Out of the Clouds

The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings


By Linda Carroll

By David Rosner

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In the bestselling tradition ofthe The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the propulsive, inspiring Cinderella story of Stymie, an unwanted Thoroughbred, and Hirsch Jacobs, the once dirt-poor trainer who bought the colt on the cheap and molded him into the most popular horse of his time and the richest racehorse the world had ever seen.

In the wake of World War II, as turmoil and chaos were giving way to a spirit of optimism, Americans were looking for inspiration and role models showing that it was possible to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top-and they found it in Stymie, the failed racehorse plucked from the discard heap by trainer Hirsch Jacobs. Like Stymie, Jacobs was a commoner in “The Sport of Kings,” a dirt-poor Brooklyn city slicker who forged an unlikely career as racing’s winningest trainer by buying cheap, unsound nags and magically transforming them into winners. The $1,500 pittance Jacobs paid to claim Stymie became history’s biggest bargain as the ultimate iron horse went on to run a whopping 131 races and win 25 stakes, becoming the first Thoroughbred ever to earn more than $900,000. The Cinderella champion nicknamed “The People’s Horse” captivated the masses with his rousing charge-from-behind stretch runs, his gritty blue-collar work ethic, and his rags-to-riches success story. In a golden age when horse racing rivaled baseball and boxing as America’s most popular pastime, he was every bit as inspiring a sports hero as Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis.

Taking readers on a crowd-pleasing ride with Stymie and Jacobs, Out of the Clouds — the winner of the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award — unwinds a real-life Horatio Alger tale of a dauntless team and its working-class fans who lived vicariously through the stouthearted little colt they embraced as their own.



At First Sight

On a beautiful New York spring afternoon in 1943, Hirsch Jacobs stood in the tree-shaded paddock at Belmont Park, elbows leaning on the wrought-iron fence that rimmed the walking ring, as he watched the horses being saddled for the first race. A regular fixture in the bucolic saddling area just behind the stately brick grandstand of America's grandest racetrack, he blended right in with the spectators who trickled through the nearby turnstiles seeking a diversion, if only for a few fleeting hours, from the unremitting stress of a world at war.

A short, stout man in his late thirties with a round, ruddy face and bright red hair, Jacobs sported a conservative three-piece suit and tie that made him look more like a button-down businessman than the hardened horseman he was. While the racegoers around him casually sized up the field in hopes of picking a winner for their $2 bets, he was hard at work scrutinizing the dozen entrants with his discerning eye in search of a bargain to add to his successful stable of modest Thoroughbreds that had all been bought on the cheap.

Despite operating on a shoestring budget in a rich man's pastime fittingly dubbed "The Sport of Kings," Hirsch Jacobs had managed to establish himself over the past decade as America's winningest trainer. He did it by scooping up the discards of prominent high-society racing stables at bargain-basement prices and somehow transforming them into winners. He would buy those cheap and often-unsound nags out of claiming races—the lowest-level competitions in which any horse entered can be purchased, or "claimed," shortly before post time at a preset price—and promptly diagnose their problems and work his magic with a combination of home remedies and equine psychoanalysis. The strategy had worked so well that he'd saddled more winners annually than any other trainer for a record-smashing nine of the previous ten years.

For all his achievements, though, the old-money racing aristocracy, galled at being beaten by the very horses they had recently discarded as worthless, haughtily dismissed Jacobs as nothing more than a "claiming trainer." To them, he was the ultimate outsider: a commoner in The Sport of Kings, a Jewish immigrant tailor's son who grew up dirt poor on the streets of Brooklyn and never gave horses a second thought until his late teens, a greenhorn who owed everything he knew about training them to his youthful passion of raising and racing pigeons. At a loss to rationalize the incomprehensible success of a New York City street kid in a pastoral pastime whose ingrained traditions had been passed down from English royalty and nobility to Kentucky Bluegrass gentry, they were sure Jacobs must have been doing something underhanded and even went so far as to hire private investigators to surveil his barn round the clock for proof of illicit practices or "voodoo" potions. When they could find no hints of any wrongdoing, they continued to snipe about how he only ever won the most ordinary races by running his cheap claimers "like a fleet of taxicabs" and wouldn't know what to do with the Thoroughbred equivalent of a Rolls-Royce—a high-class horse with the talent to enter the big-purse stakes from the Kentucky Derby on down—if he ever got his hands on one.

