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The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse
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The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,631 ratings  ·  96 reviews

“For anybody who loves horses, and for all of those who are thrilled by horse racing and the behind-the-scenes drama of the track, The Horse That God Built is must reading."
--Michael Korda, author of Horse People

Most of us know the legend of Secretariat, the tall, handsome chestnut racehorse whose string of honors runs long and rich: the only two-year-old ever to win Horse

Kindle Edition, 356 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Tracy Schulz Definitely about both, I would say equally, but also about so much more. It is about the unscene, untold stories of the the unsung workers of the…moreDefinitely about both, I would say equally, but also about so much more. It is about the unscene, untold stories of the the unsung workers of the racetrack. This book has definitely made my list of all time favorites. If you liked Seabiscuit, you will love this book. The author tells a hard, unflinching account of the horse industry, racing in particular, by someone that loves both, with the groom and Secretariat the stars!(less)
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,631 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-rated
I remember watching Secretariat race during his triple crown races and marveling at his speed and greatness, but this is the first book I have read about his uniqueness. I am especially interested in horses, so this book was of special interest to me, but I believe that it would be so even if you do not have this special interest in the horse.

This is a love story of sorts between a Great Horse and a Great Groom. Eddie Sweat respected and loved Secretariat so much that I'm sure he was a huge par
Jan 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Confession: Secretariat was and is a passion. I suppose one had to be to-the-bone horse mad from birth, and live in that particular time, with high crimes and misdemeanors in the White House, the morass in Vietnam ending as one might expect...and along came a superb, gorgeous horse who did everything he was asked better than any other horse ever had with panache.

This book, while it shares that passion (see the subtitle, World's Greatest Racehorse, which spurs the questions, Man O' War? Eclipse?
Dec 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse-stuff
Raymond Woolfe has written the definitive book on Secretariat, but Scanlan uncovers the untold side of the great horse's story with his examination of his relationship with his groom, Eddie "Shorty" Sweat. (The key is not to let the book's title mislead you; the phrase "The horse God built" is used in the book as a description of the horse, that's all.)

Though a bit scattered and jerky at times in its narrative, Scanlan writes with such feeling that it's easy to forgive him for not being Laura Hi
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horses, sports
This book is about an unusual side of horse racing, the relationship between the horse and the groom. Secretariat won the 1973 Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes). Many books have been written about him, about his breeder, his owner, his jockey, and his amazing racing career. But nothing has ever been written about Eddie Sweat, Secretariat's groom. Eddie Sweat loved, nurtured, fed, bathed, protected, and nursed Secretariat. It is an interesting question to ask, "how much ...more
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I bought this book a year ago, and only after the Kentucky Derby did I decide it was time to pick it up. I'm a huge Thoroughbred racing enthusiast, and after such a great Derby I figured I should read about arguably the greatest racehorse of all time.

I really loved this book. It wasn't Seabiscuit by any means, but I learned a lot about Secretariat and his groom Eddie Sweat. You so rarely think about the grooms and their contribution to the sport, but they're so important. I thought this was a to
Randy Daugherty
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's the 70's, we are still reeling from Vietnam and the scandals rocking Washington,and along comes a champion in the form of a big red horse, Secretariat. The only horse listed in ESPN's top fifty athletes of the twentieth century.
Stories had been written about the owners, jockeys and the horse himself. Scanlan sets out to write another book about the great horse but instead gets another thought as he learns of all those involved with Secretariat. He instead decides to tell the story of the on
Jul 02, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, it's been OKAY. I'd rather read about the horse than about the groom. The two other racehorse books I read, Seabiscuit and Man O'War are excellent in comparison. I couldn't put them down. This one I can put down...but we'll see...the verdict is still out...

Just one day later and I've completed a 180. This book, once I stopped having expectations of it being a tale of Secretariat and stopped being disappointed at it not being a tale of Secretariat, opened my eyes to the author's purpose o
Catherine Thompson
You can debate whether Secretariat or Man o' War was the greatest Thoroughbred of the 20th century for years. That's not what Lawrence Scanlan does in this book. This book is about the relationship of one man and one horse: Edward "Shorty" Sweat and Secretariat.

