Thoroughbred #44: Perfect Image

Overview

Will Melanie save Image?

Image is wild—perhaps too wild to train for the track. But she' s fast, and Melanie Graham wants nothing more than to be her jockey. If only Image's owner and trainer would let her work with the temperamental filly.

Melanie isn't the only one interested in Image. Greedy Brad Townsend wants to add her to his breeding stock. Melanie is sure that Image's talent would wasted as a boodmare—the filly was born to run, and with...

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Overview

Will Melanie save Image?

Image is wild—perhaps too wild to train for the track. But she' s fast, and Melanie Graham wants nothing more than to be her jockey. If only Image's owner and trainer would let her work with the temperamental filly.

Melanie isn't the only one interested in Image. Greedy Brad Townsend wants to add her to his breeding stock. Melanie is sure that Image's talent would wasted as a boodmare—the filly was born to run, and with the right rider she could win big. Will Melanie prove that Image can race before it's too late?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061058547
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Series: Thoroughbred Series, #44
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"I'll only be a minute, promise," Melanie Grahm said to her friend Kevin McLean as she opened the door of his pickup truck. Kevin had parked beside the gates that led into the backside of the Keeneland racetrack.

"A minute?"' Kevin laughed. "I doubt that." Turning off the motor, he slid down in the driver's seat and pulled the brim of his baseball cap over his eyes. "Wake me when you get back."

Rolling her eyes, Melanie hopped from the truck and shut the door. Kevin was probably right, she thought as she hurried across the asphalt. She would be more than a minute. But not much more. Vince Jones had ordered her to stay away from his stable area, so she would have to make her visit with Image brief.

It was eight o'clock on a Tuesday night, and the backside was empty except for a few workers. Tall lights illuminated the area, casting eerie shadows over the rows of barns. Nervous, Melanie jumped at every sound. She hated sneaking around like this to see linage, but she had to.

Not seeing her beloved filly wasn't an option. Ever since Image had been whisked away from Tall Oaks, Fredericka Graber's farm, to the track, Melanie had missed her desperately. This would be the first time Melanie had seen linage since the horse had been at Keeneland. It had been only five days, but as far as Melanie was concerned, five days was way too long.

With Kevin's help, Melanie had worked with linage at Tall Oaks every day for the last three weeks of summer. They had made terrific progress, and Melanie's dream of being the first to ride Image was about to come true when Vince suddenly ordered the filly back to Turfway Park, where his otherhorses were racing at the time. Melanie knew the filly wasn't ready for the track, but in his eagerness to get the two-year-old ready to race, the stubborn trainer had ignored her protests.

Vince doesn't understand, Melanie thought. She had worked hard to gain the filly's trust. Slowly that trust had turned into a special bond. But that was hard to explain to an old-fashioned trainer such as Vince. To him, Image was just another Thoroughbred.

As she hurried past the track kitchen, Melanie glanced around nervously. If Vince caught her, he'd be so furious he'd probably tell security not to let her on the track. On Monday, when the trainer had moved Image from Turfway Park to the Keeneland track, he'd made it clear that Melanie was not welcome at Keeneland, either.

Which isn't fair, Melanie said to herself. Okay, so maybe it had been stupid of her to tell Vince Jonesthe premier trainer on the East Coast-that he didn't know how to handle Image. Image wasn't even Melanie's horse. But couldn't Vince see her side?

Obviously not, Melanie thought as she made her way toward Vince's barn. Vince Jones would never admit that he didn't know how to handle Image, even though the disastrous weeks at Turfway had proven it. The feisty, strong-willed filly had broken away from her handlers and trampled her grooms. No one could get close enough to Image to come anywhere near riding her. But not only had Vince refused to listen to Melanie's advice, he'd finally gotten sick of Melanie's arguing and interfering. That was when he'd told her she couldn't see the filly anymore.

