American Pharoah

The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise


By Joe Drape

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History was made at the 2015 Belmont Stakes when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, the first since Affirmed in 1978. As magnificent as the champion is, the team behind him has been all too human while on the road to immortality.

Written by an award-winning New York Times sportswriter, American Pharoah is the definitive account not only of how the ethereal colt won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, but how he changed lives. Through extensive interviews, Drape explores the making of an exceptional racehorse, chronicling key events en route to history. Covering everything from the flamboyant owner’s successful track record, the jockey’s earlier heartbreaking losses, and the Hall of Fame trainer’s intensity, Drape paints a stirring portrait of a horse for the ages and the people around him.


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I was beginning to believe that I was never going to see a horse capture the Triple Crown. I was kid in the 1970s when Affirmed, Seattle Slew, and Secretariat made sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes look easy. I was merely a fan then, one who was soon to be transformed into a horseplayer. My father taught me how to read the Daily Racing Form, and my mother loved horses and spending an afternoon at the track.

As my career as a journalist progressed and took me on assignments across the country and even the world, I found myself with a lot of downtime. So I went, and still go, to racetracks—at last count, more than ninety in seven countries. They range from a bush track in Rayne, Louisiana, where Cajun farmers race quarter horses and Thoroughbreds for as little as $300, to Royal Ascot, Queen Elizabeth II's track not too far from Windsor Castle in the English countryside. There's the challenge of puzzling over a horse's past performances and deciding if this is his day to win. There is the camaraderie and cockeyed optimism of horseplayers chasing a score. Best of all are the horses—lovely creatures that take my breath away when their strides stretch out effortlessly with their feet barely touching the ground.

Long before I wrote about race horses, I owned them, which helped me appreciate the great costs, great responsibility, and great thrill that come with being part of the sport. Horses are athletes, spectacular ones, and depend on their grooms, trainers, and owners to do right by them. Sometimes that is easier said than done and, as a result, a great deal of my work has focused on what is wrong with what can be a beautiful sport.

Over the past two decades covering horse racing, however, I have never stopped wanting to see a great horse up close, a Triple Crown champion. On seven previous occasions, I have spent a Saturday afternoon in June at Belmont Park hoping that by day's end I would be writing the first draft of history (as journalism is called) about America's twelfth Triple Crown champion. I was heartbroken the first couple of times but eventually learned to manage my expectations.

If I thought the quest for a Triple Crown was futile, what could casual sports fans have possibly thought after thirty-seven years without the sweep successfully competed?

We found out on June 6, 2015, when Victor Espinoza and American Pharoah hit the stretch of that grand old racetrack on Long Island in total command of the Belmont Stakes. Words really cannot summarize the sheer joy and the volume of the noise in which the duo were greeted. It was soul quaking. I've been to Olympics and Super Bowls, World Series and NCAA championships and every kind of sporting event in between, but never have I experienced this kind of communal celebration.

Every single person in attendance wanted the same thing. We wanted American Pharoah to win, to achieve something most thought impossible. We wanted to be able to say that we were there when a great horse made history.

He did, and we can.



March 3, 2011

It took them a while to get Littleprincessemma ready for her date. She was bathed first and then her tail was wrapped in gauze to keep it out of the way. A leather apron, or bite shield, was hung on her neck to protect her from the nibbles and rough nuzzles of her soon-to-be lover. A pair of booties, filled with down and pads, was slipped on her back hooves to soften any kicks aimed at her companion. The moment a mare and stallion meet in the breeding shed to do what comes natural to them is often as violent as it is brief.

On the morning of March 3, 2011, the lucky stud was a horse named Pioneerof the Nile, who not long ago was a talented enough racehorse to win five of his ten starts and earn more than $1.6 million in purses. In fact, he was good enough two springs before to place second in the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby—a result that both teased and tormented his owner, Ahmed Zayat. While Pioneerof the Nile's loss by a length suggested he had the pedigree to become a blue chip, moneymaking stallion, a loss is still a loss and this one was especially painful because it kept Zayat out of the winner's circle of America's greatest race.

For now, however, Pioneerof the Nile was a cheap date, commanding only $15,000 per breeding, and his calendar was hardly full. This was only his second season in the breeding shed, and his offspring were two years away from hitting the racetrack and demonstrating whether they were runners or not.