As much as the blue-blooded swells resented him, Jacobs reigned as the favorite of all the blue-collar horseplayers who could trust him with their hard-earned $2 bets because they knew that any horse he sent to the post would be ready to race. In a larger sense, he was a working-class hero to all the downtrodden common folk who could identify with his Horatio Algeresque rise from impoverished outcast to the realization of the American Dream: the city boy who never even rode horses now climbing the ladder, one cheap claimer at a time, past all the hardboots from Bluegrass pastures and cowboys from Western plains. Thus did he bond with the masses of working-class fans who made horse racing America's most popular spectator sport and who viewed the racetrack as a source of affordable entertainment where a lucky bet could make their dreams come true. They rooted for longshots, for underdogs, for castoffs like the common claimers that populated the majority of all races run each day and that popularized Hirsch Jacobs as "The Pigeon Man" and a "Miracle Man" in headlines nationwide.

On this mild and sunny Saturday of a Memorial Day weekend made more meaningful for a nation in the throes of World War II, Jacobs had come to the Belmont Park paddock on the lookout for his next project horse. Which is why he was joined there by his partner in their public stable of cheap claimers: Isidor Bieber, a Runyonesque high roller who, as a first-generation Jewish immigrant with shared Eastern European roots, was as much an interloper as Jacobs. Their unlikely partnership—Bieber providing the bulk of the start-up bankroll, Jacobs all the horse sense and training savvy—had for two decades been shaking up the racing establishment.

Standing against the paddock fence, this pair of New York city slickers presented the most incongruous Odd Couple: Bieber, a flamboyant dandy notorious as a high-stakes gambler and Broadway ticket hustler who looked in his clashing stripes and checks as if he'd stepped right out of a Damon Runyon short story (and who had in fact served as both source and model for some of his famous writer friend's colorful characters), towering over the much-younger Jacobs, a devoted family man who acted as modestly as he dressed and never even played the ponies. While the bombastic Bieber would hold forth quoting everyone from Shakespeare to Voltaire and espousing provocative opinions that he often backed up with his fists, the soft-spoken and mild-mannered Jacobs quietly went about his business with guarded privacy, parsing his words and pausing only to greet fellow racetrackers with an easy smile and amiable "Hiya" in his high, nasal voice. All they seemed to have in common, besides their shared outsider status, were the cheap claimers they invested in together and the other horses they managed for a handful of small-scale owners like their mutual friend Damon Runyon.

As the dozen two-year-old Thoroughbreds now paraded past them in the Belmont paddock, one caught Jacobs's keen eye. Where other observers saw just a small, ordinary-looking chestnut, Jacobs alone saw potential. Although no single feature of the shiny copper colt stuck out, the trainer realized that was because all the parts melded together in perfect balance. The colt was sturdy and well muscled, with good bone, a powerful hind end, and a broad chest with a well-angled shoulder. He was a solid chestnut except for the irregular streak of white that began wide between his eyes and thinned to a faint trace as it meandered to the tip of his nose. Though he measured only a shade over 15 hands, he looked much taller because of the way he proudly puffed himself up. Jacobs was particularly struck by how high the little chestnut held his head, a regal carriage that reminded the trainer of the incomparable Man o' War and hinted at a high-strung and headstrong temperament that could prove hard to handle. Watching the high-headed colt walking past and exiting the paddock, Jacobs looked hard to find flaws in conformation.

The trainer then turned to Bieber and flashed a knowing smile. "I got a feeling about that colt," Jacobs said matter-of-factly. "I like the way he walks. He's a proud little thing."

As the twelve horses slowly made their way from the paddock toward the tunnel leading under the massive grandstand to the track for the post parade, Jacobs noted the Number 1 on the coppery colt's saddlecloth and the distinctive brown and white silks of the majestic King Ranch, America's largest farm sprawling over a million Texas acres. He borrowed Bieber's Daily Racing Form, thumbed to the entries for the first race, and looked up the Number 1 horse. He learned that the chestnut's name was Stymie; that he too was an outsider, obscurely bred of unaccomplished parentage in Texas far from the Kentucky Bluegrass most celebrated for producing Thoroughbred champions; and that he had been a well-beaten seventh by eight lengths in his only previous start, a cheap claiming race three weeks earlier in which he had no takers at a price tag of $2,500. This time the colt would be trying his luck in a maiden race—just one rung up from the lowly claiming races in the hierarchy of events capped by the marquee stakes—against green two-year-olds that likewise had never won anything.

