on 03/20/2010 6:06 AM

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The Fourth annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award drew, perhaps, its strongest field of entries to date, a broad assortment of well-written biographies, autobiographies, journals, and histories. 

While the original intent this year had been to showcase five semifinalists (downsizing from as many as ten in previous seasons), that proved impossible.  Six books were ultimately selected from all of the entries as worthy of consideration for this increasingly recognized literary honor.  (Indeed, its $10,000 prize is the same as that paid to winners of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.)

This year's semifinalists covered broad acreage in terms of style and substance-ranging from an outsized, sleeved coffee table book weighing several pounds and filledwith colorful bells and whistles celebrating the Kentucky Derby... to a modestly produced, unillustrated soft-cover volume tracing the bittersweet story of a long-forgotten Japanese-American jockey.  Others had to do with industry leadership, veterinary care, training methods, and horse rescue.  Each had something important to say about the sport we love and of the special people and animals who makes its engine go.

The finalists will be revealed in the April 10 issue of THOROUGHBRED TIMES and the winner announced during an invitation-only reception at Castleton Lyons in Lexington on April 23.

Book Award semifinalists
 The Training Game: An Inside Look at American Racing's Top Trainers
Author: Karen M. Johnson
Publisher: Daily Racing Form Press

Beyond the Homestretch: What I've Learned from Saving Racehorses
Author: Lynn Reardon
Publisher: New World Library

The Kentucky Derby Vault: A History of the Run for the Roses
Author: Andrew Plattner
Publisher: Whitman Publishing

Kokomo Joe: The Story of the First Japanese American Jockey in the United States
Author: John Christgau
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Keeneland's Ted Bassett: My Life
Authors: James E. "Ted" Bassett III and Bill Mooney
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky

Equine ER: Stories from a Year in the Life of an Equine Veterinary Hospital
Author: Leslie Guttman
Publisher: Eclipse Press
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