Not by a Long Shot

Not by a Long Shot : A Season at a Hard Luck Horse Track

4.06 (78 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is a gritty, passionate, insider's portrait of the blue-collar side of horse-racing. Once host to turf champions such as Seabiscuit and boisterous throngs of 40,000 spectators, Suffolk Downs, a relentless urban betting factory on the outskirts of Boston, now struggles to survive. "Sufferin' Downs" is where grizzled Thoroughbreds come to end their careers, hopeful jockeys and talented young trainers aspire against daunting odds to begin them, and a small but steadfast legion of diehard fans grinds and gambles in collective desperation against the vagaries of logic, luck and life. Decidedly more blue-collar than blue-blooded, these bit players are not just the cogs of a single, struggling horse track. They also function as the unseen supporting cast for America's $15 billion betting industry. Long-time racing writer and aficionado TD Thornton worked at Suffolk Downs for a decade, first as a reporter for "The Boston Globe" and "The Racing Times", and then as its media director. He was granted behind-the-scenes access to racetrack life usually off limits to the general public, from the stable shedrows to the jockey's locker room to the company boardroom and, during the course of one recent racing season, finally decided to write it all down. Contemporary racing literature is full of fawning portrayals of high-profile horses and humans who have achieved success in high profile events. Yet, in reality, the sport's most gripping tales come from obscure characters who toil in anonymity at under-the-radar racetracks everywhere: Minimum-wage stable-hands chopping ice from frozen water buckets in pre-dawn winter darkness; grooms who sleep in stalls and cry over sick steeds that aren't worth much more than a saddle; jockeys who starve themselves for the privilege of piloting nothing but losers, and - above all - the fragile yet immeasurably tenacious Thoroughbreds running as fast as they can, as hard as they can, simply because they can. "Not by a Long Shot" tells their stories. Organized around the story of a troubled comeback jockey who ends up paralyzing a good friend in a horrific racing accident, it is a deeply textured portrait of an industry where even the best in the business lose 75 percent of the time.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 165.1 x 236.2 x 35.6mm | 544.32g
  • INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1586484494
  • 9781586484491
  • 2,456,924

About T.D. Thornton

TD Thornton has written for The Boston Globe and The Racing Times among other publications. He lives outside Boston, and this is his first bookshow more

Rating details

78 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 33% (26)
4 41% (32)
3 24% (19)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
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