What a story! Born one of 17 children in a poor, black, Kentucky farm, Jimmy Winkfield won the Kentucky Derby twice. He tried again in 1903 but failed and his career was over. Except that by moving to Europe and Russia he continued as a top rider in the Sport of Kings.
He was doing exceedingly well when the 1917 Revolution came along to disrupt. So what he did then was to collect some 250 horses and drive them to Poland. Later he moved to Paris and was living there when the Germans came in 1940. He returned to the United States where he again became a victum of the blatent racism of the time. Again he was able to persevere and prosper by turning broken-down thoroughbreds into money-making racehorses.
This is an exceedingly well researched, very well written book that brings a little known sports figure a small amount of the recognition he deserves. This book follows 'Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield (ISBN: 0071418628)'
When asked why he picked this subject, the author responded: 'Jimmy Winkfield lived a life that transcended sports or horses. He witnessed lynchings, felt the constraints of Jim Crow laws. He was a rich man with a white valet in Russia. He romanced beautiful women on three continents, dodged bullets and the Bolsheviks to save some of the world's finest thoroughbreds in a trail drive that makes 'Lonesome Dove' look like a walk in the park. He was chased out of France by the Nazis and, in 1961, had to demand the right to enter a party that he was invited to at Louisville's Brown Hotel. This wild arc was all made possible because of Jimmy's singular gift for communicating with racehorses.'