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The Big Horse

3.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  38 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
"The big horse," in racing vernacular, is the animal that brings fame and fortune to a stable. He's the heavyweight champion, the All-American quarterback, the four-legged Michael Jordan of the barn. Seabiscuit was once Tom Smith's "big horse." A generation ago, Secretariat was Lucien Lauren's. In 2003, Funny Cide was Barclay Tagg's. In sixty years as a trainer, P. G. John ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 29th 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2004)
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Dec 23, 2015 Russ rated it really liked it
"Tagg seemed an appealing guy. He way cynical, pessimistic, dour, irritable, sardonic, acerbic, and hot-tempered: all the qualities I most admire in a man" (p. 59).

"But some of these horses are totally no good. Absolute losers. I can't help it. I have found, nine out of ten times, the bastards run to their pedigree. If they run at all. Some of them simply can't run" (P.G. Johnson, trainer, p. 126).
Rena Sherwood
It's hard to believe that this is the same author of the dynamic, tension-filled "Fatal Vision." This book is absolute crap. The blurb states this book is "heartwarming" -- only if you count GERD as heartwarming. The Big Horse is a grim look at the world of thoroughbred racing in 2003 with a specific focus on the cranky PG Johnson, the owner/breeder/trainer of Breeder's Cup Classic winner Volponi. Also dwells on McGuiness' personal relationship with the sport. Actually, if he'd only written abou ...more
Apr 30, 2012 Will rated it it was ok

An oddly written book, although I understand what the author tried to do.

The book is written in chapters that bounce back and forth. One chapter deals with the present moments and the life and times of Volponi. Then the next chapter goes back in time to show moments of the horse's trainer and how his life influenced the present moments in the next chapter.

It was o.k.... and especially getting close to Derby time it was a good, and fairly quick read. I would recommend it for horse racing fans lo
May 14, 2010 Elaine rated it it was ok
If you want to know about the races since the 1920s, especially tose at Saratoga, or if you are interested in the life of PG Johnson, you will like this book. If you are interested in the horse, Volpini you won't find much here.

The writing is fragmented between parrts of the life of Joe McGinnis, the author, Johnson, and the racing industry - back and forth, back and forth.
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Joe McGinniss (born 1942) is an American author of nonfiction and novels. He first came to prominence with the best-selling The Selling of the President 1968 which described the marketing of then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon, and has authored 11 works since that time. His latest book is The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.
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