20 February 2006

Losses and literature

Like Patrick at Pulling Hair and Betting Horses, I feel like I knew Bob Lewis. Unlike Patrick, I never called him on the phone. But I've met him in print, so to speak, in the pages of Three Strides Before the Wire: The Dark and Beautiful World of Horse Racing, in which author Elizabeth Mitchell chronicles the career of Charismatic, the Lewis' 1999 Kentucky Derby & Preakness winner.

The book focuses a great deal on jockey Chris Antley and, in new journalism style, the author's experiences at the Derby and at the hospital with a race-loving friend. Overall, it's a sad book, and according to some, fraught with errors an editor should have caught.

Yet, the depiction of Bob and Beverly Lewis is a sunny patch in Mitchell's dark world. The two sound like really nice people who answer their own phone, enjoy their wins, delight in their horses, and accept defeat with grace. Mitchell's portrayal of Bob Lewis as a sharp businessman with a passionate, optimistic heart is in keeping with the numerous tributes now posted on the Blood-Horse website.

It's times like these that I'm glad there are still writers interested in telling the tales of the track. Like amber, they preserve the past, allowing latecomers (like me) to share some of the glory of races gone by -- and to get to know some of racing's remarkable individuals, even after they're gone.

Three Strides Before the Wire, is to my mind, something of a gift, for in its pages, Charismatic is forever crossing the finish line at 20-1 in the Derby - and the Lewises are smiling.


John said...

Thanks for alerting me to a book I was unaware of. I am off to Amazon.com to purchase a copy. Charismatic's story is a favorite of mine. I remember screaming like an idiot at my TV as he just outlasted Menifee to win at 31-1.

excellerandferdinand said...

I hope all the MNR faithful had the easiest of winners tonite [Sat]. GLOBAL CRISIS. Dam is a half to TIME FOR A CHANGE; bred by blueblood Ogden M Phipps. Won for fun, in a MdSpWt, by five lengths, eased to the wire, in hand. Obviously not a world beater, given that he is a cull, but could repeat against limited winners at The Mountain. Mnr is my fave track due to the high number of well-bred rejects that show up there. Sunday nite: look for BEDUGUL[race-8], bred by world famous Flaxman Holdings. Dale Baird has her now; formerly raced in Calif. with Frankel, before they gave up on her. She closed a little going short, and is being wheeled right back on short rest, stretching out to a mile in ALW company. Not sure is she is tight enough yet, but definitely one to watch. Monday nite: CHUBASCO CAT goes in a 5f MdnSpWt in Race-6. Her dam is CHILUKKI, who was Champion 2yo filly. Unraced till age four, this should be a soft spot, if she has any ability at all; Bernie Flint ships her in' his go-to jock,Chad Murphy, up. Short price.

QQ said...

John - I forgot you had Charismatic in the Derby! Hope you enjoy the book.

QQ said...

excellerandferdinand, Thanks for the MNR tips. Sadly, we saw abolutely none of the races this weekend. I too have noticed that those Bernie Flint ship-ins often do well at the Mountain.