Barbaro: A Nation's Love Story

Barbaro: A Nation's Love Story

by Pamela K Brodowsky, Tom Philbin
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Barbaro: A Nation's Love Story by Pamela K Brodowsky, Tom Philbin

This up-to-minute book follows the story of Barbaro, the Triple Crown contender whose unlikely fight back from almost certain death from a shattered leg and ensuing complications captured the hearts of a nation who responded with a stunning display of love.

In 132 years of derby races, only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, the last in 1978. Barbaro was a favorite to be the twelfth until May 20, 2006, at the Preakness Stakes, when his jockey, Edgar Prado pulled him up a couple of hundred yards from the starting gate. Subsequent examination revealed that he had virtually exploded bones in his right rear leg so badly that under normal conditions he would have been euthanized right on the track. But his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, chose another path, one filled with anxiety and tears—but also courageous determination to save his life.

This touching, soaring book—filled with insights from Barbaro's trainers, breeders, caretakers, and owners—follows Barbaro from foal to colt to champion to perfect patient. But In the end it is not just a story of a down-but-not-out champion, but of human beings at their very best.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061284854
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/26/2007
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

Pamela K. Brodowsky grew up on a horse ranch and has more than 30 years of experience with race horses, often showing Thoroughbreds in competitions. She is also the founder of International Literary Arts, and is a popular speaker at many writers' conferences. She lives in Moscow, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two children.

Tom Philbin is a writer of numerous books and has also written articles for a variety of magazines, including Parade, Woman's Day, and Reader's Digest. He lives in Centerport, New York.

Read an Excerpt


A Nation's Love Story
By Pamela Brodowsky

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Pamela Brodowsky
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061284854

Chapter One

Quest for a Champion

In 1941, there existed a crazy thoroughbred horse named "Whirlaway," a small chestnut colt who stood fifteen "hands" high (each hand is 4" wide). His trainer, the great Ben A. Jones, characterized him as being as nervous as "a cat in a room full of rocking chairs" and not too bright. "You could teach him," Jones said, "but you couldn't teach him much."

In fact, one might say, just looking at his tail made him seem crazy. Instead of being like most horses', which were trimmed at the hocks, he had a tail that went almost all the way to the ground. Indeed, his nickname was "Mr. Longtail." But it was kept long for a reason. When he was running, the tail would stretch out and flail at other horses, who would automatically keep their distance from this nervous horse.

Jones tolerated Whirlaway for one simple reason: As someone once said, "He could outrun the wind."

Indeed, he could. In the Kentucky Derby, he ran the fastest time ever, 2:01 and 2⁄5, a time that would stand until 1962, and he also became that rarest of creatures—winner of the Triple Crown, also winning both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

At the time, Whirlaway had many admirers, not only because he was fast but becauseof his eccentricities—you never knew what he was going to do when he ran—known all over the country, indeed the world. And one of those who knew was a little girl who lived in Pennsylvania named Gretchen, who, like others, had a black-and-white picture of him. She would spend much time looking at the horse—studying him.

Gretchen, as it happened, loved horses, and unlike some things in childhood that prove to be flashes in the pan, her love for horses endured. And one day in 2006, Gretchen Jackson would be watching as a horse she had dreamed about for 30 years—her Whirlaway—who was named Barbaro, a small Peruvian man on his back, was bursting out of a pack of horses as they entered the stretch and drove to the wire to win in the ultimate horse race, the Kentucky Derby, by 61⁄2 lengths, the biggest margin of victory in over 60 years.

As Gretchen watched, standing next to her was another horse lover, her husband, Roy, who had dreamed along with her.

The Jacksons could hardly have predicted that Barbaro would turn out to be, as it were, Barbaro. They own Lael (it means loyalty) Farms in West Grove, Pennsylvania, and had been breeding horses for many years. But they had never succeeded in developing one that was winning any big races in the United States, though they did have a winner of a big race in England. They nursed a dream of winning big for 30 years.

Still, there was no guarantee that you would breed a champion no matter what you did. The main thing was a horse's pedigree, but that was no guarantee of performance either. A foal's mother could be the 1980 Derby winner, "Genuine Risk," and its father "Man o' War," perhaps the greatest racehorse who ever lived, one's grandfather "Secretariat"—who was the first horse to cover the 1¼-mile Derby track in under two minutes, and one's grandmother the 1915 Derby winner, "Regret," and nothing was guaranteed. Far from it.

