Taking the Reins

Taking the Reins

4.1 24
by Joanna Campbell, Mary Newhall Anderson, Joanna Campbell

Now that high school is behind them, will Christina and Melanie be able to make the right choices about their futures and still remain friends?

They're out of school and Christina and Melanie are taking a year off to make some big decisions. Christina is torn between the exciting life of a jockey and working as a vet, helping the horses she loves. And


Now that high school is behind them, will Christina and Melanie be able to make the right choices about their futures and still remain friends?

They're out of school and Christina and Melanie are taking a year off to make some big decisions. Christina is torn between the exciting life of a jockey and working as a vet, helping the horses she loves. And then there is her horse, Wonder's Star. After all their hard work, can Christina really leave the track – and Star – behind?

Melanie's future as a jockey seems clear. But her relationships with the people she loves – especially Christina – are less certain. Christina accuses her cousin of putting her career above everything – and everybody. How can Melanie prove that the people she loves comes first?

Ages 9+

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Thoroughbred Series, #60
Product dimensions:
5.18(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Thoroughbred #60: Taking the Reins

By Joanna Campbell

Harper Collins Publishers

Copyright © 2003 Joanna Campbell All right reserved. ISBN: 0060544406

Chapter One

From a distance, the racetrack at Belmont Park looked like a place in a fairy tale. The morning sunlight hit the racetrack's outer railings at such an angle that the white paint glowed. Within these railings, a dirt track stretched so far, it seemed that if the horses ran fast enough, they might be able to touch the sky. The surrounding ivy-covered buildings and tall, leafy trees complemented the track, giving it a dreamlike appearance.

Upon closer examination, though, the track lost its peaceful beauty. Socialite spectators, dressed in darkcolored business suits or pastel sundresses, crowded around the lawn. Bettors screamed into their cellular phones as they paced the grandstands and stuffed money under the betting windows. This chaos extended to the backside, where trainers, grooms, veterinarians, race stewards, and reporters milled around, inspecting horses and barking orders.

Christina Reese tried to ignore the commotion as she stood in front of Wonder's Star's stall and answered questions from the press. Two months earlier, such attention would have rattled her. But this day her responses came easily.

"Ms. Reese, what's next for Wonder's Star?"

Christina looked at her racehorse, admiring the chestnut colt's rippling muscles,straight legs, and elegant head. "Well, first of all, he's going home to Kentucky to get some well-deserved rest," she replied, rubbing the white whorl on Star's forehead. "After that, we'll probably bring him to Saratoga."

"Is the Travers Stakes a possibility?"

Christina nodded. She was planning to enter Star in the biggest race of the Saratoga meet. "But it's not definite. We want to keep our options open." Her parents, Mike Reese and Ashleigh Griffen, were standing at the front of the audience. They had warned her to keep her answers conservative.

"What about the Breeders' Cup Classic?"

Ashleigh stepped forward. "That's certainly on our minds, but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves," she replied.

Christina's mind wandered as her mother discussed Star's summer and fall schedule, listing races such as the Jockey Club Gold Cup. She looked toward the racetrack, remembering the moment that had changed her life just days ago.

It's Wonder"s Star! Wonder"s Star wins the Belmont!

Finally, after being boxed in during the Kentucky Derby and bumped during the Preakness Stakes, Christina and Star had come back to win the last leg of the Triple Crown, the mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes, by a length. Since Star's difficult birth, Christina had known he was special enough to win a Triple Crown race. The path certainly hadn't been easy, but now she and Star had finally shown the racing world what they were capable of.

Ashleigh touched Christina's shoulder. Blushing, Christina turned her attention back to the reporters. A woman in the back was asking a question.

"Christina, now that you have graduated from high school, what are your plans for the future?"

Christina suppressed a groan. Lately it seemed as though everyone was asking her that question. She still didn't have the answer. Back in February she had been accepted to the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Wanting to focus on Star, she had convinced her parents to let her defer admission for a year. Then, as the Triple Crown races drew closer, she had begun thinking about postponing college even longer to focus on her career as a jockey.

Lately, though, the people she respected had found reasons for her to give college more serious consideration. Cindy McLean, a close family friend who had been a successful jockey at Belmont before an injury forced her retirement, had insisted that a solid knowledge of business was necessary for any career with horses. Meanwhile, Christina's ex-boyfriend Parker Townsend had proven it was possible to work with horses while going to school. Finally, Star's groom, Dani Martens, had gotten Christina interested in the possibility of veterinary school.

"I'm not sure about my next step right now," Christina told the reporter. "All I know is that I will continue working with Star."