Littleprincessemma was one of ninety-one mares he was covering this season, or about a third of what the nation's leading sire, Distorted Humor, was doing at WinStar Farm over in Woodford County. In fact, for Zayat, it was pretty much a free date. He owned Littleprincessemma, whom he named for his youngest daughter, Emma. He had bred and raced Pioneerof the Nile before selling 30 percent of his stallion rights to the Vinery, one of the hundreds of horse farms here in the Bluegrass state that had earned Kentucky its reputation as the Bethlehem of the American Thoroughbred.

The Egyptian-born industrialist had made his fortune selling beer and wine to Muslims and was rapidly investing it here in the horse business. He had recently settled a bitter, costly, and public bankruptcy fight with Fifth Third Bank of Cincinnati, which said he had defaulted on $34 million of loans they made to his racing business, Zayat Stables.

He needed cash and was paring down a stable that at one time numbered 250 horses. He had sold the Vinery its 30 percent share of Pioneerof the Nile for $1.3 million, and in 2010, he sold a more significant percentage of breeding rights of a colt named Eskendereya to Stonestreet Farms for more than $7 million. Shares in stallions were valuable commodities: Pioneerof the Nile may have commanded only $15,000 now per mating but that number could grow exponentially if his offspring started to consistently win big races.

Zayat was hardly alone feeling the squeeze in the horse business. The 2008 recession sent the Thoroughbred industry, along with everything else, into a free fall. Some of the same dynamics that brought down subprime mortgages had gutted the horse business: no-money-down lending and a breeding and sales market based on the assumption of ever-rising prices.

It meant that too many horses were bred, too much money was borrowed to breed them, and now too many people were trying to sell a surplus of horses to people who didn't want them. In short, horsemen (as Thoroughbred breeders and owners fancy themselves) had bet their farms and were losing them.

Now there were more than 300 farms for sale, a 50 percent increase over the previous year, in the four counties that make up horse country in Kentucky: Fayette, Woodford, Bourbon, and Scott.

The banks had bailed out on the industry as well: loans to breed and buy horses had dropped 60 percent to about $400 million from an estimated $1 billion in 2007. The tight credit took its toll—the number of mares bred nationally, like Littleprincessemma, had dropped 35 percent, and the number of stallions standing stud, like Pioneerof the Nile, had fallen by nearly 40 percent.

Horseplayers, the gamblers who are the lifeblood of the sport, were keeping their money in their pockets, too. The North American handle, or amount bet on races, was $11.1 billion, down 30 percent from the $15.4 billion wagered in 2007.

These were scary times, but it mattered little on the March morning Pioneerof the Nile sauntered into the breeding shed at the Vinery for his appointment with Littleprincessemma.

It was spring in the Bluegrass—the most hopeful time of the year for breeders and owners. It was the time when a brief, often expensive, interlude between a mare and a stallion might create a home-run horse. The kind of foal that, four springs from now, might run away with the Kentucky Derby, prevail in the Preakness Stakes, and capture the Belmont Stakes to sweep the three classic races that make up American horse racing's Triple Crown.

Only eleven horses had previously managed to capture Thoroughbred racing's Holy Grail and the last, Affirmed, did so more than three decades ago in 1978. Why so few?

Theories abound but the bottom line is that it takes an exceptional horse and a fair amount of good fortune to navigate a twenty-horse field throughout the mile-and-a-quarter Kentucky Derby course, a distance few are bred for.

In addition, the Derby winner must travel to Baltimore after the toughest race of his life and with only two weeks' rest and defeat another dozen or so—many of them fresh challengers—in the Preakness Stakes, a mile-and-three-sixteenths race.

Finally, three weeks later in New York, the Derby and Preakness champ must pass the "Test of the Champion," as the Belmont Stakes is known, a grueling mile-and-a-half marathon against a field of fresh, accomplished horses—the top finishers from the Derby who have had five weeks of rest as well as a new cast of accomplished rivals that haven't been chewed up on the road to the Triple Crown.

In short, three cities, three tracks, three of the longest distances that horses will ever run are compressed into a five-week schedule.

