Kentucky Derby Dreams: The Making of Thoroughbred Champions by Susan Nusser
Release date: 2012 / 288 pages
Synopsis (from Amazon.com): Author Susan Nusser takes readers inside the excitement and suspense at one of Kentucky’s biggest breeding farms. Every year, two hundred broodmares in the farm’s barns give birth to the next generation of racehorses. In the eighteen months following their births, those foals will meet the world’s 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. 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.
Review: Even horse lovers who are ambivalent about racing will love reading about how foals spend the first two years of their lives in Susan Nusser’s Kentucky Derby Dreams, which starts at 7 a.m. on February 12, 2009 at the height of foaling season–illustrating those first few moments before and after a mare gives birth–and ends a year and a half later, at a sale where the youngsters will meet their new owners and become elite athletes.
Joe Taylor started Taylor Made ranch; now, thirty years later, four of his sons have turned a respected family business into a leading influence in horse management and sales practices. However, the real pleasure of reading Kentucky Derby Dreams is in getting to know the horses and experiencing what’s involved in keeping them healthy and happy. Nusser addresses the more controversial aspects of Thoroughbred racing, too — many believe the recent tragic injuries are a result of the industry’s shift from racing to the more lucrative breeding. Young horses are therefore raced less frequently, to avoid incurring losses that could impact their value, and as a result are trained less rigorously, left unprepared for the strain racing places on their bodies.
But the Taylors are not involved in the training and racing aspects of the industry. Their focus is on breeding sound, healthy horses that could one day become the next Derby champion. Reading about the Taylors’ dedication to Thoroughbred horses is nearly as exciting as watching one cross the finish line.
Thank you to Shelf Awareness for asking me to read and review this!