Three finalists have been named for the 13th Annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which honors the best in thoroughbred literature each year. The award, which includes a $10,000 prize, will be announced on Wednesday at an invitation-only event at Castleton Lyons Farm near Lexington, KY.
The judges for the award were Kay Coyte, former manager editor of the Washington Post-Bloomberg News Service; Caton Bredar, television broadcaster and racing analyst; and Jayne Moore Waldrop, a writer, attorney and author.
Around Kentucky With the Bug! by Patrick Lawrence Gilligan
A trainer and, more importantly, a loving father, follows his son’s year as an apprentice jockey in pursuit of a dream, as he attempts to break into a tough, often unforgiving industry. This eloquent journal serves up a heart-warming story of life, love, and family, told with gentle humor and insight. A portion of proceeds from the book fittingly goes to benefit disabled jockeys.
Dixie Luck by Andy Plattner
Plattner, who won this award in 2015 with “Offerings from a Rust Belt Jockey,” was back again in 2018 with another literary gem. This time, it was a collection of character-driven short stories, plus a novella, that brought to life the complex, often flawed people who populate a racetrack. Plattner, a multiple award winner outside of racing, does not shy away from the sport’s darkest corners, as several of his well-crafted tales focus on the devastation wrought by gambling addiction.
Out of the Clouds: The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt who Conquered the Sport of Kings by Linda Carroll and David Rosner
A pair of well-known national journalists teamed to tell this Cinderella tale of 1940s superstar Stymie and his legendary trainer Hirsch Jacobs. It is the story of a Plain Joe colt that nobody wanted, born as a world war simmered, who rose from low level claiming ranks to Hall of Fame status while becoming the first American Thoroughbred to surpass $900,000 in earnings. With his flamboyantly high-headed, “out-of-the-clouds” style of running, Stymie became a blue collar hero to millions during America’s Golden Age of Sports.