on 03/18/2015 5:07 AM

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2014 Book Award Top-Three

Castleton Lyons is delighted to announce the three finalists for the ninth annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. The judges were very impressed with the quality and diversity of this year’s submissions that highlighted the increasing importance that this award has attained in world literary circles. The finalists include a look back 50 years ago at a legendary racehorse’s classic season; a well-penned novel about a struggling third-tier jockey; and an iconic collection of archival racing photos.

 As always, the winner will earn a $10,000 prize along with a custom-designed Tipperary Irish crystal trophy depicting Castleton Lyons’ famed Irish round tower. Runners-up receive checks for $1,000, plus trophies. Past winning authors have included Eclipse and National Book Award winners, a Pulitzer Prize-nominee, a noted European sports writer, and renowned journalists at some of America’s premier newspapers and magazines.                                                                                      

The Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award was launched in 2006 by the late Dr. Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair airlines and owner of Castleton Lyons farm near Lexington. Originally called the Castleton Lyons Book Award, the name was changed in 2007 to honor Dr. Ryan, who passed away that fall. Current Castleton Lyons president, Shane Ryan, has since hosted the award annually in memory of his father.

 The winner will be announced at an invitation-only cocktail reception on the evening of April 15, held in the loft space above Castleton Lyon’s historic stallion barn. 

 Judges for the 2014 award are: Kay Coyte, managing editor of the Washington Post-Bloomberg News Service; TVG-HRTV broadcaster/producer Caton Bredar; and David Owen, freelance sportswriter and winner of the 2013 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award for Foinavon: The Story of the Grand National’s Biggest Upset.

 Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington will be showcasing the award in a display and will stock all three finalists’ books. For more information, contact Betsy Hager at:

 The finalists in alphabetical order are:

 Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation

Author: Kevin Chong

 A well-researched study of the great Northern Dancer’s 1964 classic campaign when the undersized champ captured the first two jewels in the Triple Crown, only to fall short of immortality in the Belmont. Chong focuses not only on the horse himself, but on his colorful connections: Canadian industrialist owner, E. P. Taylor, debonair South American trainer Horatio Luro, and fiery tempered jockey, Bill Hartack.        

 Offerings from a Rust Belt Jockey

Author: Andy Plattner

 Flannery O’ Connor Award-winner Andy Plattner, previously a Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award finalist with his 2008 coffee table history Kentucky Derby Vault, returns with the fictional tale of a small-time journeyman jockey named Carl Arvo. Short, but well-crafted, it is a story about love, ambition, gambling, risk, and luck in the often unforgiving world of horse racing, alternately funny and poignant, and packed with powerful dialogue.

  RaceLens: Vintage Thoroughbred Racing Images

Author: Philip Von Borries

 Compiled over a two-decade span by an Eclipse Award winning historian, this artistic volume showcases the Keeneland Library’s archival photo collection and features the work of many of racing’s most legendary racing photographers. Included in RaceLens are some of the sport’s iconic images along with never-before-seen shots of old-time champs, early jockeys, and long-defunct racetracks. Pictures are accompanied by well-written text, with forward by past Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award winner Bill Mooney. 

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