This pursuit of history begins with each breeding season in barns like this one, with their polished mahogany stalls and shiny brass fittings and rubberized floors. Even if Zayat, or the multitudes of dreamers like him, were unable to conjure up visions of a historic horse, a fast, pedigreed one that was able to pass that trait on to babies would do just fine.

Better perhaps than breeding Triple Crown champs like Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed was coming up with the next Storm Cat. He had been more than a home-run horse. He'd been a jackpot horse.

Storm Cat was modestly talented on the racetrack but a legend in the breeding shed. In his peak breeding years, he commanded $500,000 per mating—an act that he performed up to 150 times or more a year.

On the racetrack, he won four of his eight starts, including the Young America Stakes, a Grade 1 or top-rated race. However, in the 1985 Breeders' Cup Juvenile championship, Storm Cat suffered a chipped knee, finishing second to a rival named Tasso. He was never the same on the racetrack and was retired after two more races.

Those are not the results he is remembered by, though. Instead, Storm Cat is revered for his million-dollar pedigree, which continued to throw off hundreds of millions in cash long after he was retired from stallion duties in 2008 at age twenty-five.

Storm Cat came from rich blood. His grandfather, the Canadian-bred champion Northern Dancer, had earned $1 million per mating from 1984 through 1987, and his mother, Terlingua, was a daughter of Secretariat. Over more than twenty years, Storm Cat passed on that class and speed, siring 8 champions and 801 winners, 180 of them worldwide stakes winners that altogether earned more than $128 million in purses.

What he did for the breeding business was even more impressive. Storm Cat's offspring strode through the sales rings like royalty, and rich people lost their heads and often their money. In 2004, a Storm Colt son sold for $8 million; the following year, another one sold for $9.7 million.

In 2009, when Storm Cat's last crop went through the auction ring at the prestigious Keeneland September Yearling Sale in Lexington, Kentucky, the recession was in full bloom, but one of his colts was the sales topper, at $2.05 million.

This colt did not pan out in the breeding shed, but plenty more did—nearly a dozen are now stallions, including one of the world's leading sires, Giant's Causeway, who was already flirting with a $100,000 stud fee.

It was this search for your very own equine ATM machine that was responsible for 100,000 jobs—at racetracks, tack shops, vet hospitals, sales companies, and so on—and more than $4 billion in economic impact that made the Bluegrass the cornerstone of Kentucky's $8.8 billion tourism trade.

Horse racing earned its appellation as the Sport of Kings in Europe, but it is America's oldest sport and one that initially appealed to a nation struggling for freedom and independence, a nation that was painfully aware of how hard both were to achieve.

It is a pastime based on competition—my horse is faster than yours. Even better, it invited gambling, another quintessential American pursuit. Like it or not, horse racing is part of the American character. It predates baseball and is the only sport that was ever conducted out of the White House. In the early 1800s, President Andrew Jackson ran a stable from there.

Here in the Bluegrass, any decline the sport was suffering was ignored while the business of building a faster racehorse was left mostly to an international cast of millionaires and billionaires rather than old line royalty. For example:

• Vinery Farms belonged to Tom Simon, a former corporate law attorney in Germany, who also owned part of a Thoroughbred operation in Australia.

• Graham and Antony Beck, South African winemakers, operated Gainesway.

• Juddmonte Farms belonged to members of the royal family of Saudi Arabia while Darley America was owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

• Ashford Stud was the American arm of Coolmore, the Irish-based breeding and racing operation headed by a pair of Irish horsemen and an English gambler and former bookmaker.

• Lane's End Farm was the domain of William S. Farish, a Texas oilman who was appointed by President George W. Bush as the United States ambassador to the Court of St. James.

• WinStar Farm was the vision of Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, a Texas-based telecommunications company that used multilevel marketing to pile up a fortune in long-distance phone service.

For centuries, horsemen have leaned on an axiom to characterize a process that is more art than science and is largely dependent on good fortune:

"Breed the best to the best and hope for the best."

It is the heart and soul of the Thoroughbred business: Breeders try to engineer how far and how fast future horses will run by deciphering the bloodlines of generations past. They attempt to create a blue-chip stock that someone wants to own. They know it is as volatile as an Internet start-up and as unpredictable as Hollywood's box office.

Still, they try.

Zayat was among the newest members of this tribe of alchemists. He was not in the breeding shed for Littleprincessemma's assignation with Pioneerof the Nile, but he had more than a hand in what was about to happen.

