On the front page of the New York Times website yesterday was an interesting article on the massive challenges facing the horse racing industry.
Joe Drape’s article features a number of staggering statistics about the decline in the sport. One of the most eye-catching is the fact that the stud fee for Smarty Jones used to be $100,000 but is now just $10,000.
My family got out of the horse business about 15 years ago, but the sport was facing significant issues even then. The recent global economic collapse and banking problems have just added to the litany of woes.
If you start feeling horsie as you prepare for Saturday’s running of the 136th Kentucky Derby, be sure to check out two of my favorite books on the sport.
Stud: Adventures in Breeding by Kevin Conley provides a great introduction into the breeding of these fine athletes.
And John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son is a beautiful, literate, and thoughtful examination of the sport by a fine writer who wants to better understand his father.
Good luck with your bets on the Derby Saturday. But you can’t lose with either of these two books.