Headless Horsemen: A Tale of Chemical Colts, Subprime Sales Agents, and the Last Kentucky Derby on Steroids
A pointed and irreverent critique of thoroughbred racing’s breakdown, by a prominent journalist turned horse breeder
Jim Squires was in trouble. He had gone from one business seemingly intent on committing suicide to another, both led over the cliff by visionless leaders. First it was the newspaper bean-counters’ blind adherence to the demands of Wall Street. Then in horse racing it was a clannish group called “the Dinnies” refusing to share power and unable to see that vast overproduction and unbridled greed had created a subprime-like bubble in the market. Overpriced animals of dubious quality and drug-enhanced performance on the track were undermining the integrity of competition and ultimately the very breed itself. With its economic model broken, its tawdry sales practices under attack, and its public image in tatters after a series of televised fatal breakdowns by horses in famous races, the sport was overdue for a reckoning.
Headless Horsemen is Squires’s comic but poignant critique of what is happening to the sport and the animals he loves, as he and a small group of unlikely heroes agitate for a return to fair dealing. For anyone who cares about the soul and survival of horse racing, this book is an impassioned call to arms.