Eddie Sweat was Secretariat's groom from the time he began racing as a two-year-old until the day Big Red (the horse's nickname) was sent to the paddocks of Claiborne Farm as a stud-horse. Sweat lived and breathed, ate and slept that hors
Kerrilynn Pamer
This book isn't really well written but I"m enjoying the story only because Secretariat is such an amazing animal.
I think only horse people would have interest in this one as it's not particularly well written.
Kristen Coffin
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, bookstagram
"Horses evoke emotion in us. It has to do with the curvature of their bodies. Their sleek shape, their softness. It’s the beauty thing. What sells the horse is the beauty."


I once owned a horse when I was in high school, one whom I could only afford because he was gelded. He had Secretariat bloodlines, through Secretarial Queen, and reading this book just drove the point home how amazing horses are and how much I love them.

Secretariat is one of the greatest athletes of the past 100 years. Not jus
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved Secretariat when I grew up. I was a little kid, influenced by everything I read or watched and in the summer of 73 it was all about Big Red. Especially if you were a reader of Sports Illustrated, which of course, everyone was back in the day.

The horse captivated me and the nation.

This book is interesting, and there are some parts that are fascinating. But it wanders at times, aimlessly talking about this and that and then this again. To the point I found myself skimming the text waiting
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horses
The author spent a lot of time describing photos that he's seen of Secretariat and his groom, which always kind of bothers me. How hard is it to get permission to publish photos? Only one of the photos he describes is featured in the book.

I get what the author was trying to do with this book, shedding a light on the unheralded Eddie Sweat, Secretariat's groom. But the author seems to lose the narrative from time to time, especially when he spends one long chapter describing super fans of Secreta
David Schlack
3.5 - The Horse God Built by Lawrence Scanlan was a bit of disappointment since the books emphasis is on the horse-human bound between Secretariat and his groom, Eddy Sweat. Scanlan does share many Secretariat facts and his racing successes and what an extraordinary thoroughbred he was. Eddy Sweat was as extraordinary as a groom. Eddy loved and cared for Secretariat as if he was his own son and Secretariat reciprocated that love. Scanlan gives a glimpse into the “backside” of racing success and ...more
Margo Kaestner
This book goes behind the scenes of the racing tracks in North America with the context of telling the story of Secretariat. There's a strong emphasis on the relationship between Secretariat and his devoted groom Edward "Eddie" Sweat and the bond this horse and human shared throughout his stunning racing career. A touching read for anyone fascinated with horse and human connection in the racing scene.
Terri Loehr
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I was 10 years old when Secretariat won the triple crown. I absolutely loved Secretariat and Ronnie Turcotte...they were the reason I asked my dad to teach me how to read the racing form! They are still my favorites today! I enjoyed reading this book and remembering the events that happened.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a hard one for me to get through. It sort of jumped around a bit. It was a good book, I enjoyed learning more about Eddie Sweat and Secretariat, but it never really grabbed my attention and made me want more. I appreciate the authors research and interviews with everyone and it was neat hearing other perspectives about Eddie, Big Red, and life at the track.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely narrative about the human-horse bond. It possesses the ease of a conversation over a meal between close friends, until it becomes statistic heavy for a bit. It ends in the style it began, leaving you with the reminder of how profoundly we can impact we those around us, horse or human, and how long lasting those relationships are held dear.
Mister Pickles
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good look in to some aspects of the horse racing world. In places it was hard to read and there seemed to be some duplication or data or stories, but overall a decent read... and a fine horse and Eddie too...
Barry Shettel
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a horse Secretariat must have been but, even though Secretariat is the main character of the book, it causes me to wish I could have met his groom, Eddie Sweat. There was a genuine love and respect between Eddie and Secretariat. Touching.
Sally Smith
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scanlan writes of Secretariat and his groom. It's an interesting read and also highlights how poorly grooms are treated in the racing world. I lost respect for Penny Chenery, Secretariat's owner.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Michael Jordan of horses.
Christie Barbe
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book! Details of Secretariats life and his Groom.
Kelsey Rae
The title is a little misleading. I honestly thought I was going to read a book about Secretariat, buuuuut it was half way him, half way Eddie Sweat, and a dash of other horses and their grooms. Overall a good book, but mildly disappointed that it was not solely about the world's greatest racehorse. Regardless, highly recommend this for horsey folk. Good read.
For something I was expecting to be an easy-read and palate cleanser (yes, I’m moping over Outlander), this book was surprisingly complex and interesting.

