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Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield

Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield

by Ed Hotaling

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This vivid biography of a great black jockey who was banned from American racing, and who found a new life in Europe during turbulent times.


This vivid biography of a great black jockey who was banned from American racing, and who found a new life in Europe during turbulent times.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In mid- and late-19th-century America, horse racing led American sports, and within that world, black jockeys dominated. From the bluegrass of Kentucky to the fabled domes of Saratoga, one black jockey, Jimmy "Wink" Winkfield, overshadowed all the others by the turn of the century. With the rapid-fire patter of a track announcer, Hotaling, who penned the definitive history of black jockeys (The Great Black Jockeys), traces Wink's meteoric rise and tragic fall with eloquence and vivacity. As a child, Wink (1880-1974) was enthralled by stories of the great black riders, and by the time he was 17, he was toiling as a stable boy, eventually working his way up to jockey. A quick study, Wink became one of horse racing's most successful jockeys, winning two consecutive Kentucky Derbies, two consecutive Russian Derbies and numerous Warsaw Derbies. As the role of black jockeys began to wane in America and they began receiving threats from the KKK, Wink made a new career for himself in Russia and in Europe, racing in events there, winning big and even marrying a Russian heiress. Alas, after WWII, when he returned to the U.S., he encountered racism and the pain that comes with being a has-been. Hotaling's lovingly crafted reminiscence of a great athlete brings a vanished American subculture to light. Agent, Jenny Bent. (Nov. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This work relates the life of Jimmy Winkfield, a black man who won the Kentucky Derby two years in a row-1901 and 1902. Hotaling (The Great Black Jockeys) tells the story of how Winkfield began as a shoeshine boy and then became a stable hand, an exercise boy, and, finally, a great racehorse jockey and trainer. At the turn of the century, after racial prejudice forced him and other black jockeys to leave the country, Wink became the top jockey in Russia, where he first amassed great wealth and then lost it because of the Russian revolution. In order to save the famous racehorse bloodlines, Wink and his fellow riders, trainers, and owners drove 200 thoroughbreds 1000 miles from Russia to Poland. From there, Wink went to Paris, where he was, again, a very successful jockey. Although he never forgot his home and returned there briefly, he spent his last years in Paris. This amazing story of human talent, resilience, courage, and persistence is highly recommended for all public libraries.-Patsy Gray, Huntsville P.L., AL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

America Media International
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 4 CD's, 4 hrs. 30 min.
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.18(d)
Age Range:
4 - 12 Years

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What People are Saying About This

Douglas Brinkley
It is phenomenal enough that Jimmy Winkfield became a dominant force in American horse racing half a century before Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. But this two-time Kentucky Derby-winner's adventures after leaving to race overseas make his story all the more compelling. Ed Hotaling has a marvelous tale to tell. This is the stuff of great nonfiction.
Laura Hillenbrand
One of the most extraordinary stories in sports history is also one of its least known. Jimmy Winkfield was a gifted jockey and a remarkably intrepid man, and his life was a singular adventure. His is a story of persistence, hardship, and triumph, and it should be long remembered.
Charles Osgood
This may be the most fascinating untold sports story in American history.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
In this fine book, Ed Hotaling adds the texture of a rich individual life to what his previous work has already told us about the great black jockeys of a century ago.

Meet the Author

Ed Hotaling is the nation's preeminent authority on early American horseracing. A recent Emmy-winning reporter for the NBC television station in Washington, D.C., he is the author of They're Off! Horse Racing at Saratoga and The Great Black Jockeys.

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