From the Publisher

Patrick Smithwick has written an unusually moving memoir about growing up in the hell-bent-for-leather world of Thoroughbred racing as the son of Hall of Fame steeplechase jockey A.P. “Paddy” Smithwick. Racing My Father is the story of a son working alongside his father throughout summer mornings, and then hopping in a “hot car,” windows up, heater blasting -- so his father can sweat off a few more pounds -- and driving his father to the track where the races will be held in the afternoon.

Paddy Smithwick was a natural. He was a charismatic figure. He was the greatest steeplechase rider in America in the 1950s and ’60s, winning all the big races, leading the country in races won four times, dominating the sport with his style, ability, heart, and gentlemanly demeanor.

Patrick Smithwick is also a natural. As a jockey, he won steeplechase races. As a writer, he’s won awards. There are hints of the innocence of Huck Finn as Smithwick starts off his account of serving his apprenticeship with his father. The innocence ends when his father is paralyzed in a bad fall. Yet, the youthful Smithwick helps his father work his way back into racing, and the father-son, trainer-rider team ends up in the winner’s circle at Saratoga Springs.

Smithwick has recreated his own Yoknapatawpha County -- with its gritty backsides and polished clubhouses, its knotty characters and sleek racehorses. Racing My Father is not just another “horse” book. It is a fast-paced memoir ranking in the stakes race category with Russell Baker’s Growing Up, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood, and Beryl Markham’s West With the Night.

Racing My Father is a breathtaking ride over hurdles, with a whipping and driving finish, that catapults the father-son team of Paddy and Patrick Smithwick back into the winner’s circle.
Published: Eclipse Press on
ISBN: 9781581501407
List price: $5.00
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