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Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield Paperback – March 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (March 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071467564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071467568
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"May be the most fascinating untold sports story in American history."--Charles Osgood, anchor, CBS News Sunday Morning

"Winkfield's story is so incredible you'll find yourself wondering why you've never heard it before."--MSNBC

"Winkfield's life (is) an unbelievable ride."--ESPN

"For once, a book's breathless subtitle is accurate."--The Washington Post

"This is the stuff of great nonfiction."--Douglas Brinkley, author of Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War

In 1904, at age twenty-three, two-time Kentucky Derby-winner Jimmy Winkfield was forced from American horseracing by a virulent combination of racism and hard times. Wink left his beloved Kentucky, bought a steamer ticket for Europe, and made the world his racetrack.

There he embarked on a decades-long odyssey, rising to superstardom and winning and losing two fortunes. Driven at gunpoint from Russia by the Bolshevik Army and from France by Nazi occupiers, the 105-pound jockey proved himself the most resilient, courageous athlete of the twentieth century. In 2005, Winkfield was inducted into America's horse racing Hall of Fame.

Winkfield achieved a human greatness that transcends the limits of sport. In Wink, Ed Hotaling tells this wonderful story--this American story--in all its rich and vibrant power.

Ed Hotaling is the nation's preeminent authority on early American horse racing. A recent Emmy-winning reporter for the NBC television station in Washington, D.C., he is the author of They're Off! Horse Racing at Saratoga and The Great Black Jockeys.

About the Author

Ed Hotaling is the nation's preeminent authority on early American horseracing. A recent Emmy-winning reporter for the NBC television station in Washington, D.C., he is the author of They're Off! Horse Racing at Saratoga and The Great Black Jockeys.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jimmy Winkfield led an epic life as a champion jockey driven from America due to racism on and off the track while losing everything twice in Europe due to the world wars. But through it all, author Ed Hotaling shows a man driven to succeed no matter what barriers were placed in front of him.

By the age of 23 in 1904, Winkfield was a two-time Kentucky Derby champion and arguably the greatest jockey in the nation. But the ugliness of racism found Winkfield not being able to generate any interest from Thoroughbred owners and trainers. And before he - along with all black jockeys - were cast aside by hate, the rides were getting rougher with white jockeys trying to prevent wins through a variety of crass fouls, while judges looked the other way.

Winkfield became a successful jockey in Europe - especially in the Czar's Russia - but the Bolshevik Revolution found Winkfield leading an expedition on horseback - many of the horses were champions of the turf - out of the country in a perilous journey of life & death. His career in the Thoroughbred industry was rebuilt after the war in France, but Winkfield again lost everything when he was driven from France during the early stages of the Nazi occupation.

Though his grand achievements were largely forgotten as the years breezed by, Winkfield was slated to be honored late in his life in an event the evening before the Kentucky Derby. What happens when the champion jockey again meets the wall of racism brings his life as a jockey to a poignant coda.

The Thoroughbred industry has been about as timely as Major League Baseball in dealing with the past racism in the sport. Winkfield has a minor stakes race named after him on the New York schedule, but it struggles to gate a full field.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sherry Colvin on August 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I couldn't agree more that this is one of the most fascinating stories - sports or otherwise -that has been largely unheard. I'll read just about any book that involves horses, and the fact that this man was fighting such an uphill battle against racism, etc. makes him an incredible underdog. It's a great rags to riches story plus much more. My problem was the writing style. Maybe it's me, but I had a terrible time staying interested in the plot and keeping up with the cast of characters. It seemed to jump around mentioning various historical sidebars so often that it distracted from the essential story. I genuinely enjoyed learning the other historical information, but Seabiscuit was a much smoother read and included as much American history without needing a spoonful of sugar added to get it down.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is the definitive history of a black jockey before many re-appeared at Churchill Downs,again, when the spotlight was cast back on Goldencents who wasn't the best chestnut to attempt a Derby win.

This book is complex, illustrates history in America, and is well-written. If you like history, TB horses, and the prevails of a jockey who was a trend-setter despite divorces, health issues, and riding in Europe, you will enjoy this classic. The book focuses on the time frame with acccuracy,depicting why male jockeys were selected by trainers differently and why so few broadcasters knew this story until recently.

There are a lot of jokes about not the Southern culture nor the times but about Jimmy Winkfield's ability to endure almost anything. TB trainers,riders, historians, and others will be absored in this tale that depicts the possess of putting together a winning jockey and a winning horse combination. Some people who know their Churchill Downs history will love it as a gift and others who don't will learn how amazing training horses can be as a profession or how grueling.

This tale has been covered by writers depicting white athletes but jockeys around the world might enjoy this as much as reading a book about Julia Krone's ground-breaking career. You don't have to be into racing to understand the importance.
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By Billy Tripp on June 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful true story about an amazing man, during an interesting time in world history! I loved it!
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