Indeed, some of the colts who produced champions could make one blink with disbelief. One such was "Reigh Count," a colt owned by John D. Hertz, a wily ex-boxer who owned the Yellow Cab Company and who would go on to start Hertz Rent A Car. Reigh Count won the 1928 Kentucky Derby as well as other significant stakes races, including the Saratoga Cup, the Huron Handicap, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and, in England, the Ascot Gold Cup. After he retired to stud, Reigh Count was a successful sire for the Hertzes, but none of his offspring was a Derby winner. Then Hertz, ever the innovator, had a crazy idea: Instead of breeding or mating Reigh Count to famous, high-priced mares, he bred him—mystifyingly—to a tired old horse named, ironically, "Quickly."

The "covering"—the trade term for the sex act between horses—was successful, but when the foal was born, people were slightly horrified and hoped that looks did not equate with racing ability: The foal was downright ugly. But the foal grew up to be "Count Fleet," who in 1943 won the Triple Crown and later, at stud, sired his own foal, who didn't do as well as Daddy. His name was "Count Turf," and he succeeded only in winning the Kentucky Derby in 1951.

Another pedigree conundrum was detailed by author Jim Bolus in his book Run for the Roses: 100 Years at the Kentucky Derby. One of the 1961 contenders, Bolus said, 'Carry Back' was not a classically bred racehorse. He was by 'Saggy' out of 'Joppa,' which didn't figure to produce anything faster than a jalopy.

But this jalopy was to mount one of the greatest comebacks in Derby history. Indeed, someone said: "He didn't start his drive to the wire at Churchill Downs. He was so far back it was like he started on the Ohio border—and won."

Another thing is that just because a mare comes forth with Man o' War one year (a mare's pregnancy is normally eleven months) doesn't mean that each time she gives birth, all the foals will be about the same quality. An old-time horseman named Ogden Phipps experienced this truth. In 1969, Christopher Chenery, who owned Meadow Stud stables, had an arrangement with Phipps, who owned Claiborne Farms. Chenery could not afford the considerable breeding fee of Derby winner "Bold Ruler" standing at stud for Claiborne, so he made an agreement that every two years, Phipps would take one of the foals sired by Bold Ruler for Chenery as payment. This continued for years. After Chenery died in 1967, his daughter, Penny Chenery, who took over Meadow . . .