Jacobs did not follow those maidens to the track to watch the afternoon's first race. So he would not see Stymie run to form as a prohibitive 78-to-1 longshot, lagging far up the straightaway through the short sprint and trudging home sixteen lengths off the pace in second-to-last place. Instead, the trainer had already turned his attention back to the paddock where he would get down to the business of saddling a cheap claimer of his own for the second race—but not before he made a mental note committing Stymie's name to his famously photographic memory of all things equine.

Little could Hirsch Jacobs imagine that this moment would change both of their lives.

Like every other horseman, from the lowliest claiming trainer to richest high-society owner, Jacobs had a dream of someday getting his hands on that one great horse. Even though he saw the glimmer of something special in Stymie, Jacobs couldn't know that both he and the little horse would come to inspire a generation coming home from World War II—with a real-life Horatio Alger story showing that no matter how far down you started, you could make it to the top by dint of sheer determination and hard work. He couldn't know that this cheap claimer could someday develop into that one great champion he had been searching for his entire career, the one that would prove his ability to cultivate a racing legend, the one that would finally win him the acceptance and respect that the racing elite had long denied him. He certainly had no reason to believe that this might be the beginning of a rags-to-riches Cinderella story the likes of which no one—not even Jacobs himself—dared dream.

Chapter 1

"The Pigeon Man"

Among bird fanciers, there's an old saying: "If horse racing is the sport of kings, then pigeon racing is the sport of the common man."

By that bit of conventional wisdom, Hirsch Jacobs was made to race pigeons. He was, after all, born a commoner in New York City at the dawn of the twentieth century just as pigeon racing was taking off as "the poor man's horse racing." It was a place and a time that fostered the sport as a popular urban pastime, as an ingrained part of life for the masses of working-class stiffs who flocked to rooftop coops after long days toiling in sweatshops, and as a fresh-air escape from the confining grit and mundane monotony of the immigrant experience.

For Hirsch Jacobs, the dirt-poor son of European Jewish immigrants, growing up in America's largest city meant sharing overcrowded environs with, as the old saw goes, "one pigeon per person." With the mass immigration of the early twentieth century swelling the city's population past 5 million, New Yorkers had to cohabit with all those pigeons drawn to the asphalt jungle by building ledges that evoked their Eurasian natural habitat of coastal cliffs, which had given their species its formal name: the "rock dove," or "rock pigeon." Many city dwellers, of course, found less complimentary names to call those feral cliff dwellers roosting in their buildings: "rats with wings," "flying street rats," and worse.

It wasn't those "rats of the sky," as the reviled street pigeons were also branded, that struck young Hirsch Jacobs's fancy. Rather, he was smitten by the elite subspecies of rock doves revered as the "Thoroughbreds of the sky." These were the racing pigeons—that is, homing pigeons as well bred and well conditioned as the Thoroughbreds that had made horse racing America's most popular spectator sport. While thousand-pound racehorses got all the glory galloping 40 mph once around a mile-long track, these one-pound racing pigeons were routinely flying hundreds of miles in a single day at average speeds approaching 80 mph. Some 75,000 of these avian Thoroughbreds graced New York—bursting from roofs into the air like fistfuls of thrown confetti, soaring in swirling flocks above the city like gray puffs of chimney smoke, then diving back home to their own appointed coops.

The pigeon coops that dotted the rooftops were as much a part of the developing New York City skyline as the newfangled skyscrapers then sprouting up in Lower Manhattan (from the distinctively triangular Flatiron Building to two edifices that each reigned for years as the world's tallest, the Metropolitan Life Tower and the Woolworth Building). In Brooklyn, where the Jacobses lived in an ethnic working-class neighborhood crammed with rowhouses and tenements, almost every rooftop sported a coop—a sign that the raising of pigeons had become the prevailing hobby of both men and boys. If horse racing was America's oldest sport and baseball its "national pastime," pigeon racing was cementing itself, in contrast to those pastoral pursuits, as a uniquely urban passion. In the New York metropolitan area alone, almost 3,000 fanciers made pigeon racing the city's fastest-growing recreation. Watching those enthusiasts exercise their flocks at twilight each day, young Hirsch would become hypnotized by the birds flying laps round and round over the roofs while their owners kept them from landing in their coops by repeatedly scaring them back into the air with long bamboo poles.

The wide-eyed youngster couldn't wait to possess pigeons of his own. Like many street kids who felt caged in New York City's confining neighborhoods, he longed to embrace a vicarious escape on the striped wings of homing pigeons. "It was quite the fad in those days to raise pigeons and develop them," he would explain years later to anyone intrigued by his youthful hobby. "Almost every kid in the neighborhood was interested in keeping pigeons when I was growing up."

