Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America

Charles Leerhsen, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (355p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9177-4

In this spirited narrative, Leerhsen, an editor at Sports Illustrated , tells the now-forgotten saga of Dan Patch, a race horse that at one time drew an estimated 60,000 people to a single event in 1903. Admitting from the outset that “the events of this book may seem as if they transpired on another planet,” Leerhsen delivers a mesmerizing look into a strange corner of American sports and folk history when Dan Patch became a household word, earning roughly $1 million a year at a time when, Leerhsen notes, “the-highest paid baseball player,” Ty Cobb, was making $12,000. The arc of Dan Patch's career involves a range of often unscrupulous entrepreneurs: his first owner, Dan Messner Jr., who overpays by mistake for an injured pace horse and whose drunken decision to breed the pace horse with a wild stallion results in Dan Patch's birth; the horse's second trainer, Myron McHenry, who despite his conflicts with Messner grooms the horse for success; and M.W. Savage, the horse's final owner, who makes millions from Patch-related merchandise while overworking an obviously tired animal. But the heart of the book is Dan Patch himself, a horse with an almost human capacity for calm and determination that deserves to be rediscovered by a modern audience. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4165-7926-7
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-0-7432-9178-1
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