During the Triple Crown it had been hard for Christina to think about anything beyond the Belmont Stakes. The competition had been so intense that all she'd been able to focus on was Star's next race. But now Star was getting a break, and it was time to make it on her own as a jockey. She was planning to stay at Belmont for the rest of the meet, even though her parents and Star were leaving for Kentucky that evening. Ian McLean, the head trainer at Whitebrook, her parents' farm, would be supervising the farm's horses at Belmont. Ian had several promising horses for Christina to ride.

Christina answered a few more questions for the reporters, but that one reporter's question kept echoing in her head.

What did she want to do with her life? How much of her love for jockeying came from her love for Star and how much would remain if she was riding other horses? Were Cindy, Parker, and Dani right about college? Or should she wait until she was sure before she enrolled? In the meantime, what was the best way for her to spend the summer? There were so many questions, and Christina didn't have any answers.

As the crowd dissipated she left Star's stall and walked along the backside, wanting some time to think. The sound of a familiar voice calling her name interrupted Christina"s thoughts. Turning, she saw Patrick and Amanda Johnston walking toward her. In April Christina had taken Star to the Johnstons' Dreamflight Racing Farm in California so that she could race her colt in the Santa Anita Derby. She had heard from the famous West Coast trainers only a few times since then.

"Hi, Christina. How are you?" Amanda greeted her ...


Excerpted from Thoroughbred #60: Taking the Reins by Joanna Campbell
Copyright © 2003 by Joanna Campbell
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Joanna Campbell appears here with her six-year-old Thoroughbred, Meyersville Magic, known around the barn as CC. He's a son of Horatius out of Northwich by Timothy's Champ and is owned by Cathy Day. Formerly trained for racing, he is now being trained for eventing. Last Year he was the Maine Entry Level Champion in Combined Training.

