las Vegas, NV) is a racing writer and handicapper for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a columnist for the Daily Racing Form, and the host of a horseracing radio program in Las Vegas. He was formerly a part of the ABC Sports team that covered the Triple Crown.
Anyone who doubts this need look no further than Suffolk Downs, a once-proud racecourse graced in its glory years by boisterous throngs and champions such as Seabiscuit. Now the blue-collar East Boston track is one of many that have fallen on hard times. These days "Sufferin' Downs" is where grizzled Thoroughbreds come to end their careers, hopeful young jockeys aspire against daunting odds to begin them, and diehard fans cheer, curse and gamble on the entire fascinating spectacle. These bit players are not just cogs of a single, struggling horse track. They are the unseen supporting cast for a 15 billion betting industry.
In fifteen years as a racing reporter and press box personality, T.D. Thornton gained access to remote corners of racetrack life off limits to the general public. He got to know the raucously Runyonesque characters and the quirky personalities of the horses; he learned the tricks of the trade from trainers, owners, and jockeys; he witnessed the tragedies and small triumphs of racing lives lived below the radar. One recent season, he finally decided to write it all down.
Not by a Long Shot is a deeply textured portrait of an industry where even the best in the business lose 75 percent of the time.
There are what I call another section which I call special conditions that prompt special attention and will provide an avenue for Win/Place/Show bets (across the board), as well as some short stories of the some of the real characters I have met while playing the ponies.
Also includes pieces by Ken Bruen, Steven Crist, Maggie Estep, William Nack, Scott Phillips, John Schaefer, Jerry Stahl, Jason Starr, Charlie Stella, Wallace Stroby, and Daniel Woodrell.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
A remarkable and riveting insight into the lives of jockeys. Jockeys who earn a living race riding on racehorses are a incredible group. They are fiercely competitive on the racecourse but enjoy a tribal kinship in the weighing room. The minimum requirements for long-term success are courage, skill, athleticism and an intuitive understanding of how to 'get a tune' out of a horse.
This book celebrates these warriors on horseback, both the old and the new, highlighting the headline performers for jump racing and flat racing in the last five centuries – male and female and from around the globe - as well as taking the reader on a behind-the-scenes look at the lifestyle of professional jockeys in the 21st century.The book takes a tour of Aintree's weighing room, tracks a day in the life of a Derby-winning jockey and investigates the twin challenges faced by jockeys: inevitable injuries and 24/7 weight management.
The book also looks back at historical events where jockeys have made the headlines, including: the scandal of jockey Sam Chifney, Lord Bunbury and the Prince of Wales; Captain Becher and his attempt to negotiate Aintree's formidable fences during the Grand National's inaugural running; Fred Archer, who committed suicide in the mists of mental and physical misery; Red Pollard's partnership with the great American horse, Seabiscuit; Bob Champion, who recovered from cancer to win the Grand National, and Frankie Dettori's magnificent seven wins in one day at Ascot. Dettori is just one of the more recent jockeys featured; others include Lester Piggott, Bill Shoemaker, Scobie Breasley, Julie Krone, John Francome and Tony McCoy.
The book features quotes and insights from eminent jockeys and racing insiders, people who know the profession and the sport; and is illustrated with captivating images from the world of horseracing.
Foreword by Bob Champion MBE, former jump jockey and Grand National winner.
America loved Dan Patch, who, though kind and gentle, seemed to understand that he was a superstar: he acknowledged applause from the grandstands with a nod or two of his majestic head and stopped as if to pose when he saw a camera. He became the first celebrity sports endorser; his name appeared on breakfast cereals, washing machines, cigars, razors, and sleds. At a time when the highest-paid baseball player, Ty Cobb, was making $12,000 a year, Dan Patch was earning over a million dollars.
But even then horse racing attracted hustlers, cheats, and touts. Drivers and owners bet heavily on races, which were often fixed; horses were drugged with whiskey or cocaine, or switched off with "ringers." Although Dan never lost a race, some of his races were rigged so that large sums of money could change hands. Dan's original owner was intimidated into selling him, and America's favorite horse spent the second half of his career touring the country in a plush private railroad car and putting on speed shows for crowds that sometimes exceeded 100,000 people. But the automobile cooled America's romance with the horse, and by the time he died in 1916, Dan was all but forgotten. His last owner, a Minnesota entrepreneur gone bankrupt, buried him in an unmarked grave. His achievements have faded, but throughout the years, a faithful few kept alive the legend of Dan Patch, and in Crazy Good, Charles Leerhsen travels through their world to bring back to life this fascinating story of triumph and treachery in small-town America and big-city racetracks.
novice handicappers how to profit by using winning strategies to beat
the horses. This repackaged edition shows bettors learn how to analyze
their real winning chances when playing favorites, middles odds and
longshots, and the proper formula they need to win by betting each
group. Twenty-five winning strategies are presented in seven concise
chapters teaching horse goers how to find the best bets in a race, the
middle odds and overlays; the weight factor; playing longshots;
progressive betting systems; and the daily double, giving readers
comprehensive coverage of picking winning horses. A classic with plenty
of no-nonsense information.
In 132 years of derby races, only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, the last in 1978. Barbaro was a favorite to be the twelfth until May 20, 2006, at the Preakness Stakes, when his jockey, Edgar Prado pulled him up a couple of hundred yards from the starting gate. Subsequent examination revealed that he had virtually exploded bones in his right rear leg so badly that under normal conditions he would have been euthanized right on the track. But his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, chose another path, one filled with anxiety and tears—but also courageous determination to save his life.
This touching, soaring book—filled with insights from Barbaro's trainers, breeders, caretakers, and owners—follows Barbaro from foal to colt to champion to perfect patient. But In the end it is not just a story of a down-but-not-out champion, but of human beings at their very best.
The jumps-racing establishment - and Gregory Peck, the Hollywood actor whose much-fancied horse was reduced to the status of an also-ran - took a dim view. But Foinavon, the dogged victor, and Susie, the white nanny goat who accompanied him everywhere, became instant celebrities. Within days, the traffic was being stopped for them in front of Buckingham Palace en route to an audience with the Duchess of Kent. Fan mail arrived addressed to 'Foinavon, England'. According to John Kempton, Foinavon's trainer, the 1967 race 'reminded everyone that the National was part of our heritage'.
Foinavon's Grand National victory has become as much a part of British sporting folklore as the England football team's one and only World Cup win the previous year. The race has even spawned its own mythology, with the winner portrayed as a horse so useless that not even its owner or trainer could be bothered to come to Liverpool to see him run. Yet remarkably the real story of how Foinavon emerged from an obscure yard near the ancient Ridgeway to pull off one of the most talked-about victories in horseracing history has never been told.
Based on original interviews with scores of people who were at Aintree on that rainswept day, or whose lives were in some way touched by the shock result, this book will use the story of this extraordinary race to explore why the Grand National holds tens of millions of people spellbound, year after year, for ten minutes on a Saturday afternoon in early spring.