Synopses & Reviews
Author Susan Nusser takes readers inside the excitement and suspense at one of Kentuckys biggest breeding farms. Every year, two hundred broodmares in the farms barns give birth to the next generation of racehorses. In the eighteen months following their births, those foals will meet the worlds most skilled and knowledgeable horsemen — from grooms to veterinary orthopedists — who will shape them in to the kinds of yearlings that attract the attention of the sheikhs, moguls, and magnates who prowl the yearling sales, hunting for their next Derby winner.
From the carefully calculated birth of the new crop of foals to the horses' debut at the worlds premier yearling sale in Lexington, Kentucky, this is a rare behind-the-scenes look at the vets, the surgeries, the long hours, and the hard work that it takes to breed a Derby hopeful. Kentucky Derby Dreams follows the lives of foals born during the 2009 foaling season and uncovers the inside drama and heartache that accompany these potential champions from the foaling barn to the sales ring. Compelling, fascinating, and fast-paced, this is a must read for anyone whos ever watched the Kentucky Derby.
"In Nusser's meticulously researched, if occasionally arcane, newest (after In Service to the Horse), the author follows seven Thoroughbred horses born during the 2009 'foaling season' on the Taylor Made farm, 'Kentucky's leading consignor of Thoroughbred yearlings' for the last sixteen years. In an industry long-ruled by bluebloods, the Taylors are 'upstarts and outsiders--' a charming brood of Irish Catholic brothers who, as one puts it, simply 'have to pay the bills.' And boy do they manage to pay the bills: Taylor Made farm has 'grossed over a billion dollars in sales sold three hundred graded stakes winners, including twelve Breeders' Cup champions.' Details of horse-care are relayed in unrelenting detail, from elaborate breeding procedures (e.g., the ovulation cycles of 'broodmares' are predicted and regulated with hormones, valuable stallions are scheduled for breeding down to the half-day, ultrasounds and a panoply of diagnostics are performed, and so on) to readying the horses for the big annual yearling sale in Lexington. The book is jam-packed with the nitty-gritty, which unfortunately derails a larger compelling narrative. This, along with lengthy discussions of hoof-size and unexplained jargon ('a touch parrot-mouthed?'), risks alienating amateurs, though equestrians and equine enthusiasts will likely feel right at home. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A journalistic tour de force, perhaps the best nonfiction ever penned about the troubled horse business.”
--Jim Squires, author of Headless Horseman
“Reading Nussers book is tantamount to visiting horse country and never wanting to leave. Its a well-written, superbly researched narrative that will enlighten every reader and perhaps bring more people into the irresistible yet hard-driving world of breeding, training, and racing horses.”
--Ann Hagedorn Auerbach, author of Wild Ride
“Once again, Susan Nusser proves her writing skills, perception of human nature, and depth of equine knowledge…Nusser vividly recounts the daily human efforts and emotion that combine the create a perfect racehorse… Entertaining and thoughtful.”
--Sandra L. Olsen, Ph.D, Head of Anthropology, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
From the foal barn to the racetrack, this book captures for the first time the behind-the-scenes drama of raising Kentucky Derby hopefuls From Seabiscuit to Secretariat, Americans have a fascination with and a passion for race horses. Kentucky Derby Dreams is the first book of its kind to capture that excitement before history is made. From the carefully calculated birth of the new crop of foals to the horses' debut at the worlds premier yearling sale in Lexington, Kentucky, this is a rare behind-the-scenes look at the vets, the drugs, the surgeries, the long hours, and the hard work that it takes to breed a Derby winner. By following three years in the lives of foals born during one week of the 2009 foaling season, Kentucky Derby Dreams uncovers all the inside drama and heartache that accompany these potential champions from the foaling barn to the bluegrass.
About the Author
SUSAN NUSSER is the author of In Service to the Horse, about the relationship between professional grooms and their horses, which was a Booksense Sports and Hobbies bestseller. She has written about both animals and the environment for Milwaukee Magazine and is on the faculty of Carroll College. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.