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Eclipse: The Horse That Changed Racing History Forever
     

Eclipse: The Horse That Changed Racing History Forever

5.0 1
by Nicholas Clee
 

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A chestnut with a white blaze is scorching across the turf towards the finishing post.
His four rivals are so far behind him that, in racing terms, they are "nowhere." Watching Eclipse is the man who wants to buy him. An adventurer and rogue who has made his money through gambling, Dennis O'Kelly is also companion to the madam of a notorious London

Overview

A chestnut with a white blaze is scorching across the turf towards the finishing post.
His four rivals are so far behind him that, in racing terms, they are "nowhere." Watching Eclipse is the man who wants to buy him. An adventurer and rogue who has made his money through gambling, Dennis O'Kelly is also companion to the madam of a notorious London brothel.
While O'Kelly is destined to remain an outcast to the racing establishment, his horse will go on to become the undisputed, undefeated champion of his sport. Eclipse's male-line descendants include Secretariat, Barbaro, and all but three of the Kentucky Derby winners of the past fifty years.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this colorful history, British journalist Clee (Don’t Sweat the Aubergine) argues that Eclipse “is the most influential stallion in the history of the Thoroughbred,” pointing out that “all but three of the Kentucky Derby winners of the past fifty years” are his descendants. He covers the horse’s undefeated racing career, from 1769 to 1771, and his days as a stud, which extended nearly to his death in 1789. Since no horse ever came close to defeating Eclipse, Clee focuses on the people whose lives were intertwined with Eclipse’s, like Prince William, duke of Cumberland, Eclipse’s original owner, whose death sent the horse to auction, where it was bought under unusual circumstances by a butcher named William Wildman. But the real star is gambler and roughneck Dennis O’Kelly, who along with his companion, Charlotte Hayes, the madam of England’s foremost brothel, owned Eclipse for most of the horse’s life. By combining stories of royals and commoners; sex and breeding lines; art and debauchery; fortunes lost and purses won, Clee creates a portrait of 18th-century England that is, at times, Dickensian. Solidly written, this work will give horse racing fans a glimpse of one of history’s great horses as well as the colorful heritage of their favorite present-day steeds. (Apr.)
Forbes.com

"The story of [Eclipse] is a compelling one; It's entertaining to read about, too. Clee's research yielded no shortage of juicy tidbits about prostitutes, gamblers, and minor and major royalty, tidbits that Clee conveys in an accessible biographical narrative that, while clearly scholarly, never feels academic . . . The book is as much a social history as it is a sporting one: Clee vividly describes life in 18th century London."

From the Publisher
"The story of [Eclipse] is a compelling one; It's entertaining to read about, too. Clee's research yielded no shortage of juicy tidbits about prostitutes, gamblers, and minor and major royalty, tidbits that Clee conveys in an accessible biographical narrative that, while clearly scholarly, never feels academic . . . The book is as much a social history as it is a sporting one: Clee vividly describes life in 18th century London." — Forbes.com
Library Journal
This is a highly entertaining account of one of the most famous racehorses in history. Eclipse (1764–89) was a legend in his time and, astonishingly, became the progenitor of all but three of the 50 most recent Kentucky Derby winners. Clee (columnist, Times, UK) chronicles both the life of the horse, who started racing at age five, and the Irish gambler Dennis O'Kelly, who purchased him soon thereafter. The author weaves in many other colorful characters who played a part in the story, including Sir Charles Bunbury (founder of the Jockey Club), the Earl of Derby (from whom classic races take their name), and King George IV. Eclipse was so famous that he modeled for George Stubbs, the preeminent equine painter; examples of art that Eclipse inspired are included in the book. For racing fans, Clee also includes histories of famous races, wagers, bloodlines, and the stories of some of Eclipse's most celebrated offspring. VERDICT A richly detailed narrative that draws a portrait of the Georgian era of English sport and decadence as it proceeds. Not to be missed by readers who loved Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit or by horse lovers and horseracing fans generally.—Amy Ford, St. Mary's Cty. Lib., Lexington Park, MD

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590207376
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
03/29/2012
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,332,849
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.04(h) x 1.24(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Nicholas Clee is a journalist and racing enthusiast. He is also the author of a cookbook, Don't Sweat the Aubergine. He writes a weekly column in the Times and reviews in the Times Literary Supplement.

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Eclipse: The Horse That Changed Racing History Forever 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I luv horses!!!