When she reached Barn 15, Melanie stopped by the side of the building and took a deep breath. She knew there would be at least one groom on duty. Thoroughbreds were too valuable not to have someone watching them every minute in case one got colic, or cast in its stall, or went off its feed. Melanie could only hope that the worker would be sitting in the barn office or, even better, off at the track kitchen getting a snack.

Peering around the side of the building, Melanie could see the office door, which was halfway closed. She didn't see anyone inside, but when she listened carefully, she heard voices. Maybe the groom had a friend visiting, or was talking on the phone. Either way, Melanie was pretty sure she could get to Image's stall without any problem.

As she jogged down the row of stalls, the horses snorted and started. A few hung their heads over their stall guards, hoping for attention. Since it was the beginning of October and the nights were cool, most of the horses wore light blankets.

"Sorry, guys, can't visit," Melanie whispered as she hurried past. When she reached Image's stall, she took one last look around before unlatching the top door. Unlike the other horses, who had nylon stall guards or wire mesh half doors, Image's stall had a bottom door of solid wood and a top door of steel wire mesh. The filly had proven to be an escape artist; the only way to keep her in was to put her in this jail cell of a stall.

"It's me, pretty girl," Melanie murmured as she swung open the top door. Immediately Image popped her head over the lower door. Her brown eyes were huge, her nostrils flared. Throwing up her head, she sucked in the night air, then let out a plaintive whinny.

"Shh." Melanie put a finger to her lips. The filly stared into the night, a half-wild look on her face.

"Oh, Image." Melanie ran her hand down the filly's neck. "Whats happened to you?"

A pang of sadness filled Melanie. She knew Image hated to be closed up in a stall. At Tall Oaks the filly had been turned out night and day in her own pasture...

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2004

    GREAT

    this was a great book this might be the best book in the series so far , i really hope melanie and kevin would get back together though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2003

    Thoroughbred #44: Perfect Image

    i love mel almost as much as i love ashleigh, christina comes in a close 3rd i got this book from a neighbor who asked my mom what number i ws on i read it in 1 hour!!!!!!! i was sooo into this book i hate brad and alexis!!!!!!!!!! they made me really mad!! i cant wait till mmy mom gets me the next 1, racing image, i am so excited!!! well i have to go, got jumping lesson with my horse, sun shine or sunny.g2g love, me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2003

    Thoroughbred #44: Perfect Image

    i love mel almost as much as i love ashleigh, christina comes in a close 3rd i got this book from a neighbor who asked my mom what number i ws on i read it in 1 hour!!!!!!! i was sooo into this book i hate brad and alexis!!!!!!!!!! they made me really mad!! i cant wait till mmy mom gets me the next 1, stars chance, i am so excited!!! well i have to go, got jumping lesson with my horse, sun shine or sunny.g2g love, me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2001

    Gr8 book!

    I thought that this book was awesome! I loved how melanie wouldn't give up on Image even though Alexis tried to stop her. I suspected that Alexis was up to something from the start, I'm glad that she quit! I hope that my review helps people see how great this book really is!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2001

    great book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book was great it was the perfect ending to the fight that melanie has been giving for image and the perfect begining for them, I think that brad will not give up his fight for image and make it very difficult for mel. This was a great book and I definitly recamend it to all horse lovers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2001

    WOW!:)

    This was a very cool book! I bought it one day and had it finished the next! Good news to anyone who doesn't know: Star does get better! Yippie! Back to the book. It was very cool! I am so happy for Melanie and Image. Even though my two fave characters are Ashleigh(without annyone coming close:)and Christina, Melanie is very close. But still I have to say this: GO MEL & IMAGE!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2001

    Excellent Book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I Really Enjoyed reading this book. I think that there has been better Throughbreads. Anyways, if you havent read all of the other TB's go back and start from book one, they will make alot more sense!! Happy Reading!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    Perfect Image of this book!!!

