A total of six semi-finalists, from 15 submissions, for the 2020 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award have been selected by a panel of racing industry and literary judges. The semi-finalists are:
Better Lucky Than Good: Tall Tales and Straight Talk from the Backside of the Track, by Louisville Story Program
- Justify: 111 Days to Triple Crown Glory, by Lenny Shulman
- The Key to the Quarter Pole, by Robin Traywick Williams
- Spectacular Bid: The Last Superhorse of the Twentieth Century, by Peter Lee
- The Travers: 150 Years of Saratoga’s Greatest Race, by Brien Bouyea and Michael Veitch
- The Triumph of Henry Cecil, by Tony Rushmer
“This year’s 15 titles are of consistently high quality, which is proven by the excellent books that just missed the semifinalists cut,” said lead judge Kay Coyte, who went on to explain that emphasis when judging is placed on “clarity and elegance of writing, a book’s ability to entertain, and an author’s commitment to his or her subject.”
Customarily announced in April, the award timeline was altered this year due to COVID-19. The three finalists will be revealed this summer, with plans to honor the winner yet to be determined.
The brainchild of the late Dr. Tony Ryan, the award combined the horseman’s passions–racing and literature. The competition was established in 2006 to honor the best of long-form writing in racing, with a $10,000 prize to the winner.