In the bestselling tradition of the The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the propulsive, inspiring Cinderella story of Stymie, an unwanted Thoroughbred, and Hirsch Jacobs, the once dirt-poor trainer who bought the colt on the cheap and molded him into the most popular horse of his time and the richest racehorse the world had ever seen.
In the wake of World War II, as turmoil and chaos were giving way to a spirit of optimism, Americans were looking for inspiration and role models showing that it was possible to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top-and they found it in Stymie, the failed racehorse plucked from the discard heap by trainer Hirsch Jacobs. Like Stymie, Jacobs was a commoner in "The Sport of Kings," a dirt-poor Brooklyn city slicker who forged an unlikely career as racing's winningest trainer by buying cheap, unsound nags and magically transforming them into winners. The $1,500 pittance Jacobs paid to claim Stymie became history's biggest bargain as the ultimate iron horse went on to run a whopping 131 races and win 25 stakes, becoming the first Thoroughbred ever to earn more than $900,000. The Cinderella champion nicknamed "The People's Horse" captivated the masses with his rousing charge-from-behind stretch runs, his gritty blue-collar work ethic, and his rags-to-riches success story. In a golden age when horse racing rivaled baseball and boxing as America's most popular pastime, he was every bit as inspiring a sports hero as Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis.
Taking readers on a crowd-pleasing ride with Stymie and Jacobs, Out of the Clouds the winner of the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award unwinds a real-life Horatio Alger tale of a dauntless team and its working-class fans who lived vicariously through the stouthearted little colt they embraced as their own.
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About the Author
Veteran journalists Linda Carroll and David Rosner have collaborated on two acclaimed nonfiction booksThe Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic and, most recently, Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry.
Carroll is a Peabody Award-winning writer who covers health and medicine for NBC News. An accomplished equestrian, she brings more than thirty years of experience in breeding, training, and showing horses. She owns and operates Fiery Run Farm, where she has hands-on control of breeding and training her eighteen Arabian and Oldenburg sport horses.
Rosner has worked as a sportswriter at major metro newspapers and as an editor of national magazines. As a reporter at Newsday in New York, he earned national Associated Press Sports Editors Association awards for investigative reporting and deadline writing. In addition to his book collaborations with Carroll, he co-authored The Official Illustrated NHL History.
Table of Contents
Prologue: at First Sight 1
Chapter 1 "The Pigeon Man" 2
Chapter 2 From Pigeons to Platers 25
Chapter 3 Runyonesque 43
Chapter 4 The Odd Couple 65
Chapter 5 Staking His Claim 81
Chapter 6 King of the Claimers 95
Chapter 7 The Winningest Trainer Ever 114
Chapter 8 Quest for a Champion 134
Chapter 9 A Kingdom for a Horse 148
Chapter 10 Slow Starter 161
Chapter 11 Claim to Fame 174
Chapter 12 Warhorse 187
Chapter 13 Coming from Out of the Clouds 200
Chapter 14 "The People's Horse" 215
Chapter 15 Assault on the Record Book 226
Chapter 16 The Richest Racehorse Ever 238
Chapter 17 Striking Gold 245
Chapter 18 Consummate Closer 254
Chapter 19 The Empire That Stymie Built 268
Photo Credits 303