“I was beginning to believe that I was never going to see a horse capture the Triple Crown,” writes New York Times sportswriter Joe Drape. Lucky for him—and us—he watched the rise of American Pharoah, the most important thoroughbred in modern history who, last June, became the first racehorse in thirty-seven years to win the Triple Crown. Through in-the-moment reporting plus interviews with the horse’s owner, trainer, and jockey, Drape takes the reader behind the gate for the inside story of American Pharoah’s climb, and to the track for every dust-flying, crowd-roaring minute.
The Sport of Kings
By C. E. Morgan
Expect this novel to show up in many summer reading lists and book clubs. It’s a piece of Southern gothic fiction with horses at the heart. Author C. E. Morgan sets the story in her resident state of Kentucky, and winds through generations of a Bluegrass family’s obsession with horses, their homeland, and the moral questions that will determine their fates.
Folks today wouldn’t recognize the subdued 1918 Kentucky Derby. With thousands of young men deployed overseas, women skipped wearing ornate hats, and many Americans thought the race was ostentatious for a country at war. So when a long-shot American horse by the name of Exterminator bolted past his 30-1 odds—and foreign-born colts—to win the Run for the Roses, it provided a much-needed jolt of energy and patriotism. Exterminator’s come-from-behind story captured hearts (and still-standing records, such as 33 stakes wins by a North American thoroughbred) as told in this deeply researched profile.
The Kentucky Derby
By Bill Doolittle
One of the historians behind the creation of the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Bill Doolittle had plenty of material to choose from when he compiled this coffee-table tome on the past and present of the greatest two minutes in sports. The book gathers archival photos, interviews, essays, and trivia together with dozens of full-color photographs that will make you the most in-the-know spectator at this year’s party.