And, They're Off! Books About Thoroughbreds and Their People

Jane Smiley

"The Pulitzer Prize--winning author of  A Thousand Acres gallops into territory she first explored in her acclaimed best-selling novel, Horse Heaven with this irresistible account of her lifelong love affair with horses. Smiley draws upon her firsthand knowledge of horses, as well as the wisdom of trainers, vets, jockeys, and even a real-life horse whisperer, to examine the horse on all levels-practical, theoretical, and emotional. She shares not only 'cute stories' about her own horses, but also fascinating and original insights into horse-and human-behavior. To all this she adds an element of drama and suspense as two of her own horses begin their careers at the racetrack. As the sexy black filly Waterwheel and the elegant gray colt Wowie aspire to the winner's circle, we are enchanted, enthralled-and informed about what it's really like to own, train, and root for a Thoroughbred."

Lynn Reardon
"Racehorses that are not great money winners, or who suffer career-ending injuries, are frequently relegated to lives of neglect, abuse, or demise. Lynn Reardon founded Lonestar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers (LOPE) to give these also-ran horses a second chance at a decent life. This book documents her experiences, challenges, and triumphs through personal anecdotes."
H.M. Menino

A description of what it takes to make it at the highest levels of English-style riding -- training, competition, and not least the emotional bonds that must be forged between riders and horses.

Jim Squires

"Jim Squires was in trouble. He was in the horse business, an enterprise seemingly intent on committing suicide, led over the cliff by visionless leaders. A clannish group called 'the Dinnies' had long refused to share power, as vast overproduction and unbridled greed created a subprime-like bubble in the market. Overpriced animals of dubious quality and drug-enhanced performance on the track were undermining the integrity of competition and ultimately the very breed itself. With its economic model broken, its tawdry sales practices under attack, and its public image in tatters, the sport was overdue for a reckoning. Headless Horsemen is Squires's critique of what is happening to the sport and the animals he loves, as he and a small group of unlikely heroes agitate for a return to fair dealing. For anyone who cares about the soul and survival of horse racing, this book is an impassioned call to arms."

Jim Squires
When Monarchos came to the gate at the 2001 Derby, he was passed over by the sports announcers as being a long shot. Indeed, he started at 10-1 odds. His breeder, Jim Squires, knew better. Here the self-proclaimed breeding genius tells an exciting and humorous story of the business of producing champions
Sylvia Harris with Eunetta T. Boone and William H. Boulware.
The author describes her battle with bipolar disorder, the surprisingly calming effect that grooming, caring for, and eventually racing horses had on her condition.
Dorothy Ours

"His trainer said that managing him was like holding a tiger by the tail. His owner compared him to 'chain lightning.' His jockeys found their lives transformed by him, in triumphant and distressing ways. All of them became caught in a battle for honesty. Born in 1917, Man o' War grew from a rebellious youngster into perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time. He set such astonishing speed records that The New York Times called him a 'Speed Miracle.' Often he won with so much energy in reserve that experts wondered how much faster he could have gone.

"Over the years, this and other mysteries would envelop the great Man o' War. The truth remained problematic. Even as Man o' War---known as 'Big Red'---came to power, attracting record crowds and rave publicity, the colorful sport of Thoroughbred racing struggled for integrity. His lone defeat, suffered a few weeks before gamblers fixed the 1919 World Series, spawned lasting rumors that he, too, had been the victim of a fix.

"Tackling old beliefs with newly uncovered evidence, Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning shows how human pressures collided with a natural phenomenon and brings new life to an American icon. The genuine courage of Man o' War, tribulations of his archrival, Sir Barton (America's first Triple Crown winner), and temptations of their Hall of Fame jockeys and trainers reveal a long-hidden tale of grace, disgrace, and elusive redemption."

John Eisenberg

Great race horses are not supposed to be gray. The lighter the coat color, the lighter the color of the hooves. Lighter hooves were traditionally believed to be weaker and less able to withstand the stresses of hard racing. In the 1950s, however, there was a gray champion who liked to come in fast from far behind. Big and powerful, Native Dancer was named Horse of the Year in 1954 and graced the cover of Time magazine.

