Semifinalists Named For The 2023 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award

Horses in silhouette | Sarah Andrew

With a $10,000 prize to the winner, the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award named its semi-finalists, the competition said in a Thursday release.

Inaugurated in 2006 by the late philanthropist and global executive Tony Ryan, and sponsored by his family's Castleton Lyons Farm near Lexington, Ky., the award honors the best writing related to the Thoroughbred industry published in 2023.

Three finalists will be revealed this summer, with the winner announced during a reception at Castleton Lyons later in the year.

The semifinalists are (in alphabetical order, by author name):
Dream Derby: The Myth and Legend of Black Gold by Avalyn Hunter
The author peels back the veil of long-ago history in telling the unlikely story of centennial Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold.

False Riches by John Paul Miller
The book is both a mystery and a love story which is largely set at a fictional Texas racetrack.


Katherine Mooney | Christopher T. Martin

Isaac Murphy: The Rise and Fall of a Black Jockey by Katherine C. Mooney
A historian tells the story of a legendary Black jockey born during slavery, who enroute to glory as a rider, dealt with virulent racism and ever-worsening health issues.

The Jockey and Her Horse by Sarah Maslin Nir and Raymond White Jr.
This young adult work of historical fiction was inspired by the very real life of the late Cheryl White, a jockey who blazed trails on the racetrack in the 1970s on behalf of women and African- Americans.

The Turcottes: The Remarkable Story of a Horse Racing Dynasty by Curtis Stock
Ron Turcotte, who was not just Secretariat's jockey, led a family of accomplished riders with stories to tell.

Lexington: The Extraordinary Life and Turbulent Times of America's Legendary Racehorse by Kim Wickens
In portraying the life of mid-19th century champion Lexington, Wickens shows just what racing meant to America during the pre-Civil War era.

The three books recognized in the first Honorable Mention category are: Secretariat's Legacy: The Sons, Daughters, and Descendants Who Keep His Legend Alive, by Patricia McQueen; Mare's Nest, by Holly Mitchell; and Unnatural Ability: The History of Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Thoroughbred Racing, by the late Milton C. Toby.

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