Synopses & Reviews
A new superstar appeared on the American sports landscape in the spring of 2006: Barbaro, a three-year-old racehorse, won the Kentucky Derby by six and a half lengths, the largest margin of victory in sixty years. Barbaro's impressive performance immediately stirred talk of a possible Triple Crown. But in the opening yards of the Preakness Stakes two weeks later, the horse suffered a catastrophic leg injury that ended his undefeated career and left him fighting for his life.
Edgar Prado, a native of Peru and one of the world's top jockeys, rode Barbaro to glory and then stood beside him for months as the horse valiantly struggled to survive and millions of fans held their breath. Having ridden in more than twenty-five thousand races over the previous two decades, Prado thought he had been around too long to fall for any one horse, but Barbaro—intelligent, charismatic, and resourceful in sickness as well as in health—stole his heart.
In My Guy Barbaro, Prado recounts his own story, a tale of grit and dreams that moves from his impoverished childhood in Lima, Peru, to the winner's circles of the greatest racetracks in the world, and memorably chronicles his emotional time with Barbaro before, during, and after the horse's breakdown. Their bond was special and immeasurable. With Prado still reeling from a wrenching personal loss, Barbaro lifted his spirits by giving him “the ride of a lifetime” in the Derby. When the tables turned and the horse needed support two weeks later, Prado was there, going out of his way to make a succession of visits to the New Bolton Center, the animal hospital in Pennsylvania where Barbaro underwent more than two dozen surgeries and was ultimately put down.
Barbaro made worldwide headlines for eight months, and now Prado's poignant, clear-eyed narrative takes us where no reader has gone before—onto Barbaro's back in the heat of a race and into the intensive care suite where Barbaro's life-and-death drama played itself out. My Guy Barbaro is a heartwarming, unforgettable story of a man and his love for a beautiful animal and an irreplaceable teammate.
"In a straightforward narration, Prado (with journalist Eisenberg) relates the brief, poignant story of Barbaro's rise and fall. One of the most successful jockeys in history, Prado sensed Barbaro's special qualities during a race in Maryland. After going undefeated in their first three races together, Prado and Barbaro shared an easy 2006 Kentucky Derby victory that positioned Barbaro to win the Triple Crown. Disaster struck at the Preakness, however, when Barbaro shattered a leg into more than two dozen pieces just out of the gate. His struggle for survival was avidly covered by the media and made the horse a national hero. Sadly, after a prolonged struggle and multiple surgeries, Barbaro had to be put down. Prado's matter-of-fact presentation is most successful when he's describing the routines and rituals and his own intense work habits. His journey from a one-room house in Lima, Peru which he shared with his parents and 10 brothers and sisters to a place at the top of his profession is fascinating in its own right. Out of necessity, jockeys try not to get attached to particular horses, but the loss of his mother just before the Kentucky Derby made Prado particularly sensitive to Barbaro's plight." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Edgar Prados unadorned prose beautifully captures the trajectory of two lives: his own and that of the horse he would come to describe as a ‘friend, teammate and hero. After reading this book, it is difficult to predict who you will love more: Prado or his beloved mount, Barbaro.” Susan Richards, New York Times bestselling author of CHOSEN BY A HORSE Susan Richards, New York Times bestselling author of CHOSEN BY A HORSE
“Told firsthand by Edgar Prado, the hardest-working jockey in the game, My Guy Barbaro takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride that will make you feel like you were there with Barbaro every step of the way. I couldnt put this book down.” Gary Stevens, three-time Kentucky Derby Winning Hall of Fame Jockey, NBC Sports Analyst
“This inside look at how a racehorse and jockey communicate and care for each other is at once heartbreaking and harrowing; it chronicles the relationship of two of the sports most compelling figures -- Barbaro and Prado. Their tale is wonderfully told, and makes you understand why people love horses.” Joe Drape, author of BLACK MAESTRO and THE RACE FOR THE TRIPLE CROWN
“Barbaro was one tough horse - winning the Kentucky Derby by 6 1/2 lengths. But it was his courageous, ultimately futile battle after a horrific leg injury in the Preakness that really captured the nation. Veteran jockey Prado touchingly takes readers inside racing and his bond with Barbaro.” New York Post
“A moving testament to the power a sport can have on both its fans and its participants.” American Way
About the Author
Edgar Prado is one of the world's premier jockeys. In February 2008, he became the sixteenth North American jockey to win six thousand races. Later that year he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. Born in Lima, Peru, Prado now splits his time between Hollywood, Florida, and Elmont, New York.
John Eisenberg is a former sports columnist for the Baltimore Sun and is the author of six books, including the acclaimed Native Dancer and The Great Match Race. He lives in Baltimore.