Besides the fact that he owned both of them, Zayat knew the bloodlines each possessed were potentially blockbuster and would mean the future foal would have as many as eight classic winners in the first five generations of his or her ancestry.

The sire of Pioneerof the Nile, Empire Maker, won the 2003 Belmont Stakes and was successfully passing this stamina down to his offspring as a stallion. Empire Maker's father, Unbridled, captured the 1990 Kentucky Derby and was second in that year's Preakness. He went on to sire a winner of each Triple Crown race. Littleprincessemma's pedigree boasts the 1973 Triple Crown champion, the great Secretariat, along with Northern Dancer, the 1964 Derby and Preakness champ who is considered one of the greatest sires of the twentieth century.

Finally, who was Littleprincessemma's granddaddy? None other than Storm Cat.

In 2007, Zayat paid $250,000 for her as a yearling, but Littleprincessemma's racing career was over after only two races. Her regal bloodlines, however, made her ripe for a career as a broodmare. She was unable to produce a foal in her first breeding, but she delivered one a little over a month ago from another Zayat stallion named Maimonides.

Now Littleprincessemma was dressed and primed to create her second foal. A teaser stallion named Red in an adjacent stall had squealed, whinnied, and in a full throat made it clear to her that she was desirable. The Vinery employed two teasers—the other was named Ralph—for what was a depressing but essential job. They aroused the mare to insure that she was ready to receive a stallion. After all, these were 1,200-pound animals worth millions of dollars and a swift, safe, and successful mating was vital.

Littleprincessemma was built like a sprinter with muscle twined around sturdy bones and a big bottom. She was a chestnut with a blaze on her face and one white sock and one white stocking on her hind legs.

Littleprincessemma raised her tail, squatted, and urinated, a sign that she was ready. There was no relief for Red. His job was done, so he was led out of the barn. Red traded duties with Ralph so neither teaser got terminally discouraged.

In came Pioneerof the Nile. He was a big, rangy horse with a Clint Eastwood walk, athletic but not in a hurry. He already had established himself as something of a prima donna. He preferred peppermints to carrots. He was also sometimes reticent and required a whiff of pheromones from a cup of thawed urine from a mare to get himself interested. Pioneerof the Nile refused to be rushed. He needed some foreplay and did not mind rocking back on his hind legs once, twice, as many as four times before securing his mount and consummating the relationship.

The Vinery's most successful stallion, on the other hand, lived up to his name—More Than Ready—and earned $60,000 a pop to make quick work of the mares. He serviced as many as 150 mares a year. In fact, he was so professional that he was sent to Australia each summer to create even more progeny to race in the Southern Hemisphere.

The cameras were now rolling. With this much money at stake, every moment of Littleprincessemma and Pioneerof the Nile's conjugal visit was videotaped to demonstrate that best practices and safety were observed to preempt any insurance claims.

In the wild, with no one looking, more than 2,000 pounds of horseflesh collide routinely as new life is made. Here the ballet between Littleprincessemma and Pioneerof the Nile was choreographed by a quartet of handlers suited up in helmets and flak jackets and offering whispers of encouragement to an excited stallion and his compliant mare.

There were no sharp corners in sight, the walls were padded thick, and the floor was made of playground rubber. Littleprincessemma leaned against a foam-wrapped chest board so she wouldn't skitter forward. She waited patiently as Pioneerof the Nile snorted and bellowed and pounded out a muted rhythm with his false starts.

Finally, he reared back on his two hind legs and landed not so gently on Littleprincessemma's backside. He did not really need any further help, but the "entering man," as the gentleman charged with ensuring a stallion hits his bull's-eye is known, helped Pioneerof the Nile hit the target.

Talk about a dirty job. He held a breeding roll—a sort of padded baton. It was soft, thick, and wrapped in plastic. He wedged it between Littleprincessemma and Pioneerof the Nile to his colleague on the other side. The stallion bucked and roared. The mare staggered and whinnied. The noise was tornado volume but car crash brief.

The big horse was done.

The entering man whisked a cup beneath Pioneerof the Nile and caught some semen. He handed it off to the stallion manager, who took it to a lab on the other side of a glass window and put it under a high-powered microscope. He estimated the quantity and motility of the sperm and added it to his detailed notes of Littleprincessemma and Pioneerof the Nile's appointment.