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Taking the Reins 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was so horrible when Callie went down in the race, you could almost imagine what Chris was feeling when Callie had been put down. I would have cried, too, and not forgiven myself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love the thoroughbred series!!!!! i love all the books. i like the newer ones!!!! i think parker and christina make the cutest couple! I'm happy their back together! i like Melanie alot 2!! I like everybody in the series but Brad and Lavinia they are so stuck up and rude!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book. I laughed during some and cried a lot. I could relate to some parts of the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a fantastic book! BUT was is up with the cover!? The horses bridle looks..looks.. not even like a bridle at all!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent! I loved how it showed what Mel and Chris were going through at the same time. You should definantely read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My gosh people the Cover is not that bad and so what if they bring Seattle Slew and Chrismatic into the picture now you know some racing history I mean, geez you don't need to get worked up about it. They're just putting some backround info. in the series now it seems more life like with real horses that actually existed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey i saw that someone said that Perfect Image dies i thought she just got hurt and i agree the new covers are pretty darn tacky and they shouldnt have brought Charismatic into!!I mean come on? Get some sense please!!Please e-mail me and tell me wat happens thanx
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the book!I don't care what you say,I think if you don't have any good reviews,do not write any reviews at all!Write good reviews not bad ones,so people by the books! So what if they 'trashed' the series for no known reason?I am so disgusted with you people!Not the ones who are good and watch what they write,the opposite!This is getting to old!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This series, even though I love it dearly, is in some serious trouble! What is with these story plots? Not to mention the absolutely disgusting new COVERS! These new authors have completely trashed Campbell's characters and horses. I mean, why are they bringing in Affirmed and Seattle Slew into the picture? Wonder's Star certainly isn't in their leagues as racehorses-he's below them! And Charismatic? Also, I'm still very upset over Image's totally unfair ending to her racing career! Why couldn't Wonder's Star have died instead of living through the disease? Why Image? Where are all the other characters too? Dylan, Cassidy, Katie... Where did they go? Their new covers are totally horrendous! Parker looks deformed in #61, and the horse in #62 looks like he has buck teeth! This series is going downhill, and I am sad to say that. It started out so good...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey yall this is one of the best books i love it soo much and it is sooo good i luv how they use charismatics tradgey to help..... o you will have to find the rest out for yourself cause it is soo sooo good and i recomend you read it amd read it slow so you can enjoy it email me if you wanna talk
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that people neeed to chill down and read the books these are some of the best books including harry potter i think it is awsome how they are using horses who have won the triple crown and broken down in the triple crown to so the could related to how the owners and fans of the horses where feeling and star is one of the greatest racehorses **in these books** he may not have won the derby or the preakness but it takes major guts to win all three and also just won and i think that well i hope that chris will stay a jockey and decided not to become a vet and mel is getting her new horse and the people who think these books stink well then stop reading them if you hate them soo much Holly if you wanna talk email me
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's obvious that the authors are tight on ideas... in 'Christina's Shining Star' Christina needed encouraging from Affirmed's trainer to race in the Preakness. In 'Star's Inspiration' she needed encouraging from Seattle Slew's jockey to race in the Belmont. Same story, different names. And NOW Christina is taking into account what happened to Charismatic?! What's wrong with this girl?! Star is his own horse... He's not a carbon-copy of Affirmed or Seattle Slew or Charismatic. As a matter of fact, Star isn't even in the same class as those horses... he's way below them, as well as the other horses in the book. Sure, he has heart. But the sport of horseracing is alot about chance. If Christina can't deal with the CHANCE of something happening than she shouldn't be in the sport. I don't know where this series is going......
Guest More than 1 year ago
What happened to Kevin?!?!?! And Cassidy!?!?!?! All the characters are disappearing without explination and it's driving me nuts!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The books are becoming awful! I was horrified when they went from #23 to #24! It went downhill from there, I think the new authors have screwed up what Joanna Campbell had going in the hearts of sooo many young people. If she still wrote them herself, so many paople would not be disappointed, do they even have her picture in the back of the books anymore?!?
Guest More than 1 year ago
OMG! I can't wait till this book comes out.I read all of them they are so good Can't WAIT!I just love horse racing but I cant't believe Funny Cide lost the Belmont Stakes what a bummer after he won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. I wish he'd won the Triple Crown the last horse that won all three races was Affirmed in 1978. I can't wait till next year to watch the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.I Luv Funny Cide!! Empire Maker won the Belmont Stakes but Funny Cide ended 3rd, Ten Most Wanted was second.HORSE RACING RULES!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book and i cant wait till parkers passion #61 comes out!!!!!!!!! well i all so cant wait for 62 but that dosnt come out till november parkers passion comes out in september but i cant buy any books till august (i got in trouble) but i am sooooooooo glad because then i wont have to wait as long for parkers passion! bye emily
Guest More than 1 year ago
alrite i went on walmart.com and figured out what the front says. It says 'Will Charismatic's tragedy cause Christina to give up her dream of being a jockey?' It also has Charismatic's bio inside.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay what happened to the good looking covers?!They were so nice but this one is Butt Ugly!!!!And I must agree for them to stop bringing real horses into this book.They could put the bios at the end of a book,but not in the book itself!Overall this is probably going to be a great book,but TB needs a little help!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey i can wait what happens. I seriously love these books. What will happen I hope its about Christina i luv her transitioon from eventing to racing. But what happend to Dylan. Sooo i cant wait which horse is it. Is it Star Gratis i know it cant be image or maybe she will make a come back. Sooooo if u want to talk 2 me about what i wrote about
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hate waiting for the next thoroughbred books. But i think i cant wait. I agree with julie about the other horses going buh bye but hey who knowsMayde that is Christina or Meliane but it looks like Christina and the horse looks kinda like image but maybe its Star covered in sweat or Gratis lol i dont know . The suspense is killin me. But i want star and chris to do soo well maybe royal blue will win the derby with chris. If any one wants to talk to me about it please email me .
Guest More than 1 year ago
yes, i did not like the transition from 23 (cindys Honor) to 24 (the horse of her dreams). like 6 years past! in the 23rd book....they were beginning to mention all the newborn foals that were about to race. especially HOnor Bright.. Like Glorys Joy and Zeros Flight. and shinigs foal Lucky Chance. and fleet godesss foal fleet street. and limitless time. and they did have a lot about Honor Bright but just when honors racing career starts....nothing!! I mean at the end of book 23 they were all like yipee Honor has a future and then they like decide to have 6 years pass....oh and remember in the 11th book, they had two foals of fleet goddess. remember fleeting moment and precocious? they both dissapeared to...well, im a bit clueless..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know that the covers have been pitiful and this one is worse. Is the jockey wearing a scarf? Jockies don't wear scarfs! I think that the book sounds good it is just the covers that turn you away from the books. I hope that they can change the outside and inside of the books to fit what us the readers want to read about and want to see on the covers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally don't like how they are bringing real horses into these books. They had such creativity before when the books were made up. now it seems as if they have lost their creativity b/c they havn't made up the characters and all. Don't get me wrong I still love the books
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for this book to come out! I can't wait for #59 either. Two months, Four months. This is killing me!!!!! I just love these books, about spirited, brave horses and the people who love them. I wish sometimes that they were real life and I am part of it. I love ya like a sis Joanna Campbell! You have a way with writing and I throughly enjoy your writing.