    This is one of the best TB books ever written, including Cassidy's Secret and The Bad Luck Filly. In fact, it took away some of the exitement of science camp! I'd rate it more than five stars. I can't wait to read Racing Image! In all, this is one in a million and a must-read!!!! If you enjoyed this book, you must read SHADOW HORSE from the same author, which also holds the love of horses, realistic charicters, and a mysterious tilt rarely found in books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2000

    super book

    I couldn't wait until this book came out cause the end of 42 kind of left you hanging. This book was great but at the end your still not exactly sure whats going to happen I guess that means there will be another book about Mel and Image my two favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2000

    She really is a PERFECT IMAGE!!

    Mel was deffinatly right when she thought Image had speed! There's no doubt about that! When it was telling about Image's breeze riderless, she was doing better than a twelve-clip(that's when a horse runs a furlong in twelve seconds, or less! I learned that in another TB book!)! Well, you know what I think of Brad? He's a good for nothing, bragging, sly idiot! When he wanted Image back, I thought- Fredricka BETTER NOT EXEPT HIS OFFER! And Alexis- don't even get me started! She was was behind this whole Brad incadent! She was a TOTAL SCAM ARTEST! But, it was one of THE BEST THOROUGHBRED BOOKS I'VE EVER READ!! I'm not laying-- I read this book in under 6 hrs!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2000

    Awesome TB book!!!

    This book was an amazing story of a girl and her filly! MEl and Image are the perfect team! Cindy is starting to come around. Chris is not giving up hope on her beloved colt! Overall:great book!You WILL LOVE the ending!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2000

    I THINK THE HUMP IS OVER!

    This book was one of the best since the almost first started the new generation!! I was in the book store looking at it and I started reading it and couldnt putt it down!! It was very suspenfull!! I liked the part when Mel was racing on Raven, I didnt know what was going to happen, I thought she was going to faint!! I was great!! AND I HATE BRAD!!!! GRRRR!!!! Now the book store only have Perfect Image adn not Fallen Star so I had to skip a book and I hate doing that!!! In PI, it was taking about Star and how he could barely walk!!! its sooo sad, and how they talked about him at the track, I hope he comes back to win the KD!!! So, did Chris buy him in teh last book?? If wanna talk horses, or TB books, email me!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2000

    Thoroughbred #44: Perfect Image

    I got Perfect Image for Christmas, and I read it all in one sitting! It was sooo good - I love Image and Mel! I wish that I could talk more about what happens in the book, but I don't want to ruin it for anybody. I will tell you this, though, it does give you a much better idea as to what's going to happen to 'em. Oh, and I really hope that Star gets better (in #43 he gets very sick, but in #44 it doesn't say whether or not he's gonna make it). Even if he has to retire to stud, it won't matter - I bet his babies will finish the amazing racing career he was capable of, but wasn't able to accomplish. Who knows, maybe he'll come back and truimph over Brad's new horse (no offense to him, because he sounds really cool, but I just don't like Brad and his snooty ways!) In short, this book is a must-read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2000

    Thoroughbred #44: Perfect Image

    First of all, I didn't expect Perfect Image to be out so soon, but trust me, it's deffinately a pleasant surprise! I love Image and Mel as TB characters; The Bad Luck Filly was so well-written that it made them incredibly real, and I can really relate to them. I'm also glad that the writers made another book about the hopefully soon-to-be racing stars, because I can't wait to find out what happens to Image and Mel!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2000

    gonna be good, but where'd everyone go?

    ok,here's the deal, this is gonna be good book, cuz mel is the best! but my review is really more about 43, fallen star. cindy's return wasn't very exciting except 4 the fact that she was a real brat, which she wasn't before. they mentioned glory, and she didn't say anything about the horse which she saved his life and he broke world recods and she just ignored him!! how stupid!!?? and what ever happened 2 champion? i never hear about him... NEVER. in fallen star, after they went thru the stallion barn, cindy saw a picture of him & her a dubia(however u spell that) and they never talk about him. i mean did he die or something? i seriously doubt that and they wouldn't sell him. well, if anybody knows anything email me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2000

    Perfect I think So!

    Melanie and Image are one heck of a team and melanie is still convinced that image will become a big track star,they've made it so far but will melanie give up too soon?

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