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An Introduction to the Thrill of Thoroughbred Racing
by Betsy Berns
Are you a new fan who is mystified by some of the terms you have heard used? Or perhaps you are a die-hard fan who has family and friends who can't understand your obsession? This nice little book is an excellent introduction to the world of Thoroughbred racing that can help. Written in an easy to digest style with lots of photos, interviews, cartoons, and fun facts, it makes the process of learning about racing fairly painless.
The book is broken down into furlongs, just like a race, and starts with general information about Thoroughbreds, a bit of history, and some background on breeding and training. You don't get overwhelmed with info, but get just enough to have an idea what is going on. Next you move on to information about types and classes of races and racecourses. This is followed by the people behind the scenes like the groom, track veterinarian, and race caller with some very interesting interviews.
The fourth furlong gets into the serious business of how to read the Daily Racing Form, understand equipment, some handicapping tips, and how to place a bet. You won't be an expert after reading all this, but at least the figures in the form will make sense and you won't feel lost if try to move onto a more advanced book about handicapping.
The fifth furlong is be the section that anyone from newbies to knowledgeable fans will enjoy as it devotes a chapter each to a day in the life of jockey Jerry Bailey, trainer Bob Baffert, and owner Barry Schwartz. These are each written from that person's point of view and are quite interesting.
The book winds down with some tips for enjoying your day at the races, how a huge Kentucky Derby party is thrown, an interview with a racing secretary, and some information on the big events including the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup. There is also a chapter on racing's legendary champions, which was interesting but cried out for some photographs to be included. At the end are two appendices with an excellent glossary and a directory of racetracks with address, phone number, and website included.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is new to racing and wants to learn more. I also think it would also make an excellent gift for a knowledgeable fan to give to his or her friends and family to help them understand why you love it. The price is quite reasonable at $9.95 list making it an excellent value for the money.
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