Pub. Date:
San Val
Rising Star

Rising Star

by Joanna Campbell

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Is Wonder‘s Star a has–been?

No one thought Wonder‘s Star would get well again 埥veryone was certain he would never run another race. The racing press was calling him a has–been.

But Christina Reese never gave up hope. Slowly and steadily she‘s been bringing Star back into racing condition. In her heart of hearts she still has Triple Crown dreams for them, but the Kentucky Derby is only a few months away and they‘re running out of time! Instead of starting with an easy local race, Christina enters Star in a tough Derby prep race, praying that he can withstand the gruelling pace. Is it too much, too soon? Or will Star shine like the champion that he is?

Ages 8+

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780613672221
Publisher: San Val
Publication date: 12/01/2003
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)
Age Range: 8 - 11 Years

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


The bell on the starting gate was stuck, and the din was horrific. Seventeen-year-old Christina Reese put her hands over her ears, trying to keep from being thrown like a rag doll from a madly plunging Wonder's Star, trapped in the chute at Churchill Downs. Couldn't anybody shut it off? What was wrong? Surely the Kentucky Derby wasn't going to be ruined for them by a stuck bell!

Oh, will the noisy thing never shut off?

Christina's eyes flew open, and within a few seconds recognition flooded through her. She was safe in her darkened bedroom at Whitebrook Farm, the Thoroughbred breeding and training operation her parents owned in Lexington, Kentucky. But the loud clamor continued, and it was coming from her cousin Melanie Graham's room. It was Melanie's alarm clock, Christina realized.

Leaping out of bed, Christina gasped as her bare feet hit the cold hardwood floor. Then she headed down the hall to Melanie's bedroom. Melanie was fast asleep, oblivious to the insistent sound emanating from her clock.

Christina shut off the alarm, and her eyes caught sight of the time. "Three-thirty?" she groaned. What was Melanie doing setting her alarm for three-thirty? While it was true that morning came early on a Thoroughbred farm, it certainly didn't start that early. It was still nighttime!

"Huh?" Melanie mumbled, sitting up in bed and blinking blearily. Her blond hair was sticking up all over the place. "'What was that awful racket? What are you doing in here, Chris?"

Christina glared at hercousin with her hands on her hips. "What are you doing setting your alarm to go off in the middle of the night?"

Melanie rubbed her eyes. "I didn't. Oh, yes, I did. I'm supposed to study for math. I was too tired last night. Big test today." She sat up and threw off her covers. "Brrr!" she said, pulling them up to her chin once more. "On second thought, forget the test. Oh, shoot. I can't forget the test. I have a D in math."

Christina sighed heavily. Melanie definitely wasn't a serious student. Always procrastinating, she was barely passing any of her classes. Only the week before, Melanie's dad had called to threaten to ground Melanie from racing if her grades didn't improve.

"Oh, Melanie, how can you possibly study at this hour?" Christina asked, yawning.

"I don't have any choice," her cousin answered grimly. "I was going to study last night. Really, I was. But then Jazz called from Los Angeles, and we were having such a good conversation. Before I knew it, it was too late to hit the books."

Christina smiled. Melanie acted as though she didn't care one bit about Jazz Taylor, the rock star who shared the ownership of Melanie's favorite racehorse, Perfect Image, with Will Graham, Melanie's father. But Christina knew Melanie wouldn't spend one minute on the phone with any guy she didn't have some feelings for.

"I think you'd be better off getting some sleep and faking it," Christina suggested, seeing how tired Melanie looked. "You don't care that much about your grades anyway."

Melanie snorted. "I wish. I totally bombed the last test. I really can't afford to blow this one, too."

She sat up, switched on the lamp on her nightstand, and grabbed her math book. "Sorry I woke you up, Chris. You can go back to bed. Don't worry about me. I'm going to study until you wake up again. I'm determined to ace this test."

Christina didn't need any urging. She padded back to her room and flopped back down on her bed, but it was no use. She was awake for good. There was no way she could go back to sleep. She found herself thinking about the interview she was going to give later that day with a reporter from the Daily Racing Form. When her mom had first mentioned the interview featuring her horse, Wonder's Star, Christina had been reluctant. But then she had decided that now was as good a time as any to tell the world about Star's incredible comeback.

It was truly amazing how well Star had done in the past few months, since an undiagnosed illness had nearly taken his life. It had happened at the Belmont track. Another horse stabled nearby had first contracted the disease and shortly thereafter had died of it. Star first showed signs of the illness during a race. He had barely made it across the finish line, well behind the other contenders. He had gone downhill immediately after that and had been returned to Whitebrook. His symptoms had gotten dramatically worse until it looked as though there was no way he was going to pull through.

After weeks of twenty-four-hour care and neverending worry, Star had made a miraculous recovery from the mysterious ailment. But that hadn't been the end of his and Christina's troubles. Somewhere along the way something had happened to the trust that the two of them had built over the years. Star was misbehaving, and Christina could no longer communicate with him. It had taken a trip to Montana and several hard lessons with Christina"s talented friend Lyssa Hynde to reestablish the all-important bond between horse and rider.

Lyssa, who competed against Christina's boyfriend, Parker Townsend, in combined training, had taught Christina the Native American horsemanship techniques that had helped make things right with Star again. With Lyssa's help, Christina had managed to overcome her own stubbornness and learned to talk to Star in a way that he could understand and trust. Christina learned that Star had to trust her leadership or they would never work well together.

Thoroughbred #49: Rising Star. Copyright © by Joanna Campbell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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