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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2005
Diary of a Dream is a well-told story about the toil, tension, and exhilaration of owning and racing thoroughbred horses. Rowand begins his account in 1991 at the grade I Gamely Handicap at Hollywood Park, California, as the beloved Miss Josh, "our girl, the one whose mating we had planned, whose birth we had eagerly awaited, and whose career had been so iffy because of her lousy feet, put her nose on the wire." With humor and candor, he goes on to recount his entire journey in thoroughbred racing which began with the dream--"truly ludicrous" as he admits--of owning champion racehorses.

Horse lovers will find much to like about this book. I was caught up in Rowand's precise descriptions of every race, and the implications of every race, which his horses ran. Something else I liked: this is a "we" book. The dream belonged to Rowand; the support of family and friends made it real.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2006
A memoir of the ups and downs of Thoroughbred breeding and ownership.

Rowand had a quixotic dream: to breed his own Thoroughbred stakes winners. He went about this by buying yearling fillies, trying to race them, and then, when they didn't do much on the track, breeding them. One essentially unsound filly, bred to a succession of inexpensive stallions, amazingly produced one stakes winner after another.

An engaging account, but the concept of breeding on unsound horses, at least one of which could never even make it to the races at all, left me with a sense of lasting discomfort.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book is full of the vocabulary and the realities of breeding and racing horses - an intriguing world few of us understand.

Rowand gives us a story of success but also of the nature of risk and of perseverance - had he given up in year six then the following decade of against the odds success would not have happened.

Want inspiration to follow your dream? Read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2006
As one who has daydreamed about owning racehorses, I got great vicarious enjoyment from Diary of a Dream. George Rowand is "one of us," a 30-something guy who didn't like his job and didn't have much money, but who had a passion and a dream. He bets everything on getting Bonner Farm off the ground, and through hard work and tenacity he keeps it going through some lean, frustrating years. When his horses start scaling the heights of Grade I racing success, it all seems like just retribution to the racing gods who had punished him for so long. Rowand's style is straightforward, compelling and highly readable. He brings you in on the intricacies of race management, the careful selection of races for a given horse, along with the complexities of dealing with trainers, jockeys, investors and other breeders. He also puts you through the agonies of an owner's race day, the glacial pace of time before the race, the rush of events in the moments before post time and then the insupportable excitement or heartbreak of the race itself. This book will remind you of Jim Squire's Horse of a Different Color and Jane Smiley's A Year at the Races. A fun and educational read.
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on July 28, 2011
I loved this book. It tells the story of George Rowand's experiences as a novice horse owner and breeder, which is a tale of passion, risk, perseverance and luck in roughly that order. Inspired by Scretariat's Triple Crown races, George raises money from family and friends and joins his sister to create Bonner Farm, a small, underfunded racing and breeding operation. Bonner Farms struggles for 6 years with dwindling cash reserves and horses that almost never win. Then, like a plot swiped from a Disney movie, luck intervenes and his $450 worthless mare, Highland Mills, produces one winning horse after another in quick succession. George recounts every race in these winning horses' amazing careers in gripping detail so it's almost like being there. You can feel the tension on every turn. It's a great story.
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on January 30, 2011
Wonderful rendering of the author's courageous fulfillment of his dream to own and breed the racing Thoroughbred. Not only did he accomplish this enormous feat, but he was actually good at it, in fact, very good at it. As someone who has always wanted to own a topnotch race horse (and has little or no understanding of what that means and entails), I was educated AND entertained by Rowand's story.
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on October 28, 2010
I really enjoyed this book. I've often considered doing just as the author has done and purchase some mares and start a stable and this book offered many interesting insights into the business. Definitely a book I'll keep on the shelf for a while even though I've read it thoroughly.
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on February 9, 2013
This book is for all involved in thoroughbred racing and breeding. It is a very accurate account of the journey we all seem to take. Well written and informative - I felt like I was part of this life experience.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2006
George Rowand's "journey in thoroughbred racing" rewarded him far beyond what he deserved. Entering race horse management on the basis of his obsession with race horse pedigrees and little understanding of horse confirmation or psychology, he parlayed the production of one good mare to "success." In his eyes, success was winning stakes races, a goal that did not well serve several of the horses he bought with other people's money. When the stream of foals from his few mares ran out Rowand did not recreate his success with other horses. Instead, he lost interest and wrote a book. The telltale remark comes at the end of the book when Rowand writes "When I reread this book in its entirity, I discoverd to my dismay I had not fully credited my sister, Bonner Young and her husband, Tom, for the success of Bonner Farm ..." Rather than go back, rewrite and add the experience, passion and insight Bonner Young brought to the venture, Rowand seems to feel he's covered his debt with this slight mention. This is a dry, self serving book about a sport that doesn't need any more vanity careers. Thank God this man was fortunate enough to hire a competent trainer (Barclay Tagg). Otherwise, the lives of his horses would have been doomed.
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