She was led out.

He strutted around the ring before being taken back to his paddock. There was another mare waiting for another stud here and at every other breeding farm in the Bluegrass.

This was breeding season in the Bluegrass, after all, which, fittingly, begins around Valentine's Day of each year.

It would be eleven months before Zayat would know if this coupling that looked so good on paper resulted in a healthy foal. It would take two more years after that to get this horse to the racetrack.

There would be a championship season, a near career-ending injury, and enough twists and turns from the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of horse racing to put the words Triple Crown on the tip of the tongues of sports fans, racing fans, and even the general public.

For five glorious weeks America's oldest sport would return to the center of the nation's consciousness.

What no one suspected was that a brief encounter in the Bluegrass on a March morning in 2011 would give us a horse for the ages.



February 2, 2012

It was about 11:00 p.m. on February 2, 2012, when Dr. Tom VanMeter got the call from his farm manager telling him Littleprincessemma's water had broken and she was ready to drop her baby. Dr. VanMeter pulled his boots on and made his way to the foaling shed, or Stork Barn as he liked to call it, on top of the hill of his Stockplace Farm. He had 800 acres here just ten miles down the road from another of Kentucky's most revered landmarks, Rupp Arena, which was named for legendary basketball coach Adolph Rupp and was the home of the Kentucky Wildcats. Fast horses, bourbon, and the Big Blue were more than obsessions in the Commonwealth of Kentucky; they were woven into the fabric of every born-and-bred Kentuckian who believed himself a true hardboot. VanMeter believed he was a hardboot by bloodlines as well. He was a seventh-generation Kentuckian whose family had done all sorts of ranching, raised cattle, grew cotton, and bred horses. Back in 1901, a distant cousin, Frank VanMeter, owned and trained that year's Kentucky Derby winner, His Eminence.

With a full brush of dark hair, a trim build, and a barrel chest, VanMeter was a polished-looking Bluegrass gentry almost. He was a veterinarian primarily but boarded mares on his farm and dabbled in breeding and selling Thoroughbreds. In fact, that is how he met Littleprincessemma's owner, Ahmed Zayat—or Mr. Z as VanMeter called him. He had sold him a horse, one that Zayat thought he outfoxed the veterinarian on, getting him for a mere $150,000. He named the colt after VanMeter's sales company at the time, Eaton's Gift. Mr. Z often needled him about the bargain colt, especially after the colt won a couple of Grade 1 sprint races as a three-year-old. However, VanMeter knew better than most that no one gets one over on someone else in the horse business for long. In 2006, when Zayat introduced himself as a major player in horse racing with the $4.6 million purchase of a colt at the Keeneland September Sale, VanMeter raised an eyebrow and thought what every other horse trader did: "He's jumped in with some money and made a big splash." By 2008, Zayat Stables had won nearly $6.9 million, leading all American Thoroughbred owners in earnings, and the next year, he matched that total, highlighted by Pioneerof the Nile's second-place finish in the Derby. He also started throwing big money around at auctions—spending $24.5 million on seventy-seven horses in 2009. That's when VanMeter (and everyone else in the business) raised the other eyebrow.

"We've seen these guys come and go," said VanMeter.

Yes, they had. There is no better adage than "the best way to become a millionaire in the horse business is to start as a billionaire." NFL franchise owners Eugene Klein (San Diego Chargers) and Robert McNair (Houston Texans), software billionaire Satish Sanan, entertainers like rapper MC Hammer, and scores of Wall Street tycoons had dropped fortunes in the sport before abandoning it altogether with a lot less in their coffers. Now all VanMeter and everyone else in the business had to do was follow the newspaper headlines or look in his "Past Due" file to set an over/under line on when Zayat was going to leave the business for good.

All that winning and buying was costly. While Zayat Stables was borrowing money and bringing home trophies, it was also losing more than $52 million, according to bankruptcy records, all while Zayat was paying himself a salary of $650,000 and withdrawing $2 million from stable accounts. Beyond the $34-plus million due Fifth Third Bank, his creditors' list read like a who's who of the Thoroughbred industry—he owed $3 million to Keeneland, the auction company; hundreds of thousands to breeding farms owned by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, and Canadian industrialist Frank Stronach; and tens of thousands to trainers, veterinarians, and even horse transportation vendors. Zayat owed VanMeter and Stockplace nearly $30,000 and Eaton Sales another $50,000.