Small wonder his fondest childhood memory was acquiring his first one. At the time, he was all of eight years old.

It's easy to see how a young boy like Hirsch would become so taken by those "dinosaurs of the sky" that had been roaming the earth for 30 million years and had been domesticated for 10,000. He found himself seduced by a species that was revered by the great civilizations and empires, adored as a universal symbol of peace and purity, and worshipped in religions from Hinduism to Christianity. The Bible offered him a romanticized introduction: the white dove released from Noah's Ark in the Genesis flood narrative returns with an olive twig signifying that the floodwater has ebbed enough to make the land habitable again, and the white dove at Jesus's baptism descends as the very embodiment of the Holy Spirit. Beyond biblical tales, history books traced pigeons' more concrete contributions as messengers dating back to Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets carved in the cradle of civilization itself.

What fascinated the boy most was the very trait that made mankind's earliest domesticated bird invaluable to all civilizations: the innate homing instinct that had originated with the pigeon's need to find its way back to its nest after foraging over long distances for food and then intensified through natural selection. It was the study of the pigeon's mystical homing instinct, in fact, that had led the pioneering natural scientist Charles Darwin to devise his theory of evolution. Devoting the first chapter of his seminal 1859 book On the Origin of the Species to the evolution of pigeons, Darwin demonstrated how natural selection had transformed the humble rock dove into a homing machine that combined uncanny navigational skill and athletic ability.

Like Darwin, an avid fancier of homers who had joined two London breeding clubs and used his own pigeon loft as a lab to prove how man could enhance their superior traits through artificial selection, Hirsch Jacobs "found in them quite a study." Making a science of them himself on Brooklyn rooftops, the youngster eagerly soaked up everything the neighborhood fanciers could impart about breeding, housing, nurturing, training, and racing them.

It didn't take long for him to expand his own pigeon stock from that first slaty-blue homer into what was said to be the healthiest and happiest flock on his block. He prized all his pigeons, naming each one and learning its idiosyncrasies. He loved everything about caring for them year-round: feeding them the most nutritious grain, dropping a rusty nail in their water dish to boost their iron, scrubbing their coop clean to encourage a speedier return home. He could often be found standing on the rooftop of the rowhouse where his family lived in a tiny apartment, releasing them into the air for "training tosses," watching them circle overhead on those daily exercise flights, and eventually waving a long bamboo pole with a flag on the end of it to signal them back home at dusk.

From the moment he first tossed them skyward, it was clear that Hirsch Jacobs was a natural. By the time he was twelve, he had already demonstrated a remarkable memory for detail that would serve him well with racing pigeons and eventually with racehorses.

"I could identify one hundred pigeons by sight—while they were flying," he liked to point out with a proud smile but not a trace of braggadocio.

So exceptional was his eyesight that, without the aid of binoculars, he could focus on someone else's flock of forty pigeons soaring 200 yards above his head and suddenly pick out a stray. "Hey, there's one of ours," he would exclaim with furrowed brow. "What's he doing with that outfit?"

When asked how he could possibly distinguish his own bluish-gray homer from the rest of the bluish-gray flock in full flight, he would explain with a shrug, "It's just having an eye for it."

Not to mention a passion for it. He enjoyed nothing more than simply raising them and would have been happy if that proved an end in itself. But the true measure of his acumen as a pigeon fancier, he realized, would involve putting them to the test in a race. These were, after all, avian athletes—all speed, power, grace, and pedigree, born and bred to race in much the same way Thoroughbred horses were. Millenniums of natural and artificial selection had crossed many of the rock dove's hundreds of breeds to create a superpigeon: a feathered rocket built for speed and endurance, powered by an aerodynamic muscular body capable of flying a thousand miles at 60 mph and an enhanced radar homing system adept at finding its way home from a unfamiliar place over an uncharted course without stopping for food or water.

That peerless combination had made pigeons the consummate messengers since the dawn of civilization, uniquely qualified to deliver posts far faster than couriers on foot or horseback. Pigeons carried news to ancient Egyptians of a pharaoh's ascension to the throne, results to ancient Greek city-states from the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C., military dispatches to commanding warriors ranging from Julius Caesar to Genghis Khan. They became big business in the nineteenth century when the Rothschild banking family utilized them as the fleetest financial couriers to amass history's richest private fortune, inspiring a fellow German entrepreneur named Paul Julius Reuter to parlay his own pigeon posts into the world's largest news-gathering service on the wings of 200 feathered messengers.

