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Product Summary
Horse Racing's Holy Grail: The Epic Quest for the Kentucky Derby
by Steve Haskin

 
Guide Rating -  
Pros  •  the people of the Derby - trainers, owners, and jockeys - and their winning formulas are outlined well
•  excellent lesson on Derby winner angles - what signs to look for to indicate contender or pretender
•  recent history, 1980s through to the present, well covered
Cons  •  history of the Derby pre-1980 given cursory treatment
•  chapters on Derby Week appeared to be filler, a humor piece where the joke gets old fast
•  the print is large, the text is double-spaced, and the margins are large relative to the size of the pages
•  many full and half page photographs, all black and white, add to the illusion of a thicker book than it should have been
 
The Bottom Line - Recommended for new fans wanting to learn some recent Derby history or planning to bet the Derby.

 
Product Description
 A different title would have been more appropriate as the title suggests a history book which it is not trying to be. The reader learns a lot of Derby winner angles and about the winning and losing trainers, owners, and jockeys.  
 
Guide Review
Horse Racing's Holy Grail: The Epic Quest for the Kentucky Derby
by Steve Haskin


Well-known turf writer Steve Haskin's latest effort is a collection of articles on various aspects of the Derby and how difficult it is to win as an owner, trainer, jockey, or bettor. The book attempts to appeal to too broad an audience and so, unfortunately, it falls short for many people. It focuses too much on recent Derby history, despite the fact that this "epic quest" has been going on for some 128 years. For the bettor looking for angles on picking the Derby winner, Chapters 9 and 10, "Exposing the Myths" and "Etched in Stone", are recommended reading. You learn to recognize a winning owner or trainer by his words and actions plus you get his "Ten Commandments of the Derby" which quickly weeds out the pretenders and a short yet useful lesson on dosage. Fans of big-name trainers will enjoy "The Derby Dynamo", a chapter dedicated to the three winningest Derby trainers in recent history: D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert, and Nick Zito. All three are successful, but their methods are worlds apart. The chapter immediately preceding it, "The Men From The Boys", describes their less-successful competition and makes for a very interesting contrast, giving the reader a lesson in what works and what doesn't. Despite being 221 pages, the book can easily be read in a couple of hours.

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