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Stud: Adventures in Breeding Paperback – April 2, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (April 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582343322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582343327
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Funny, insightful and surprisingly engaging, this part travelogue on Kentucky bluegrass country and part guide to equine breeding offers far more than one might initially expect. The world's priciest stud, Storm Cat (a direct descendant of Secretariat), earns a whopping $500,000 per tryst. The randy stallion's "muck" is used by Campbell Soup to fertilize its mushroom fields. Conley, a New Yorker staff writer, takes readers to an auction where two camps a stoic group of Irishmen known in horse circles as "the boys" and a modish collection of sheikhs inexplicably called "the Doobie Brothers" square off on fillies and colts fetching upwards of $3 million. But Conley doesn't stop there: he considers the advancement of civilization through the history of horses. He argues that through horse trading the nomads of Kazakhstan brought their proto-Indo-European language to most of Europe and South Asia. "History had begun," he writes, "built on the way a horse can cover ground." Conley also illustrates the racial and socioeconomic backdrop of horse country with rather telling accounts of the interactions between black and white, blue collar and blueblood that shape the equine community. The upshot is a vividly equine-centric view of social, cultural and economic human history.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This book was not written to meet massive pent-up reader demand, but it does offer an engaging lay reader's introduction to the business of breeding Thoroughbred horses. Conley, a staff writer with The New Yorker, takes us to high-profile horse auctions; to picturesque big-money farms in bluegrass Kentucky, the Mecca of Thoroughbred breeding; to second-tier farms in California and a remote stud-farm-of-last-resort run by old hippies in New Mexico; to a preserve for semiferal Shetland ponies where nature takes its course without careful human intervention; and (many times) into the high-stakes bedroom, so to speak. We meet Storm Cat, the stud's stud, whose services are sold for up to $500,000 per breeding and whose offspring earned more than $21 million at the track in 1999 and 2000; the old warrior Seattle Slew, coming back to his duties following delicate surgery; and Distinctive Cat, a son of Storm Cat and now a stud himself, who, through a "telepathic animal communicator," grants the author an interview (Distinctive Cat is happy with his job, thank you, and he doesn't even take into account the sexual aspect). A nice buy for libraries with big budgets or that are located in horse country. Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
Recommend for all horse race fans to see what really does happen to the horses you love and follow during their careers.
Michelle Kafafi
It really wasn't though, and I would have preferred either the funny comments that he occasionally made, or the scientific detachment that he sometimes gained.
Amazon Customer
The first chapter with Storm Cat was wonderful and I flipped when they said the name of the mare being bred to Storm Cat as I owned one of her sons.
M. Lukas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The text on the back cover of this book says it all: "The most expensive thirty seconds in sports." You will need a lot of pocket change plus a very good mare before you book a cover from Storm Cat, the Thoroughbred stallion with the world's most expensive stud fee---$500,000 per mare as of 2002. And there's no `payable when the foal stands and nurses' clause in his contract, either.
"Stud" is a two-year labor of love by "New Yorker" staff writer, Kevin Conley who became intrigued by the amount of money that a Thoroughbred stallion could earn after retiring from the racetrack. This is an exuberant, stylishly-written book that will tell you everything you wanted to know about what goes on in the breeding shed, but were afraid to ask.
I also learned some things I didn't know I wanted to know, like the diameter of Seattle Slew's testicles---this is a book for horse-lovers who have already been through sex education class.
The author spends some time at the Keeneland sales in Lexington, Kentucky, where the `Doobie Brothers' (four sheiks from the royal family of Dubai) duke it out with the `boys' (Ireland's Coolmore Stud) for the most expensive yearlings in the sale (often Storm Cat progeny). Conley doesn't neglect the smaller breeders who make a profit by buying and breeding inexpensive mares with good blood-lines, and then selling their yearlings and two-year-olds for a profit. (There is a story in last week's "Thoroughbred Times" about a filly "who clearly did not have enough pedigree to shoot for the stars," yet was sold for $1.9 million at Barretts March sale because she showed that she could run.)
Finally, Conley details the differences between a `natural' cover (Thoroughbreds), artificial insemination (A.I.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A lively and hilarious overview of a very weird subculture, the Kentucky farms where prize stallions retire to lives of compulsory, micro-managed promiscuity.
Conley is great on the qwirks of pampered horses and humans alike. The book is really less about equine sex (it does answer certain invitable questions) and more about the incredible financial dealings that surround these animals. I was reminded at times of Michael Lewis' "Liars Poker", another great book about money-fueled nuttiness. Not particularly a horse or a financial person myself, but I couldn't put the book down.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I never would have bought a book about thoroughbred breeding on my own, but a friend gave me Stud, and much to my surprise it turned out to be the best non-fiction book I've read in a long time. It fulfilled all the requirements of a "great read." It was interesting, funny and quite moving.
Conley succeeds in giving each horse a distinctive and appealing personality so it's fun to read about these grand and sometimes frightening animals and the life they lead. His descriptions of the fabulous horse farms - big and small - make you want to stop what you're doing and fly to Kentucky or California immediately!
Best of all, he takes you into the very select and rarified world of horse breeding - a world you would never even know existed before reading this book. His portraits of the patrician owners who have been breeding horses for generations as well as the oddball characters who work in the breeding barns is really fascinating and fun.
The book includes a surprising amount of history - which Conley manages to make very fresh and interesting. His observations - whether about British royalty, ancient horse trading or the origins of the first Stud Book - are fascinating, and his writing is as elegant as the horses he admires so much.
This book would make a great birthday or Father's Day gift for someone's special stud.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven Katz on March 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Expanded from his article about the world's most expensive thoroughbred stud, Kevin Conley's "Stud: Adventures in Breeding" falls squarely in the tradition of great New Yorker prose non-fiction. Like the various collections of the work of his fellow New Yorker author, Joseph Mitchell, Conely's book is funny and fascinating, its language lovely and lively. It's filled with incredible facts (who knew mares had clitorises?) and sneaky-hilarious observations (like the cool but horny horse who resembles Miles Davis).
The book is digressive in structure, using the stories of various thoroughbred studs (from the most expensive to the cut-rate) as springboards to examine other issues connected to horses: ... of a system to monitor the bloodlines of thoroughbreds. In the end, after all the astonishing descriptions of horsing coupling (lots of drugs, rubber gloves, and sexual surrogates), ... the sex act of horses and people deconstructs, and the book offers some fresh--and pretty profound--insights into a subject (sex) which has been done to death over the years.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brian Cleveland on April 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Conley's book is a nice balance between the colorful people in the horse breeding business and the art and science of breeding itself. It is not intended to be a how-to book, as I believe was expected by another reviewer who didn't give it high marks. Rather, it is an insightful look into a world that most people know nothing about. I am a small time thoroughbred breeder living in New York City, (my brood mare doesn't live in NYC- rent is too high) and if I had a dollar for every person who giggled when I explained the breeding process I would be richer than the blue-grass elite. Now I can just carry a copy of this book with me at all times and simply hand it out to the gigglers to read for themselves because I don't get a dollar for the explanation or for the giggle. So- the book is fun, interesting, and entertaining. Read it and you'll understand what I mean when I say, "His produce led me to purchase a no-guarantee season for my mare who was covered twice before she caught, but unfortunately slipped before she dropped." I recommend the book for racing fans, especially those that are unfamiliar with the long and arduous process of getting a horse to the track.
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