Those same mythic homing powers that launched the Reuters News Agency and the House of Rothschild dynasty also made pigeons world-class racers. Pigeon racing can be traced back to the Roman Empire as well as to the ancient Hebrews in the Talmud, the book of Jewish law that forbade all such competitions and barred anyone who bet on them from bearing witness in court. Sixteen centuries later, by the 1800s, pigeon racing had become not only an accepted sport, but also a budding pastime among European lower classes that welcomed the affordable diversion of watching—and betting on—the birds. With pigeons gradually being replaced as postal messengers by the advent of the telegraph and the steam-powered railroad, the Belgians concocted the idea of racing them for pure sport. Pigeon racing soon emerged as Belgium's national sport, its prize purses prompting fanciers to crossbreed messenger homers and create hybrids for greater speed and endurance. By the mid-1800s, Charles Dickens was reporting to his equine-obsessed British readers across the Channel that "pigeon racing is as fashionable an amusement in Belgium as horse racing in England." That avian amusement soon spread to Dickens's Victorian England, where fanciers nurtured the superior-bred Belgian imports in castle-like dovecotes befitting the British monarchs who would famously race their prized pigeons out of their royal lofts.

Around that same time, in the mid-1870s, pigeon racing landed on America's Atlantic shores along with the latest wave of European immigrants and emerged as the sport not of royalty but of the common man. While racehorses were beyond the means of a New York workingman or schoolboy, a good pair of Belgian-bred homers could be bought for sixty cents and housed cheaply in a rickety soapbox perched on a rooftop. The pigeon game began gaining momentum after the first-ever U.S. race dangled a winner's purse of $100 in gold, a king's ransom for a commoner in 1878 New York. With coops popping up on urban rooftops and with local clubs starting up to organize races, the then-still-independent city of Brooklyn ranked third nationally in the cultivation of the fledgling sport (behind only New York and Philadelphia). The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a civic institution whose masthead boasted "the Largest Circulation of any Evening Paper published in the United States," covered it like horse racing with regular stories on pigeon races, pigeon clubs, pigeon sales, even pigeon thefts.

Lured by its ever-growing cachet, Hirsch Jacobs couldn't wait to throw himself into what seemed the ideal sport for a twelve-year-old pigeon lover.


Pigeon racing had become as much a part of immigrant New York as the cramped tenements, the stifling sweatshops, and the teeming ghettos. For countless workingmen, it provided a brief respite from the unrelenting struggle that was the immigrant experience. For a boy like Hirsch Jacobs, it offered more than an escape from the poverty that defined his daily existence—the flight of the pigeons stoked dreams of freedom and a brighter future.

The path to that future was laid out for him in the Horatio Alger dime novels so popular among adolescents at the time. There, he could imagine himself the protagonist in all those success stories glorifying the rags-to-riches rise of impoverished boys from humble beginnings to middle-class respectability through hard work, sheer determination, and noble values. As much as Alger's young-adult novels had inspired a Gilded Age generation when they were published in the latter third of the nineteenth century, their universal theme would resonate even louder with youngsters coming of age in the immigrant New York of Hirsch Jacobs's youth. The idea that any American, even the poorest, could rise to the top became known as the "Horatio Alger myth." Later on, it would become renowned as the "American Dream." Call it what you will, the pursuit of that American Dream was something that inspired not only Hirsch, but also his immigrant parents and grandparents.

All four of his grandparents had fled the oppressive living conditions and anti-Semitic persecution sweeping through Eastern Europe, first finding refuge in England and then, in the 1870s, emigrating to the New World in search of the economic opportunities it promised. Like so many others arriving at the time, both of his grandfathers joined the multitude of Jewish immigrants drawn to the needle trades that were flourishing in New York. Each man found low-paying tailoring work and cheap housing in Brooklyn, then still an independently incorporated municipality whose roughly 1 million inhabitants made it the nation's fourth-largest city in its own right (behind only New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia).

At the time the two families immigrated, both of Hirsch's parents, Jack Jacobs and Theresa Singer, were young enough to easily assimilate into American culture. By his early twenties, Jack felt financially secure enough as a tailor to marry the teenaged Theresa in 1893 and to support the family they planned to start building right away.