Julie Krone
Julie Krone had a rough ride, first breaking into a male-dominated sports field and then surviving several serious falls. A high-school dropout who had some problems with drugs early in her career became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race (the Belmont, 1993) and the first to win more than $50 million in purses. A champion book by a champion rider.
William Nack

"As a young boy in Illinois, William Nack carried in his pocket a trading card of his hero, Swaps, winner of the 1955 Kentucky Derby. As a young an adult, he climbed on a table at an office party and rattled off from memory the names of every horse who had ever won America's premiere race. Newsday promptly promoted him to the paper's turfbeat. Weeks later, Nack began an unprecedented streak of good fortune at Belmont Racetrack. He met a young colt named Secretariat and found himself writing an equine biography, 'the gold standard of horse books,' according to Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

"Upon publication, Nack returned to the track to meet Ruffian, a daring filly who endeared herself to a generation of fathers and daughters with a magnificently inspiring, ten-race winning streak. On July 6, 1975, she was leading the colt Foolish Pleasure in a nationally-televised match race when her luck ran out. She shattered her ankle and had to be taken from the track by ambulance. After a heroic attempt to mend her leg with surgery, Ruffian was put down later that evening. In this moving, lyrical memoir, Nack chronicles his real-life romance with the sport's most famous filly and the tragic afternoon that forever changed his love affair with the track."

Laura Hillenbrand

A loser horse and a down-on-his-luck jockey join forces to take on the best equine athletes of Depression-era America. Hillenbrand's book has been made into a Hollywood film, starring Toby Maguire. The book is also available on audio.

William Nack

"Secretariat is an elegantly crafted, exhilarating tale of speed and power, grace and greatness, told with such immediacy that the reader is lost in the rush of horses and the clatter and ring of the grandstand." Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit

Kate Chenery Tweedy, Leeanne Ladin, Wayne Dementi

"On March 30, 1970, Secretariat drew his first breath in a little white foaling shed on a historic farm called The Meadow in Caroline County, Virginia. Three years later he would leave the nation breathless as he captured the Triple Crown, shattering records and rivals alike. At The Meadow, America's Super Horse learned to gallop across its rolling fields and its loamy track. There, Secretariat first felt the calming hand of a groom, the taste of a bit in his mouth and the weight of a rider on his back. At The Meadow, the foundation was laid for a legend. Though much has been written about his spectacular racing career, the complete story of Secretariat s birthplace and the Chenery family who raised and raced him has never been told...until now. And a Chenery granddaughter is telling it. Secretariat's Meadow: The Land, the Family, the Legend reveals an intimate picture of this storied place from the viewpoint of Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery (Tweedy) and granddaughter of Meadow Stable s founder Christopher T. Chenery."

Bill Mooney & George Ennor
"...the definitive illustrated work on 'the horses,' with every page a visually exciting and information-packed celebration of the sport. It follows horse racing from its earliest inceptions to the present day, and provides essential data on all the top jockeys, leading owners and trainers, and famous Thoroughbreds. In addition, the off-track world is explored through chapters dealing with gambling, scandals and disasters, media coverage, and the business of racing."
Marvin Drager

Updated with all-new information, this is the indisputable and definitive work on the entire history of the rarest of horse racing events, outlining and detailing each of the 11 Triple Crown champions. 150+ archival photos throughout.

Virginia C. Johnson and Barbara Crookshanks

"Virginia, mother of presidents, is also the mother of American horse racing. From the very beginning, Virginians have risked it all on the track as eagerly as on the battlefield. Follow the bloodlines of three foundation sires of the American Thoroughbred through generations of rollicking races and largerthan- life grandees wagering kingly stakes, sometimes on horses not yet born. How did the horse nicknamed Damn His Eyes get protection money from other horse owners? What did it mean to tap the claret to break a neck-and-neck tie? Why was Confederate cavalry so much better than the Union--was it the riders, or was it the mounts? All these and many more stories of horsemanship on and off the track fill the pages of Virginia Horse Racing: Triumphs of the Turf."

Ann Hagedorn Auerbach
A stable with a glorious tradition of winners (Whirlaway, Citation, and Alydar) is brought to its knees, literally and figuratively, by high-rolling businessmen to whom the bottom line is justification for anything whether illegal or immoral.