Excerpted from Barbaro by Pamela Brodowsky Copyright © 2007 by Pamela Brodowsky. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Barbaro: A Nation's Love Story 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read! I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could get no farther than Page 5, first chapter, when the first of many factual errors jumped off the page. Ogden Mills Phipps never owned Claiborne Farm. He was a client who bred and raced horses under the the Phipps family name. Claiborne Farm was owned by the noted Kentucky thoroughbred figure A.B. (Bull) Hancock. Barbaro's courage and determination deserve a more factual effort by the authors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is rife with errors. Worse, it extensively picks up quotes, scenes, and descriptions from articles written in numerous other publications with no attribution, leading readers (who are also buyers) to believe the authors did all the interviews and research themselves. This is a poor rehash of other writers' work for such varied publications and outlets as Associated Press, 'Current Biography,' the Dartmouth Alumni magazine, and Daily Racing Form. Read the originals instead. There's nothing new here, and it's badly presented with little apparent editing to correct errors pertaining to both the horses and the people who appear. Better choices with original reporting and proper sourcing and attribution: Sean Clancy's book and Shelly Mickle's book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book(other than a few typos)!! Follows Barbaros life from the begining. If you want to learn & just pleasure read about him, this is a great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Noelle McClain More than 1 year ago
I love the way she really gets you into the book with all of the intense scenes that happen in his life... sad to know he has passed away but he is a champion. This book will make you cry and long for him not to die. I think that anyone who loves horses and enjoys horse racing will enjoy this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very well written. The introduction is so well written that it leaves you with that tight feeling in your chest and a thirst to read more. It not only gives the reader information about Barbaro but also information on the beauties of training and racing a horse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think this was an outstanding book!!!!! it was great to read and even though there were a few typing mistakes it was teriffic!! you shared the authers pain, sorrow, happiness, and joy!!! if your looking for a great book on barbaro you found it!!!you may be lost barbaro, but you will never be forgotten!!!!!!! we miss you so much!!! you were definately a fighter!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think we were all touched by the efforts to save this horse and the outpouring of emotion by the legions of people that watched his story unfold In reading this book I could feel the authors love, pain, and admiration not only for the horse but for all the people who worked so hard and gave so much to save him. They did this for no other reason than pure love. If you are an animal lover, horse racing enthusiast or part of the human race you will be moved by this book. A great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, I loved this book. It gives insight to all of Barbaro's life. However, there are many, many editing mistakes. One page in particular had a paragraph that obviously had a couple of sentences left out. Also a lot was spelled wrong. Fortunately, it is easy to put that aside and learn about Barbaro's life and human family. I loved reading it and loved how it referenced a lot. The end of it seemed kind of splotchy because all they did was copy stuff from the internet, but it was still a great read. !!!!!!!!!! I love you Barbaro!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I read the book I thought that the authors showed a great admiration not only for Barbaro but for the people that loved him and cared for him. I found the book to be very informative. I also was deeply sadden by the way they slaughter these magnificent animals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would have liked it better if the book had color photos, but that one on the cover is outstanding. I just stare at it, and I think the one of Edgar Prado on the back cover is good too. It was also wonderful to see so many people care about Barbaro. I think it said a lot about the way people can really be. I'll never forget Barbaro, and this book will always be with me when I want to spent a few moments with him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received my copy of Barbaro: A Nation¿s Love Story on Saturday, a day which I had planned to start my Spring cleaning. Well that never happened. I sat down to take a quick look through the book and never ended up leaving the couch until I finished hours later. What a touching book. I could actually feel the authors¿ attachment to this horse throughout the text, an affection that I share dearly with them. I read and I cried and I read and I cried some more. Brodowsky and Philbin captured his short life and the love that so many had for him in this timeless celebration. One of the things I enjoyed about the book is that they just didn¿t tell how Americans felt about Barbaro but actually showed it with real notes that were sent to this magnificent horse. Not too many horses have their own mail account but with Barbaro the feelings were so deep with so many that there was no other way. This book chronicles Barbaro¿s life from the beginning to the unfortunate end and all I can say is make sure you have a good tissue supply before you start. WONDERFUL.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read. I was never into horse racing, however a friend recommended this book, and I am VERY happy that she did! The authors obviously have a deep love for animals, and tell the story of Barbaro with great love and care!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nice tribute, nice perspective on such a gripping story and fast too. This horse is going to be remembered forever. Thanks to the authors for making something lovely to remember him by.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the authors had no access to any of the people directly involved in this story, so they had to rely on work done by other people who did. there's nothing new here. amateurish writing. sloppy editing. b&w pictures not even on glossy paper. this was a rush to print with one thing in mind: $
Guest More than 1 year ago
As someone who has followed Barbaros life, I was very excited and couldn't wait to read this book. I wasn't disappointed. It's a very interesting book and I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was poorly written and with great haste to cash in on the Barbaro Nation and the death of a great horse. Authors Brodowsky and Philbin, shame on you! There is plagarism, photos without correct identification and so much more. I cannot trust what I read. A mess of a book. Only buy if you want to proof-read. THE BEST new books on Barbaro are: 'Barbaro: The Horse Who Captured America's Heart' by Sean Clancy and 'Barbaro' by Shelly Mickle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've have been a follower of Barbaro since long before the Kentucky Derby and have read just about every horse story (I think) ever written. This book is by far among the top notch. Not only was I able to relive his wonderful life from birth to his unfortunate death but this story was told with pure emotion. Its a celebration of a great horse- one that will live in our hearts for many years to come. Brodowsky and Philbin have created a heartfelt keepsake that friends and fans of Barbaro will treasure for a lifetime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in less than a day. It was beautifully written and captured the the incredible life and death of Barbaro perfectly. I must disagree with the pp on all accounts. A must read for anyone who loves to read about the great spirit of the horse named Barbaro who died too young.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say this book is sure to well up the tears in even the strongest of us. The authors did a wonderful job of portraying Barbaro's short life and explaining details that non horse people wouldn't have easily known. Not only that, but they are using the book to make more people aware of the horrible horse slaughter issue that exists here in the United States. I say thank you to them for their help and recommend this book highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok.. tragic story. Capitalize as fast as possible and get all the attention. But the rush to publish is all too apparent in this book. Horse names are not spelled correctly (Somethingroyal and Andover Way are obvious ones), Derby is frequently shown as lower case derby, and the horrible reference to wagering as 'a ton of money' just made me cringe. Both authors on the dust jacket are lauded as notable horse people and authors, but something apparently happened in the editing portion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not read this book yet but i have a question. DID BARBARO DIE???