Ruffian: A Race Track Romance

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ESPN Books, May 8, 2007 - Sports & Recreation - 112 pages
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On July 6, 1975, a 3-year-old filly named Ruffian was loaded into the starting gate at Belmont Park for a televised match race against Kentucky Derby winner colt Foolish Pleasure. Since winning her first race a little more than a year earlier, the unbeaten, unflappable Ruffian had literally raced her way into the hearts of a nation. One of those hearts belonged to Newsday turf reporter William Nack.

As a boy in Illinois, Nack had carried in his pocket a trading card of his hero, Swaps, the winner of the 1955 Kentucky Derby. As a young soldier in Vietnam, Nack tuned out the midnight bomb blasts by listening to racetrack broadcasts from Santa Anita. Now, fresh off the publication of his astonishing biography of Secretariat -- described by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand as "the gold standard of horse books" -- he found himself smitten once again.

But tragedy struck that summer's day at Belmont Park. After charging from the gate, Ruffian stumbled and shattered her right foreleg. She had to be put down. Nack's heartbreaking run with thoroughbred racing's most famous filly will soon be immortalized in a made-for-TV movie to be broadcast on ESPN and ABC. In this moving, lyrical memoir, he relives the afternoon that forever changed his love affair with the track.

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User Review  - fuzzi - LibraryThing

Well written reminisces of a truly superb thoroughbred race horse by a sports writer who was there. Whether you are a racing fan or not, this is a special book about a champion filly and the people around her during her brief but spectacular career. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

William Nack is the author of Secretariat: The Making of a Championand My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money, and the Sporting Life. As a writer at Sports Illustrated, he won 7 Eclipse Awards for his coverage of thoroughbredracing. Nack also has contributed to GQ. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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