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Harness Racing Fiction

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  • Harness Racing Fiction

    I was thinking today about how many fiction books there are out there about flat racing, and how I really couldn't think of all that many about harness racing...

    Here are the only ones I could come up with:

    Walter Farley: The Black Stallion's Blood Bay Colt
    The Black Stallion's Sulky Colt
    (We'll just ignore the logistics of breeding to an arab to produce a
    stakes winning trotter...)

    Patricia Easton: Summer's Chance
    Rebel's Choice

    Marguerite Henry: Born to Trot

    The Winning Colt is sorta iffy, if just because while he STARTS out on the track he moves on to a jumping career...

    And... that's ALL I could think of... Anyone else remember any others?
    The ninja monkeys are plotting my demise as we speak....

  • #2
    Colonel SP Meek, author of Frog: The Horse that Knew No Master and a whole bunch of dog stories, had one. Belfarm Star or something like that. It was the classic horse gets hurt, and only the one person believes in him/understands him/inspires him to get better, which of course he does, and they go win the Big Race. Formulaic but nice reading.

    There was also one, but I can't remember the author or title. I remember the horse. His name was Snow Prince. Story of a struggling farm/lady trainer, and he was her best upcoming prospect and literally the great white hope. Ring any bells with anyone?


    • #3
      there are a couple Russian stories, I think Isumrut is one of them, but it's been decades since I read those....mostly short stories though.


      • #4
        There was one about a grey mare, Lady Suffolk, I quite enjoyed as a teen.

        K-N-S Farm
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        • #5
          Dead Horses by Pat Hewitt - a mystery set at a harness racing track.
          Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
          Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


          • #6
            Cherokee Bill (although it's about a pacer and NOT a racehorse). There is also another one whose title I can't remember---horse not doing well as a trotter, and then owner/trainer and/or boy discovers when horse "breaks", he breaks into a pace. Voila!
            "Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt


            • #7
              You only have part of the Belfarm Star story. Indeed horse breaks it's leg and younger brother threatens vet with a pitchfork and then rigs a sling for the horse and cuts a hole in the floor for injured leg to dangle until it heals. Older brother is in World War 2 and younger brother has a club foot and wants to be an engineer but accepts responsibility for managing the horse for older brother while he is gone. He eventually rigs a shoe extension so he can actually drive and changes the horse from a trotter to a pacer. So he takes her to the Little Brown Jug instead of the Hambletonian. Of course she wins and the older brother is there in the winner's circle. He offers the horse to the younger brother but he wants to go to college.

              My father worked for a newspaper publisher who had a standardbred breeding farm. We grew up on harness racing books. More than once we've looked up the White racing stable at the Lexington Trots after reading Born to Trot.


              • #8
                Some other harness racing fiction books for children include:

                The Phantom Filly by George Agnew Chamberlain (1945)
                Lord Buff And The Silver Star by George Agnew Chamberlain (1955)
                The Good Luck Colt by Genevieve Torrey Eames (1953)
                Old Sam, Thoroughbred Trotter by Don Alonzo Taylor (1955)
                Red Horse Hill by Stephen Meader (1930)
                Cedar's Boy by Stephen Meader (1949)
                The Horse Comes First by Mary Calhoun (1974)
                Small Gains by K.M. Peyton (2004)
                To Race A Dream by Deborah Savage (1994)


                • #9
                  Non-fiction, but an awesome slice of Standardbred history: Crazy Good... the story of Dan Patch.
                  Patience pays.


                  • #10
                    There was one I read in elementary or middle school for a book report...I felt so lucky that there was a horse book on the teacher's list of options! What was it called...AHA! Thank you vacation1, it was "To Race a Dream."


                    • #11
                      Old Sam, Thoroughbred Trotter by Taylor, Don Alonzo, and Bjorklund, Lorence F. [Hardcover]
                      Don Alonzo, and Bjorklund, Lorence F. Taylor (Author)

                      It's not about harness racing per se, but Sam does go in one informal race, and of course he wins. Great illustrations!

                      nonfiction: http://www.amazon.com/Rambling-Willi...7498662&sr=8-1
                      "Rambling Willie; The Horse that God Loved," story of a durable horse's career.


                      "Shame the Devil" is a great story about drug dealing and backstretch intrigue at the harness track, though it didn't get very good reviews - I still like it. I certainly prefer it to the Dick Francis string - I call those one-hour books because that's all they take.

                      My other candidate turned out to be a flat racing story, one of my alltime faves - http://www.amazon.com/Blister-Jones-...7498114&sr=1-2.

                      It's available from Project Gutenberg and Google Books so you can read it for free. There are short stories that follow up on the story of Mr. Sanford and his dream - "Hoofbeats" has them all.
                      "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."