Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Posts tagged ‘racing’

Great Grays

Milton covHorse & Hound recently ran Milton: 12 fascinating facts about our hero. Check out the first picture. That’s how horse should use his shoulders over a fence. Found courtesy of the Facebook page for Equestrian Legends – Book

My favorite Milton quote from his biography:

Sometimes I get so carried away on Milton I ask him to do something that is almost impossible, but he’s so good he manages it. Then I try it on another horse and I find myself upside down. Milton by Gail Newsum [Kenilworth 1991], p47.

Gem Twist
My brush with greatness was down in Florida. Wandering the barn aisles at a Tampa show, I saw a gray horse standing toward the back of his stall. A nice enough Thoroughbred but nothing remarkable. He looked tired and a little grumpy. He could have been some kid’s 3′ hunter recovering from long day of outside-diagonal-outside-diagonal courses. Then I spotted the nameplate.

Local Hero
I was tailgating at a steeplechase with a friend who owned a gray. In her honor, my friend bet on any gray in a given race. The grays he backed didn’t always win, but they always finished ahead of whichever horses the rest of us chose. By betting color, he won every race in our betting pool.

Guest Post: Milt Toby, author of Noor, on Researching for Books

NoorAUTHORbadgeToday, I am a publicity stop on the virtual book tour for Noor. Book by Milt Toby. Tour arranged by Walker Author Tours. Welcome Milt:

How Much Research is Too Much?

Research is the lifeblood of the non-fiction books and magazine articles I write about horse racing, but it’s also an important tool for fiction authors. Readers are more knowledgeable than ever before, and what they don’t know they can find out in a few seconds on the Internet. And when readers discover a mistake, they’re almost never shy about letting you know.

An astute reader of my latest book, Noor: A Champion Thoroughbred’s Unlikely Journey from California to Kentucky, emailed to let me know that she liked the book. A longtime racing fan, she also pointed out a few factual errors for which there’s no good explanation. I know that Middleground defeated Hill Prince in the 1950 Kentucky Derby, for example, but inexplicably I referred to Hill Prince as a Derby winner.

Noor front coverIt was humbling—and incredibly annoying—to realize that mistakes made it unscathed through all the revising, editing, and proofreading that go into writing a book, but I appreciated the email because the mistakes can be corrected in a second printing. An unexpected bonus: I may have found a new expert proofreader for my next book!

Good researching is a skill, but it’s also an art. I’m fortunate to live a few miles from the Keeneland Library located at the historic race track of the same name outside Lexington, Kentucky. Combine a library staff that is both expert and incredibly helpful with one of the best repositories of racing history anywhere, and it’s a writer’s dream. One of the great joys of research is to make connections that no one ever has put together before, and that’s what I try and do in my books. As with most things, however, you reach a point of diminishing returns when you’re doing research. The trick is realizing when enough is enough.Dancer's Image front cover 3-17-11

But how do you know when it’s time to quit, when you’ve reached that point where there’s a danger that the forest of Post-It Notes and stacks of paper will take over the project? For me, that point arrives when I begin to include factoids that are interesting and show I did my homework, but don’t really help move the story along. Research is an important part of writing, but it’s only a tool, not an end in itself.

Noor links:
Pedigree from Throughbred Database
Race info & results from Horse Racing Nation