VanMeter knew Mr. Z was a slow payer, which was preferable to a no-payer, of which there were plenty scattered across the Bluegrass. This was a handshake rather than contract business and sometimes all there was to cling to was a twisted and unwarranted trust that a horseman's better angels would make him honor a deal. Sure, Mr. Z was going to pay him when he got a little ahead. Besides, VanMeter liked Mr. Z's company, his childlike exuberance that turned excursions to the racetrack into life-and-death passion plays when the emotive Egyptian touted his betting selections like they had been passed down from on high and then turned every stretch run into a struggle for his soul. Mr. Z cackled and screamed. He worked up a sweat running to the betting windows. Victories were celebrated with moist bear hugs and tough beats with wails of grief.

"He's a very passionate guy, and so emotional," said VanMeter.

Now it was his duty—no, his oath—to forget about Littleprincessemma's complicated owner and focus on getting the mare's baby safely out of her uterus and onto this earth. It was Groundhog Day, and that morning Punxsutawney Phil had awoken to see his shadow, signaling that six more weeks of winter were in store. It was a mild night in the Bluegrass in what so far had been a warm and wet winter. VanMeter made the short walk to his farm's "maternity ward." About 90 percent of all foals were born at night, between 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. mostly, a statistical anomaly attributed to Mother Nature. Long before there were breeding farms, mares dropped their foals when predators were asleep. It gave them time to get them to their feet, nurse them, and have them ready to run like hell if necessary.

VanMeter knew that horses did not need his help to bring new life to earth, but there was so much money at stake that breeders felt obliged to have eyes on their investments around the clock. Mostly, however, VanMeter couldn't beat back the flutter in his heart when the foals hit the ground.

"It's like the heavens open up and deliver a little piece of magic," he said. "It's the best part of what I do."


  • "The fleet-footed American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise rides into the winner's circle via effortless prose, well-reported insider details, a compelling human cast of characters - and an irresistible horse: smart, focused and fast."—USA Today, 3 1/2 stars
  • "The tale [Drape] spins ends up being one that transcends athletics, a story of adolescence and smalltown life. . . . From the opening practice to the Redmen's final game, Drape flawlessly paints a picture of how Smith Center achieves perfection year after year. . . . Drape gives the reader a team worth rooting for."—Publishers Weekly
  • "American Pharoah is lucky to have Joe Drape. Actually, they're lucky to have each other. No horse has given the preeminent chronicler of 21st century thoroughbreds better material and no other writer could do justice to such a terrific athlete and story. They deserve each other-and anyone who cares about horse racing deserves this book."—Jeremy Schaap, author of Cinderella Man and Triumph
  • "There is much to admire in this comprehensive and often candid book."
    Washington Post
  • "There is much to savor in the 292 pages...Drape delivers lively accounts of the sport's biggest events and the assorted newsmakers, on and off the track."—Bergen Record
  • "Drape takes the reader behind the gate for the inside story of American Pharoah's climb, and to the track for every dust-flying, crowd-roaring minute."—Garden and Gun
  • "Nobody writes about horses like Joe Drape. He takes you around the track, makes you hear the roar, feel the thrill, see the rich, shadowy, behind-the-scenes world so few us really understand. His writing is as effortless as it is necessary. American Pharoah is an epic American classic, a modern-day Seasbiscuit. If you read just one book about horse racing, read this one."—Drew Jubera, author of Must Win: A Season of Survival for a Town and Its Team
  • "A page-turner .... With his deep knowledge of horse racing, and sharp eye for detail, Drape weaves a compelling narrative from an unlikely cast of characters around an even more unlikely four-legged hero."—National Book Review

On Sale
Apr 26, 2016
Page Count
304 pages
Hachette Books

Joe Drape

About the Author

Joe Drape is an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times. He is the author of six books, including the New York Times bestsellers Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen and American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s Legendary Rise. His book Black Maestro was the inaugural winner of the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. A native of Kansas City and graduate of Rockhurst High School, Drape earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Southern Methodist University. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.

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