A few weeks ago I had the good news that my book Turning For Home was a semi-finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, honoring literary works featuring horse racing.
Well, now I have the very good news that my book is a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which can only mean one thing: we get to knock Keeneland off our racetrack bucket list.
I’ve been dreaming of visiting Keeneland in spring-time for years, because of photos like this:
Would you look at that tree? The cherry trees in Florida just wrapped up last week. They’re just green now. Flowering trees: expert at making beautiful green leaves completely boring.
Anyway, going to a book award reception is a very good excuse for a few days in horse country! We’ll be visiting Keeneland as well as Castleton Lyons, the farm which sponsors the book award. Castleton Lyons stands Gio Ponti and Justin Phillip at stud, so I’m hoping we’ll get a glimpse of both these lovely horses.
There are two other finalists for the book award, both about jockeys. One is Ride To Win–An Inside Look at the Jockey’s Craft, by Bob Fortus and Gary West. Two journalists, from the Times-Picayune and the Dallas Morning News, respectively, interviewed more than 50 jockeys to get inside their demanding lifestyles.
The other is Warriors on Horseback–The Inside Story of the Professional Jockey, by John Carter. Mr. Carter’s work includes several other racing titles, including First Past the Post: History of Horse Racing.
Both of these books sound like they’d be great references for anyone interested in writing about racing. I’m looking forward to picking them up and hopefully chatting with the authors!
And speaking of jockeys and writing, I just finished Mara Dabrishus‘s tremendous new novel, Finding Daylight, featuring a young lady jock named Georgie getting through her apprentice year and moving onto her journeyman status while trying to push through some very dysfunctional family history with the neighbors across the street. It’s also set in some of my favorite places: quite a lot takes place in Ocala, but the book also visits Belmont, Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, and yes, Kentucky.
Friends, this is a cancel-your-plans, stay-in-and-read-all-weekend kind of book. I’ll write a full review this week, but in the meantime, if you trust me, go and read it.