A Tale of Breeding Geniuses, Dominant Females, and the Fastest Derby Winner
Horse of a Different Color: A Tale of Breeding
Geniuses, Dominant Females and the Fastest Derby Winner Since Secretariat is
Jim Squires' rollicking tale of how a novice in the world of Kentucky horse
culture did more than merely stay in business; he brought together the stallion
and mare who produced Monarchos, the steel-gray colt blessed with extraordinary
speed who went on to win the most famous race of all, the Kentucky Derby (2001).
For this triumph Squires was hailed as a "breeding genius," a title
that seemed excessive to some of his friends. "Breeding genius, hell!"
one replied. "All this means is that sunshine will even hit a horse's ass
if he stands out in it long enough."
Squires had successfully raised championship reiners, cutters,
jumpers, and other equine athletes, but now he was heading to Thoroughbred
country - a move that inspired much snickering within the journalistic and horse
Horse of a Different Color shows that while a
fast horse is necessary in order to win the Derby, a sense of humor and a
boundless capacity for humiliation is absolutely essential. Squires lays bare in
all its absurdity the close-knit and secretive world of the Thoroughbred
community, tweaking the self-important owners at the Keeneland and Saratoga
auctions, and skewering the preening trainers at Churchill Downs and Gulfstream
Park. It is a world where the horses are as exciting as Seabiscuit and
Secretariat and the human characters as eccentric and beguiling as any found in
comic literature. And no one comes in for harsher treatment than the
"breeding genius" himself, whose schemes for success often turn out to
be 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent consternation. But standing calmly at
the center of the commotion is Monarchos, whose prodigious talents would carry
the motley band of people around him to the highest level of their profession.
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