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Book Review: "American Classic Pedigrees (1914-2002)"

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


American Classic Pedigrees

American Classic Pedigrees by Avalyn Hunter

Eclipse Press

The Bottom Line

Recommended to anyone who wants a better understanding of where the Thoroughbred breed came from, how it has developed over the years, and what the future may hold.
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  • Excellent coverage of breeding history
  • "Decline of the breed" well documented
  • Invaluable reference tool


  • May not appeal to all fans of racing


  • Chapter 1 is "The Evolution of the American Classic Winner", but is more about the breed's evolution
  • This section will be useful to those worried about the perceived "decline of the breed" we see today
  • Chapter 2 is "The Evolution of the American Classics", which details how the Classics came to be.
  • Only the Belmont remains as one of the original American "Classics" deemed equivalent to the English
  • The Kentucky Derby was an also-ran until Col. Matt Winn promoted it into the spectacle it is today.
  • The other two races once considered clzssics have long since slipped into obscurity.
  • Chapter 3 is is "Theories of Breeding" and gives you the basics to understand the analyses to come
  • Nicking, inbreeding, line breeding, dosage, and female families are all covered.
  • These are all used in presenting what has worked to produce an American Classic winner.

Guide Review - Book Review: "American Classic Pedigrees (1914-2002)"

Impressive in both size and the quality of information, American Classic Pedigrees is a masterpiece of research. The majority of the book presents an analysis of the pedigrees and careers of the winners of the American Classic races (the Kentucky Derby, Preakness , and Belmont plus the Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks) from 1914 to 2002. Prior to delving into the pedigrees, the reader is given plenty of background information to set the stage. This book explains exactly how the Thoroughbred breed arrived at the state it is in today. The majority of the book is divided into chapters covering a decade of Classic winners each. It is easy to see the change in pedigree fashions over the years as you browse through the winners.
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