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Book Reviews
Breeders' Cup: Thoroughbred Racing's Championship Day

by Jay Privman with foreword by Bill Shoemaker

Whether or not you have the 1996 Breeders' Cup book, you will definitely want to get this one for your library. The book is massive at 10"x12", with a padded leather binding under the gorgeous slick finished dust cover. Picking it up, you just think quality. It is 208 pages long and contains over 300 beautiful color photos plus an appendix with stats on all the runnings through 1999 and an index of all the horses discussed and pictured. While not every winner has a picture, you will find most of your favorites pictured in large-size vibrant color photos, some spreading across two pages.

While to me the pictures were worth the price of the book, there is actually text worth reading in it too. There is a nice foreword from retired jockey Bill Shoemaker on the spirit of the Breeders' Cup and his experiences riding. The rest of the book is written by Daily Racing Form correspondent and TV commentator Jay Privman, who has been to every Breeders' Cup since the inaugural running at Hollywood Park in 1984. He breaks the book down into several broad sections:

  • History - which includes interviews and more about how the event was created
  • Revolution - about the changes the event has made to the sport
  • The Players - this is the best part of the book to me where you get to see in words and pictures the great horses and people who have given us so much pleasure during the first 16 years of the series
    • Campaign of Champagne - horses who ended a Horse of the Year campaign by winning on Breeders' Cup Championship Day
    • At the Wire - great finishes
    • Dominating - horses who just crushed their competition
    • Warriors - multiple winners and gutty performances
    • Shockers - huge upsets and longshot winners
    • Across the Pond - European runners
    • The Fabulous Five - the author's picks for the five best performances. This is where you may disagree somewhat as he picks: Sunday Silence vs. Easy Goer, Personal Ensign, Alysheba, Arazi, and Pat Day (no specific race, just in general).
  • The Future - directions for the future including the partnership with NTRA
  • Appendix and Statistics - top owners, trainers, and jockeys plus results for all the Breeders' Cup Championship races run so far
Throughout each section of the book you have tons of pictures, at least one on every page, to complement the text. They are all high quality with execellent detail and a joy to look at. One of my favorites would have to be the gorgeous two-page photo of Lure at the beginning of the Warriors section, 20"x12" of him stretched out and driving for the wire.

You can get a preview of the book and a few of the photos at a special website made just for this book and compare prices at mySimon. .

If you love horse racing, this is definitely a book you should add to your library.

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