Ruffian A Race Track Romance Author:William Nack On July 6, 1975, a 3-year-old filly named Ruffian was loaded into the starting gate at Belmont Park for a televised match race against Kentucky Derby winner colt Foolish Pleasure. Since winning her first race a little more than a year earlier, the unbeaten, unflappable Ruffian had literally raced her way into the hearts of a nation. One of those... more » hearts belonged to Newsday turf reporter William Nack. As a boy in Illinois, Nack had carried in his pocket a trading card of his hero, Swaps, the winner of the 1955 Kentucky Derby. As a young soldier in Vietnam, Nack tuned out the midnight bomb blasts by listening to racetrack broadcasts from Santa Anita. Now, fresh off the publication of his astonishing biography of Secretariat -- described by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand as "the gold standard of horse books" -- he found himself smitten once again. But tragedy struck that summer's day at Belmont Park. After charging from the gate, Ruffian stumbled and shattered her right foreleg. She had to be put down. Nack's heartbreaking run with thoroughbred racing's most famous filly will soon be immortalized in a made-for-TV movie to be broadcast on ESPN and ABC. In this moving, lyrical memoir, he relives the afternoon that forever changed his love affair with the track.« less
A little book from the well-respected racing writer William Nack. More about what the great racing filly Ruffian symbolized, rather than a biography in the tradition of Nack's own "Secretariat: Making of a Champion". Nack alternates between poetic passages about Ruffian's appearance, personality, and blazing speed and angry, cynical reflections on the falsity of the results of match races and breeding Thoroughbreds for speed at the expense of soundness. The book is a very quick read that provides plenty of food for thought about the state and traditions of horse racing.