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The Kentucky Thoroughbred

The Kentucky Thoroughbred

Foreword by Edward L. Bowen
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Kentucky Thoroughbred
    Book Description:

    Kent Hollingsworth captures the flavor and atmosphere of the Sport of Kings in the dramatic account of the development of the Thoroughbred in Kentucky. Ranging from frontier days, when racing was conducted in open fields as horse-to-horse challenges between proud owners, to the present, when a potential Triple Crown champion may sell for millions of dollars, The Kentucky Thoroughbred considers ten outstanding stallions that dominated the shape of racing in their time as representing the many eras of Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding. No less colorful are his accounts of the owners, breeders, trainers, and jockeys associated with these Thoroughbreds, a group devoted to a sport filled with high adventure and great hazards.

    First published in 1976, this popular Kentucky classic has been expanded and brought up to date in this new edition.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-3337-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Edward L. Bowen

    The Kentucky Thoroughbredwas originally published in 1976 as part of what was aptly called the Kentucky Bicentennial Bookshelf. The series was prompted, of course, by the nationwide observation that two hundred years had passed since a group of determined traitors to one government got serious about creating a wondrous new one and thus began a transformation of their identity from rebels to patriots.

    The importance of the Thoroughbred horse in Kentucky’s economy, culture, and soul had abided through more than half of those twenty decades, and thus it was a proper subject for the University Press of Kentucky to...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    (pp. 1-11)

    Colonel Phil T. Chinn was the real article, a Kentucky Colonel in appearance, manner, and business profession, a player and layer in the game of racing for nearly eighty-eight years. He had a courtliness which charmed Lillian Russell, entranced customers of yearlings, awed creditors, and enthralled casual acquaintances.

    His father was Black Jack Chinn, noted in the legend and fact of Kentucky history as a prominent politician, race starter, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winner Leonatus, and chairman of the first Kentucky racing commission.

    Young Chinn was at old Washington Park when Snapper Garrison delayed the start of a race for...

    (pp. 12-32)

    Kentucky’s association with the Thoroughbred antedates its admission as a state, even its settlement, though the connection is admittedly tenuous. In 1750 the Loyal Land Company was formed at Charlottesville, Virginia, and secured a grant of 800,000 acres in the “district of Kentucke.” To get a line on what it had, the company sent out an exploring party headed by Dr. Thomas Walker, who found a gap through the mountains and a river which took his party farther into the wilderness beyond. He named all three—the gap, mountains, and river—after the Duke of Cumberland, son of King George...

    (pp. 33-54)

    A law of genetics requires a return to the norm, that is, above-average individuals will tend to reproduce something less than they were, closer to the average, while inferior individuals will tend to reproduce something better, again closer to the norm. Thus, selective breeding of Thoroughbreds, mating an exceptional sire with a good broodmare to produce a better racehorse, is against the law. Man has been working on this for several centuries, however, and in flagrant violation of this law has indeed improved the breed of Thoroughbreds.

    Today’s racehorses are considerably taller and finer, faster and hardier, on the average,...

    (pp. 55-73)

    Thoroughbred racing and breeding today is a distinct and important industry of significant social and economic impact in the United States. During 1973 more than $339 million in state tax revenue was generated by pari-mutuel wagering on 62,264 Thoroughbred races attended by more than 51 million persons. Thoroughbred racing now is conducted under state supervision in twenty-nine states where government agencies known as racing commissions grant licenses to race tracks and to participants in racing, allocate days as to when and where racing may be conducted, and promulgate racing rules with which all licensees must comply to participate.

    All the...

    (pp. 74-86)

    King of the Turf he was called. “Beyond question the most celebrated horse of the 1870s was Longfellow,” declared historian Walter S. Vosburgh. “No horse of his day was a greater object of public notice. His entire career was sensational; people seemed to regard him as a superhorse.”

    Uncle John Harper was as old as the century when he sent his grand race mare, Nantura, two miles down the pike to General Abe Buford’s Bosque Bonita Stud to be bred to “that English horse Buford’s so high on,” Leamington. Result of this mating was a big brown colt with a...

  11. Color illustrations
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 87-111)

    Young man, do you own that colt?”

    “That depends on whether you want to buy him or attach him,” replied John E. Madden.

    The stranger was thinking about buying. He clasped his hands behind his back and circled the horse, studying the colt which had just accomplished what no other two-year-old in Turf history had managed, carrying a monstrous burden of 135 pounds to victory in the important Great Eastern Stakes.

    “What’s your price?”

    Madden was preoccupied, checking his colt for cuts, feeling his ankles for heat, which might indicate a serious injury. “Fifty thousand dollars,” he said over his...

  13. MAN Oʹ WAR
    (pp. 112-130)

    Of all the great horses which have thundered over the American Turf, one towers above them all. “If I wanted him to walk, he wanted to jog,” said his trainer, Louis C. Feustel. “If I wanted him to jog, he wanted to gallop. No matter what I wanted, he wanted to go faster.”

    That was Man O’ War. His very name suggests strength, power. He was a superhorse, of greater dimensions than previous champions. He was taller than most horses, growing to 16.2 hands. He held his head higher than most horses, and this, together with an impatience with restraint,...

    (pp. 131-156)

    At the top, one is subject to chary criticism. Apparently, people do not want to recognize superlative performance without qualifying it, by noting some shortcoming. Yes, Jim Brown and O. J. Simpson could carry the ball, but they could not block. Yes, Bill Russell could block shots and rebound, but he could not score. Yes, Ted Williams could hit, but he could not field.

    Actually, Williams could play Fenway Park’s tricky outfield like nobody’s business; Russell could score anytime he thought his team needed him to shoot; and both Brown and Simpson probably could have been devastating blockers had their...

    (pp. 157-166)

    Henry clay was a racing man, who ran three times for the presidency of the United States. He placed twice, was out of the money once, and was on the also-eligible list several times during his forty years in the vortex of national politics.

    “I would rather be right, than President,” Clay rationalized. His political foes pointed out that he had no option on the matter, that he could be neither. He served, however, as Speaker of the House for thirteen years, as a senator from Kentucky for seventeen years, as secretary of state for four years, as a commissioner...

    (pp. 167-183)

    John henry was a steel-drivin’ man. The legendary Paul Bunyan of railroad construction crews, John Henry was challenged more than a century ago by a gang foreman with a new-fangled steam drill. At the time, blasting bores were drilled into rock by steel-driving men using long-handled, ten-pound sledge hammers. John Henry did not fool around with ordinary sledges—he wielded twenty-pounders, one in each mighty hand. The challenge is said to have been made during the building of the C & O’s Big Bend Tunnel in West Virginia. The whole crew got down bets, for while the steam drill had awesome...

  17. Index
    (pp. 184-197)