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The overriding tragedy here is that this particular story essentially ends just after the turn of the 20th century. Before that, black riders dominated the game. In slave days, race riding could be a route to freedom. It was certainly a route to fame and a share of fortune. Whether a match race for bragging rights in the field, or a leg of the prestigious Triple Crown, black riders had at least a fair shake. Isaac Murphy, whose winning percentages have never been matched, won a trio of Kentucky Derbies. Jimmy Winkfield won back-to-back Runs for the Roses in 1901 and 1902. Yet, no black rider has piloted a winner in a major American stakes race since 1909. What happened?
By introducing us to a forgotten chapter in sports history and a host of deserving athletic legends sadly overlooked by time, Hotaling explores what did happen, and why a sport that witnessed blacks and whites competing as equals for so long at the highest levels suddenly locked the starting gate. The story Hotaling tells is as fascinating as it is painful, a story of opportunity unsaddled by prejudice and fear, and never significantly remounted again. "This is not black history," he makes clear. "It is not white history. It is American history." And like so much of American history, it's more complex than black and white. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A superb book that must have been arduous to research and create. As an African American, I appreciated the time, effort and energy that the writer put into this book. Read morePublished on July 4, 2011 by Tendai J. James