Entries have been announced for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which honors long-form pieces on horse racing and offers $10,000 in prize money.
Winners have traditionally been announced each April at a reception held in the historic stallion barn at the Ryan family’s Castleton Lyons farm near Lexington, Kentucky. This year will be different due to the broad reach of COVID-19; the springtime celebration honoring the winner and finalists has been postponed for now, with plans to reschedule as a possibly scaled-back event in the fall.
Each of these 15 books is currently available for online purchase.
“If you miss racing, as we do, the next best thing might be to shelter at home with one of these books,” lead judge Kay Coyte, former Washington Post and racing publications editor, said.
“These 15 titles represent what I love most about the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award-Castleton Lyons–and the trying task of deciding on a short list of finalists. All are excellent examples of their genre within horse racing literature, and all are winners.”
Below is a list of current entries, each published in the 2019 calendar year, arranged alphabetically by title.
Backstretch Girls, by Dawn LeFevre
Better Lucky Than Good: Tall Tales and Straight Talk from the Backside of the Track, by various authors, from Louisville Story Program
Blood in the Bluegrass, by D.C. Alexander
Blood in the Bluegrass, by Virginia Slachman
The Hidden Horses of New York, by Natalie Reinert
Justify, by Lenny Shulman
Kentucky Horse Tales, by Ercel Ellis Jr.
The Key to the Quarter Pole, by Robin Traywick Williams
Montana Horse Racing: A History, by Brenda Wahler
Racing Time: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Liberation, by Patrick Smithwick
Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown, by Jennifer S. Kelly
The Skeptical Handicapper: Using Data and Brains to Win at the Racetrack, by Barry Meadow
Spectacular Bid: The Last Superhorse of the Twentieth Century, by Peter Lee
The Travers: 150 Years of Saratoga’s Greatest Race, by Brien Bouyea & Michael Veitch
The Triumph of Henry Cecil, by Tony Rushmer