Six of the Most Popular Horse Racing Books

If you are a fan of horse racing, but books tend to be a little more your pace than movies- then you should most certainly check these titles to learn more about the sport and it’s wide and varied history. Nothing beats a hot cup of tea and a good book on a Sunday afternoon. Here are ix suggestions for the horseracing fanatic!

A Year at the Races by Jane Smiley: Janey Smiley is a Pulitzer award winning novelist best known for titles such as A Thousand Acres and Moo.  In the nonfiction book, A Year at the Races, Smiley chronicles her lifelong love affair with horses. In the book, Smiley details what she personally finds most interesting-not the intrigue between owners and jockeys or the high stakes betting, for her it is about the secrets that lie within the horses.

51rt58k2OfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Black Maestro: ‘The Epic Life of an American Legend” by Joe Drape: This book is a non-fiction masterpiece about Jimmy Winkfield, the last black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. He was the seventeenth child of Kentucky sharecroppers. Beyond his horseracing career, Winkfield also survived encounters with the Ku Klux Klan, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the Nazis. He died a wealthy landowner in a French Château. Beyond the in depth tales of horse racing in the book, it is worth checking out to learn about Winkfield’s fascinating character and troublous life.

Frankie: The Autobiography of Frankie Detorri by Frankie Detorri: An autobiography written by Frankie, he details his life from his childhood in the stables rising to champion British jockey.  In case you didn’t know, Frankie Detorri is a millionaire champion jockey with a “charismatic personality, easy charm and immaculate dress sense”. He is a celebrity within his country, a popular figure on British talk shows, and a fascinating life story full of drama, passion, and experiences on every side of the spectrum.

The Great Match Race: When North Met South in America’s First Sports Spectacle by John Eisenberg: This book set in the 1800’s is a fast paced narrative detailing some of the very first sporting experiences in the United States (unless you count cockfighting, chasing foxes, or hunting stags).  After a horse race at Union Course on Long Island in 1823, the nature of sporting events in America was changed forever. Nearly half the population of New York City at the time attended this race where two horses- the best one from the North and the best one from the South- battled it out in three races over the course of a couple of hours.

Beyer on Speed: New Strategies for Racetrack Betting by Andrew Beyer: This 51KS17XK8FL._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_book, which was published in 2007, is a how to on the best practices for horseracing. Any person who is actively who is involved in horse betting or aspires to take up the hobby should check out this how to manual of practical advice.

 Beyer explains to the reader how to use his Beyer Speed Figures as the focal point of a strategy to pursue profits by “relating speed figures to pace, track bias, and track conditions”.  If you are seriously interested in the horseracing beyond the casual fan, then you cannot miss this book.

Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took on the Sheiks and the Bluebloods…and Won” by Sally Jenkins:  This book has been described as the “new American classic for the underdog in all of us”. The story explores the true story of the horse Funny Cide who captured America’s heart in 2003 during a time war and economic downfall. The ten person Funny Cide team shouldn’t have been at the race, they didn’t belong there.

They were up against million dollar horses owned by oilmen, Hollywood producers, and Arab Shieks. And someone, this group of ten regular guys won the Triple Crown against all odds flinging Funny Cide to the top of the charts as a media sensation and an American hero.

Growing up in Louisville, it was hard for me to escape all things horse racing. With a father who made it his yearly tradition to go out and bet on the Kentucky Derby and his weekly tradition to sip on some honey and bourbon, play the guitar and talk about all of the horse races happening throughout the year with his drinking buddies, I grew up with the talk of horse racing in my blood. This tradition and culture has followed me in to my thirties.