Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Born To Race (Blanche Chenery Perrin, 1959)

Born To Race
Blanche Chenery Perrin, il. Sam Savitt

Suzy Taylor is the luckiest girl in the world, growing up on a Thoroughbred racing farm in Virginia. After Falada, her favorite mare, is injured in a race, the family's fortunes dip, and by the time Falada foals, everyone is hoping for a colt who will grow into a winner. The foal is a filly, which typically means less chance of big purses, but Suzy takes a special interest Whickery, as the foal is named.

The book follows the course of Whickery's life through Suzy's experiences, from the accident that ends Falada's racing career to Whickery's big race. Along the way, the little girl grows up, learning how to sacrifice to help her struggling family (well, relatively, as anyone with a TB breeding farm isn't all that struggling) and solve a crime at the farm.

There's a crusty barn manager, Ben, to impart the usual lessons - how to handle horses in this situation or that, how to deal with this problem. The one I always remember is the 'creep' where a foal can slip into a section of pasture which their mothers can't get in because of a low rail blocking their way, allowing the foals to eat without the mares nabbing the food.

Sam Savitt. Here drawing Thoroughbreds and racehorses, Savitt's pen is darker and more distinct than in Summer Pony. Each drawing resonates with the knowledge of someone who's watched many horses and knows how they move.

Other Books by author
Hundred Horse Farm (sequel) (also illustrated by Savitt)
Thudding Hoofs (also illustrated by Savitt)