The finalists for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award (aka the Monograph Mile) have been announced, and sadly, my trifecta is simply another addition to the ticket litter on the grounds of the Quinella Castle. Once again, my inability to gauge the imports and my stubborn resistance to betting on favorites combined to do me in.
Without further ado, the finalists:
- The History and Art of 25 Travers by Vic Zast, featuring the art and posters of Greg Montgomery. This is that favorite I so blithely ignored. All I can say is that I recognized the strength of this entrant, compared it to sleek and fit equine entrants from Dubai, and noted that "it has all the makings of a winner." I just didn't include on my ticket!
- The Untold Story of Joe Hernandez: The Voice of Santa Anita by Rudolph Alvarado. Of this entry, I observed: "Meticulous research and competent writing give this one a chance to hit the wire. And -- it comes with a CD of Hernandez's actual calls. I have no idea of what to do with this equipment change." Obviously, I'll need to pay attention to "first time CD" angle in the future.
- Silks by Dick Francis and Felix Francis. At least my favorite entry will end up no worse than show. As I mentioned: "The racing scenes are vivid, the plot is engrossing, and all in all, I expect this one to turn in a solid performance."
For those of us who applaud a horse's 4-year old, 5-year old, 6-year old campaign, an author with 40+ titles to his credit is akin to the "iron horse" who draws fans year in and year out, often without fanfare. I know this particular award wasn't created to honor a body of work, but still, I'm rooting for Silks, the entry from the best of the jockeys-turned-writers who's kept horse racing on the bestseller lists through thick and thin.