John Carter wins tenth Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award with Warriors on Horseback
Lexington, Ky.—Warriors on Horseback, written by John Carter and published by Bloomsbury Publishing, has been named winner of the tenth annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award. The announcement was made at an evening reception on April 13 at the Ryan family’s Castleton Lyons, near Lexington. In a year when books about jockeys were a dominant voice in horse racing publishing, Carter’s well-researched work stood out and took home the $10,000 prize.
Carter, a noted British sports writer with a life-long interest in racing, previously authored the books Newmarket: A Year at the Home of Racing; First Past the Post: History of Horse Racing; and Play the Masters. He co-authored The Stupid Footballer is Dead.
The other two finalists were Turning for Home, by Natalie Keller Reinert; and Ride to Win, by Bob Fortus and Gary West.
In addition to a $10,000 check, the winner received a Tipperary Irish crystal trophy formed in the shape of the farm’s distinctive medieval-style tower. Runners-up received $1,000 each, along with smaller versions of the trophy. In beautiful springtime weather, approximately 100 people attended the reception held in a loft above the historic stallion barn, home these days to three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti and Grade 1-winning Justin Phillip.
Warriors on Horseback was met with enthusiasm from all three of this year’s judges: Eclipse Award winner Kay Coyte, recently retired managing editor of the Washington Post-Bloomberg News Service; TVG broadcaster Caton Bredar, who will soon be covering the Kentucky Derby for the 12th consecutive year for Louisville’s NBC affiliate; and Andrew Plattner, winner of last year’s Book Award for his novel Confessions of a Rust Belt Jockey, and currently Visiting Writer at the University of Tampa.
“Carter’s very personal preface laid out his premise for Warriors on Horseback—that jump and flat-racing jockeys in Britain and beyond are a strange and courageous breed, and that how they tick begs for deeper investigation,” said lead judge Coyte. “He accomplished his goal with elegant prose and thorough reporting in this book aimed at the casual horse racing fan, but just as gratifying to those of us with a working knowledge of the sport.”
Plattner called Warriors on Horseback “smartly written all the way” … while Bredar noted that she could “feel the author’s passion for the subject and learned a lot in the reading.”
The Castleton Lyons Book Award was instituted in 2006 by noted philanthropist and global businessman Dr. Tony Ryan. Since his 2007 passing, the name has been changed to honor its founder, and it has been sponsored annually by Dr. Ryan’s son, Shane, current president of Castleton Lyons.