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Racing Through the Century: The Story of Thoroughbred Racing in America Hardcover – November, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
In Simon's thoughtful, engaging chronicle of this "sport of kings," adapted from her reporting in the Thoroughbred Times, the author charts the ever-changing fortunes of horse racing and its devotees. With a quick nod to racing up through the19th century (she identifies, for instance, a British horse named Diomed destined to "reshape the American Thoroughbred in his own remarkable image"), Simon dives into the 20th, when the advent of the automotive age relegated the horse to the realm of sport. She tackles her subject in 10-year increments, from "A Decade of Turmoil" (1901-10), to the "Fabulous Fifties," to the 1990's "A Revolutionary Ending," and in doing so makes the stars of each-the champion jockeys, the record-shattering horses-shine in exhilarating detail. Her profiles of horses-the story of John Henry, the ill-tempered brute who became a beloved champion at an age most horses were consigned to the paddock, for example, or the tragedy of the brilliant filly Ruffian, who sealed her fate by finishing a race on a broken leg-are particularly affecting, but throughout this volume, readers are treated to an expert's thorough treatment of a fascinating history. Illus.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Simon takes an ingeniously simple approach to a daunting task, which is nothing less than providing a comprehensive history of Thoroughbred racing in the twentieth century. Dividing the century into decades, she provides an overview of the major events and trends for each 10 years, then fills in details with colorful biographies of the greatest equine stars who raced during the period. The result is an ordered and easily digested march through the years, enlivened by accounts of heroic feats, and the overall impact is surprising. Waist-deep in current woes such as declining on-track attendance and increased competition from other forms of gambling, those who care deeply about Thoroughbred racing are inclined to despair for the future of their sport. After reading how racing overcame the antiwagering laws at the dawn of the twentieth century, the corruption of the ensuing decades, the total shutdown of the sport during World War II, and the drug and race-fixing scandals of the latter half of that century, the obstacles seem less intimidating. As Simon herself concludes, racing seems likely not just to survive, but to thrive. Dennis Dodge
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
I gave this as a gift last xmas.
I almost cried when I read about Ruffian, and I remembered her tragic spill in the famous male/female match race with Foolish Pleasure. I was a child at a family friend's house and it was dark and raining, and the beautiful Ruffian went to the lead and then tragically fell sending her into immortal status.
The John Henry story is a book possible all by itself.
A great job by Mark and Mary Simon, I was very impressed and I'm in the business.
Best Regards to All, MC - TheStickRules.Com