Racing Through the Century: The Story of Thoroughbred Racing in America

Racing Through the Century: The Story of Thoroughbred Racing in America

by Mary Simon
     
 

Horse racing in the twentieth century was filled with excitement, wonderment, disappointment, riches, and speed. The sport of kings metamorphosed with the changing times, mirroring the economic and political climate of the United States. Until now, no other book has captured the thrills and defeats, the culture and the business of Thoroughbred racing during this time.…  See more details below

Overview

Horse racing in the twentieth century was filled with excitement, wonderment, disappointment, riches, and speed. The sport of kings metamorphosed with the changing times, mirroring the economic and political climate of the United States. Until now, no other book has captured the thrills and defeats, the culture and the business of Thoroughbred racing during this time. Written by Eclipse Award-winning author Mary Simon, contributing editor of Thoroughbred Times, and filled with dramatic historical photographs capturing some of the greatest racing moments, this book will catapult you into the fast-paced and exciting world of racing. Geared to the horse aficionado and the aficionado wannabe, this elegant coffee table book covers not only the history of racing from decade to decade during the twentieth century, but how it relates to the history of America as well. The text includes a foreword by Mark Simon, editor of Thoroughbred Times.

About the Author: Mary Simon won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Magazine Writing for her series in the Thoroughbred Times that inspired this book. She grew up in Southern California, an enthralled middle class fan of racing, and small time participant-her family bred a foal or two each spring on a grassless half-acre lot, 25 miles and a world away from the glamorous Santa Anita Park. Their dream was that of everyone else in the business-to win the Kentucky derby-but there would be no fairy tale ending for them. Instead, Mary took her fascination with racing and turned to journalism and writing. She is the author of the book The History of the Thoroughbred in California and was the associate editor for Thoroughbred of California magazine. She is currently a contributing editor for the Thoroughbred Times in Lexington, Kentucky. She is married to Mark Simon, editor of the Thoroughbred Times. They have two daughters, Nora and Rachel.

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Editorial Reviews

Dennis Dodge
Simon takes and ingeniously simple approach to a daunting task, which is nothing less that 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 10 years, then fills in details with colorful biographies of the greatest equine starts 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 over the future of their sport. After reading how racing overcame the anti-wagering 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.
Booklist
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. (Oct.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781889540924
Publisher:
i5 Publishing
Publication date:
01/15/2003
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
11.38(w) x 10.24(h) x 1.23(d)

What People are saying about this

Nicholason, Nick
In Thoroughbred racing, as in life, you can't tell where you are going until you know where you have been. Racing through the Century is a relevant and wonderful story told oh so well.
— President and CEO, Keeneland Race Course
Laura Hillenbrand
Mary Simon has a remarkable gift for illuminating the past. Writing with energy and grace, Simon captures the sweep and splendor of one hundred years of racing: the victors and villains, bluebloods and underdog heroes, lean years and heydays. For anyone who loves the tumult and beauty and sweet sensation of the racetrack, Racing through the Century is a treasure.
— author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

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