Horse racing doesn’t sit right with me. To me, the sport screams horse-as-machine; it goes fast when we jump in the saddle, goes faster still when we throttle toward the finish line, and suffers in silence as its health and well-being become dismissed as non-issues in the eyes of the consumer (owner, trainer, jockey, etc.). Shattered bone? Col
Julia Broadbent
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Horse God Built by Lawrence Scanlan is a thrilling story of one of the greatest racehorses in history, Secretariat. This book goes through all of the stages of Secretariats life from when he was born up until the day he died. This book also showed the unconditional love that a groom could have for the horse he took care of up until his final days. The Horse God Built portrayed the story of an incredible bond between a horse and his handler.
This book has many strengths as well as some weakne
Morgan Sawyer
Ms. Emmett
Academic English 10
4 April 2013
“The Horse God Built” by Lawrence Scanlan tells the inspirational story of a young black men living in South Carolina who struggled keeping a job before finding the career that was made for him. Eddie “Shorty” Sweat, Secretariat’s groom, the only two-year-old ever to win horse of the year, the Triple Crown winner in 1973, and the only horse listed on ESPN’s top fifty competitor of the twentieth century; Eddie was an amazing buddy, defender
Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I liked this book, but not as much as I thought I would.It proported to be a book about the great race horse Secretariat and his groom Eddie Sweat, exploring the great love and deep connection between the two. I f that is what the book truly explored it would have been a fascinating read for me, a HUGE Secretariat fan ever since he won the Kentucky Derby on my 9th birthday.

That is not, in my opinion, what the book ended up being about. The book spent very little time talking about Secretariat, a
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is a bit misleading because this book ended up being a bit more about Secretariat's groom Eddie Sweat than the horse. But overall it's a very thorough study of both as the author really did his research on Secretariat and the people who surrounded him, most especially his groom who spent more hours of the day with him during his racing years than anyone. I appreciated the perspective on racing grooms who become so attached to their charges they almost feel like their horses are their k ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Despite what came across to me as a little lacking in central focus, I learned much from this book about Secretariat and his camp, about the racing world, and a little more about the horse world in general.

I started out reading a book about Secretariat, albeit as promised, from a grooms eye view. Then the book seemed to become more about the groom, Eddie Sweat. Towards the end Scanlan shifted focus again to the plight of 'the backstretch,' those nearly migrant workers who receive little pay or
Roxanne Riccio
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This writer is amazing, he has taken his time and gone into the real story, behind the scenes, this book is about the truth. Mr. Sweat was a hard worker and a noble man. I am truly enjoying this book, the front cover is beautiful. I was at Claiborne Farm last week and took the tour is was amazing. My cousin Ron Turcotte rode that horse in 1973 and won the Triple Crown, my Mom Donna Culbert and her sister Judie Spraske continue to shine every time we hear Secretariat's name because we are so prou ...more
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From Macmillan Books:

Lawrence Scanlan is the author of six bestselling books, including Wild About Horses and Little Horse of Iron. He is the coauthor, with Ian Millar, of Riding High, and has written three books for younger readers: Big Ben, Horses Forever, and The Horse’s Shadow. Scanlan worked closely with Monty Roberts on his acclaimed book The Man Who Listens to Horses. Winner of three Canadi