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Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America's Premier Racing Dynasty
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Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America's Premier Racing Dynasty

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  354 ratings  ·  41 reviews
An award-winning writer chronicles the tragic story behind the downfall of horse racing's crown jewel.

Founded in 1924 by Chicago mogul William Monroe Wright, Calumet Farm was to the world of thoroughbred racing what the New York Yankees are to baseball -- a sports dynasty. The stable bred so many superstars that it became the standard by which all achievements were measure
Paperback, 480 pages
Published December 15th 1995 by Holt Paperbacks (first published April 1994)
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  354 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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The Lexington Bookie
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you live in the area, you can still drive past the farm, and see for yourself the images that Auerbach describes- the white double fencing, the devils-red trim on white washed barns, the acres of famous Kentucky bluegrass dotted with horses. But the Calumet you see isn't the dynasty that existed prior to 1990, and reading about the fall brought chills to my spine.
If you're a horse junky like me, or interested in historical novels (Kentucky history in particular), horse racing and breeding, or
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This was a truly great read.

It's a fact based book on one of Kentucky's premier Thoroughbred farms, rise and fall.

It also answers questions as to what happend to the great race horse Alydar.

I couldn't put it down.

I recommend to everyone.

Happy reading!
Kim B
Wild Read!
Having grown up riding saddlebreds and familiar with Kentucky (lifetime member of the American Saddlebred Horse Association), this was a fascinating back drop to horse country history! Even got my horse trainer interested in reading it.
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book for anyone in the horse racing industry. I read this while I was working for an insurance company that insured Thoroughbred racers. Bought it for my dad and he loved it as well. Great non-fiction read!
Joseph J.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: racing/Alydar fans; students of 1980s capitalism
Not the glory of the race track here. In 1978 I was an Alydar fan in his triple crown duels with Affirmed. I would never see of meet Alydar; when I twice saw and was awed to be in Affirmed's triple corwn presence I felt rather guilty. But this is the tale of Alydar, greed and financial mismanagement leading to his possible murder at stud. This seedy story plays out against the grandeur of fabled Calumet Farm in the Kentucky bluegrass. More financial and personally dysfunctional than sports, this ...more
David R. McBride
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a horse race fan for most of my life, I remember when this was happening in the 80's, but I didn't know all of the facts. That being said , although I learned a lot that I didn't know, I would have liked to lean more about the people involved and less about the money wasted by that deadbeat J.T. Lundy! There isn't much on the internet about the Wright family or Lundy for that matter although he did serve prison time! I do believe there is more to Alydar's death than meets the eye but I don ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author did an amazing job researching the information it took to write this book. I will warn you, to get the overall idea of what was happening to Calumet, she had to present lots of numbers! A there are LOTS of numbers! The story jumps around a bit, but she did a good job. Its a story of hope and determination to build a successful racing facility, only to have it crushed by a few greedy men. I think the lesson here is if you have a business, be involved and never sign papers unless you ha ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
In 1978 one horse was only a hair's breadth from the winner (Affirmed) in each race of the Triple Crown. That horse was Alydar. An amazing horse, the opening pages of this non-fiction book tells a spine-chilling story of the questionable accident that led to his demise, which attributed to the downfall of Calumet Farms.

From the first page, I was drawn into this terrific story. You don't have to be in the thoroughbred industry to love this book. I recommend it to anyone.

5 stars (out of 5)
Rachel Harper
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book, but gave it three stars because the middle of the book gets pretty dense with all the wheeling and dealing and sorting the people involved in Lundy’s schemes. I thought the author could have broken this down more for the reader. Still very interesting and shocking at what they got away with.
Megan Barnes
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very well written book that illustrates the rise and fall of Calumet Farm, a top thoroughbred dynasty for years. It starts from the beginning and ends with the family still struggling with the aftermath. It was very detailed, however some spots were a bit dry. I will read again to go over the history again.

Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was directed to read by an enthusiast of thoroughbred horse racing. Focused on the history of Calumet Farm, it delves into the excitement and dark corners of horse racing beyond the track. Share in the sport of kings in this highly detailed account. Can get bogged down in the numbers, but helped me to see the broader picture of this industry than one could ever imagine.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A solid investigative piece I'm glad I read, but it lacked something that I don't think I can name.
Chris Connor
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For a horse lover this book is the ultimate tragedy. Greed was responsible for the horrific death of the famous thr
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America's Premier Racing Dynasty is a wonderful book on the field of Equine Business. The book takes place at the dynasty of Calumet; the home of successful racehorses for sixty years. The horses there include Alydar, Citation, and Whirlaway.

Why did I give it four stars?
When I first started this book, I was ready to read about the racehorses careers. I wanted to read about racing experiences from Alydar and Affirmed, Citation, and of
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sex it up~~Sex 'till you can't stand up~~Sex 'till you die~~

Book Review of Wild Ride~~@8.5.2013~~~

Alydar was one of the premier race horses and stud horses of our lifetimes. A magnificent racing thrill, in the breeding shed after his career, he ginned out more Grouped winners than anyone of recent memory~~save Seattle Slew.

His life was tragic as he became a shattered chess piece in a sordid game of bait and switch and physical abuse as a stallion.

Gorgeous Calumet Stables~~beloved to all in the b
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Maybe I was particularly fascinated with this because I lived in Lexington for a year in 1960, the Mrs. Markey era. Calumet was FABULOUS, and I used to say if I was re-incarnated I wanted to come back as a stud at Calumet. It was so interesting to read about the rise of Calumet and then to continue on to learn of the many many small and large events that spelled its Fall. It is well-written and well documented.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting especially after visiting Lexington with it's beautiful green rolling pastures and white fences. It is an inside story of the thoroughbred horse racing industry and the fall of the Calume Farm. A story of greed and the corruption that destroyed a landmark insntitution.
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
intriguing read for anyone who knows even the littlest bit about American racing history and some of the great horses of the 70's and 80's. Made me want to head over to the Bluegrass and roam around Lexington! Although its a fairly dense book, it was an easy read in terms of keeping your attention and staying focused. Very well written and highly recommended!
Bryant Cornett
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's been a few years since I read this book, but I still remember what a great story it was. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone with an interest in horses, Kentucky, the lives of the wealthy, the failures of family. In the backdrop of Kentucky bluegrass, this is an incredible story and we'll worth the read.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you did know this was non fiction you might think it was a thriller written by a good novelist. But alas it is a recounting of perhaps with the exception of the Madoff debacle the looting and destruction of the finest thoroughbred horse farm in history. To read this account you get inside view of this industry.
Amber MacPherson
Sep 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: horse racing enthusiasts, anyone who likes a good scandal
I used to follow horse racing quite a bit and picked up this book back then to learn more about Calumet Farm. Though it drags a bit in places with some dry business-speak, overall it is interesting and informative. I also recall it sounding pretty objective, but it's been a while.
Neil Crocker
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
If this 400-pager was a 200-pager, I would recommend it. This book sort of tells us how Calumet Farms went down the drain during the 10-year period that the farm was run by JT Lundy. Except we never really do find out where all the money went.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Inspiring, shocking, corruption in the Thoroughbred Horse Industry, one man whose wealth was built with hard work and determination, only to be destroyed by a later generation of family.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good read only if you are old enough to remember when Alydar was racing and the sport was dominated by American old money owned racehorses.
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
VERY well researched, a little heavy on the numbers and legal language
Erin Bonno
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, interesting read. Well paced, goes into great detail without becoming too dry.
Jul 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, sports
Insightful look into the horse racing industry.
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was pretty long, but very informational. I liked it because it drew the picture of how huge horse farms work/operate, and how rough they can be as well. Very good read!
Karla Martinsen
if this is the truth, it angered me!
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