With the flood of Eastern European immigrants sparking a boom in the needle trades, Jack decided he could improve his lot by moving to Manhattan, whose Lower East Side had emerged as the bustling center of the nation's garment industry. There, the vast majority of factories and sweatshops were owned by German Jews who had come in an earlier wave of immigration. Jack landed a job with one of those German Jewish immigrants, the well-known custom clothier Marks Arnheim, who ran what he billed as "The Largest Tailoring Establishment in the World" out of his handsome five-story building on Broadway in Greenwich Village. Arnheim's innovative tailoring house prided itself on fine custom-made clothes at "panic prices," its 500 workers fitting and manufacturing suits on the premises while promising home delivery within four hours after a customer got measured. It was a far cry from the stifling sweatshops that left laborers like Jack physically and emotionally drained, improving his working conditions if not quite his living conditions.

Jack settled his wife and four children in East Harlem, the Upper Manhattan neighborhood that had been expanding into a Jewish ghetto large enough to rival the infamous Lower East Side slum as an immigrant magnet crammed with squalid five-story tenements. It was there, in the dank and dingy bedroom of a tiny tenement flat on Second Avenue between 111th and 112th Streets, that their fifth child was born on April 8, 1904, and named Hirsch Wolf Jacobs.

Despite the better-paying job in an industry notoriously built on cheap nonunion labor, Jack soon realized he could not afford to keep his fast-growing family in Manhattan. Moreover, with Hirsch still in diapers and a sixth child on the way, it was becoming impossible to squeeze everyone into a claustrophobic tenement apartment devoid of sunlight and ventilation. Desperate to escape the clamor and congestion of East Harlem, the Jacobses gravitated back to the familiar borough that promised more light, air, space, and affordability. So they joined the mass exodus of Jewish immigrants then migrating from Harlem to eastern Brooklyn.

The family settled for good in the East New York section of Brooklyn, a predominantly Jewish and Italian neighborhood where the streets were lined with identical two- and three-story rowhouses punctuated by the occasional tenement. They rented a narrow railroad apartment just large enough to accommodate a brood that now included six kids and counting. The four Jacobs boys would have to sleep like sardines in the same bed while their two sisters shared another one, and it wasn't uncommon to be awakened by a rat nibbling on toes.


  • "Out of the Clouds is more than the story of a single horse, a single trainer, and their unlikely rise. The whole mid-century world of grit and cigars, of prize fights and thick New York accents--guys and dolls--is in these pages. The book is as much about the big picture as it is the close-up."—The Wall Street Journal
  • "The best racetrack books make you fall in love with a horse and become enthralled with the people around him, and that's exactly what Out of the Clouds does. It's a galloping tale of a misunderstood horse and horseman who navigated thoroughbred racing with guts, hunches, and a touch of magic."—Joe Drape, New York Times bestselling author of AmericanPharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise
  • "I was stunned and pleased by Out of the Clouds... an engaging story of a man's life, his nature, his wisdom, and the prolonged success born of talent, dedication, and compassion."—Edward L. Bowen, former editor-in-chief of TheBlood-Horse and author of author of 20 books onThoroughbred racing
  • "Two of Thoroughbred racing's greatest rags-to-riches stories--chronicling the rise of trainer Hirsch Jacobs and his champion, Stymie, from the lowest rungs of the sport to its loftiest peak, the Racing Hall of Fame--are here woven together in a tale further inhabited and enriched by some of racing's most legendary gamblers and characters, from high-rolling Arnold Rothstein to journalist Damon Runyon. Out of the Clouds is a colorful, engaging account of their racetrack world."—William Nack, bestselling author of Secretariat
  • "A sensational book...When it comes to history and colorful characters, Out of the Clouds is right up there with Seabiscuit, and is as riveting a racing/history book from start to finish as I have ever read."—Steve Haskin, The Blood-Horse

On Sale
May 29, 2018
Page Count
320 pages
Hachette Books

Linda Carroll

About the Author

Veteran journalists Linda Carroll and David Rosner have collaborated on two acclaimed nonfiction books — The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic and, most recently, Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry.

Carroll is a Peabody Award-winning writer who covers health and medicine for NBC News. An accomplished equestrian, she brings more than thirty years of experience in breeding, training, and showing horses. She owns and operates Fiery Run Farm, where she has hands-on control of breeding and training her eighteen Arabian and Oldenburg sport horses.

Rosner has worked as a sportswriter at major metro newspapers and as an editor of national magazines. As a reporter at Newsday in New York, he earned national Associated Press Sports Editors Association awards for investigative reporting and deadline writing. In addition to his book collaborations with Carroll, he co-authored The Official Illustrated NHL History.

Learn more about this author