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Headless Horsemen: A Tale of Chemical Colts, Subprime Sales Agents, and the Last Kentucky Derby on Steroids

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  69 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A pointed and irreverent critique of thoroughbred racing's breakdown, by a prominent journalist turned horse breeder

Jim Squires was in trouble. He had gone from one business seemingly intent on committing suicide to another, both led over the cliff by visionless leaders. First it was the newspaper bean-counters' blind adherence to the demands of Wall Street. Then in horse
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Times Books (first published August 4th 2009)
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Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoyed "Studs" by Kevin Conley
The casual horseracing observer knows about the triple crown, and might even be familiar with some of the horses listed in the record books. The record books, however are only the tip of the iceberg. Great horses also lose – by a nostril, by a whisker – at the wire. They get bumped at the gate, boxed in at the stretch, and forced wide at the turn. Steroids can make a winner. The breeding shed can be a second proving ground. Horse-racing is a complicated business, so take another look at the reco ...more
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, horse
So someone railed against the recent articles in the NY Times about horse racing, saying that author had some vendetta because of losing or something. I found this strange because the NYT's article was written by four people and the complainer couldn't be bothered to name the person she was railing against.

It's why I hate discuss lists because you have people like that.

I think she was thinking of Jim Squires because he does seem to have an axe to grind here. Can't say I as I blame him. The racin
Joe Drape
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim Squires makes you laugh and rage about a grand old sport that can't stop fighting among each other and shooting itself in the foot. He's an amiable raconteur - this is a must for horse libraries. And yes, he's a buddy of mine and writes for The Rail, but don't hold that against him.
Lianne Morgan-Sands
What a treasure to find this book at my local 'previously loved' book store. I bought it as a gift for a relative who manager for his brother, Hugo Dittfach who was top Canadian jockey in the 1950's & 60's. He also raced for the likes of Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall in Hollywood.

Decided I'd give it a read before I gave it as a gift. I'm a longtime. horse addict/rider. What a fascinating story, written by a terrific journalist who also has a great sense of humour and humanity.

A great '
An in depth book, one that assumes the reader is familiar with the big names of thoroughbred breeding, as well as the ins and outs of how the business runs. I imagine it was a quite sharp critique of the authors horse breeding peers, as he appears to be on a first name basis with the subjects of his dissection. You need a Swiffer to clean up after all the name drops, and half of those are from horses. There were few shocking reveals due to how the book was written. It led well from topic to topi ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse-racing
Headless Horsemen is a confusing jumbled rant written by an angry self-important breeder who, despite all of the success he's achieved with his small-time operation, feels abused. When he didn't receive bids in excess of $250k for Monarchos' full sister, it was because of back room deals (the filly made only one start and was sold three years later as a broodmare prospect for $290k - the buyers, not Squires, were the big losers). When his horses didn't meet their reserve prices, it was because o ...more
Chris Porter
Ouch. Or in /Muppet Treasure Island/ speak: "Jimmy Jim Jimmy JimJim Jim JIM!"

Mr. Squires, what were you doing? There are too many numbers, too many names, too many horse names.

Your last couple of chapters are fine. The part where you brag about your fighting skills is not:

"Having gone to grammar school in a rough part of Nashville, I had grown up fighting in the streets . . .. Although Indian Charlie was probably twenty years younger than me, I figured to do him a lot of damage in the five minut
Joan Colby
This is Squires, a former Chicago Tribune editor's second book on the Thoroughbred industry. Squires is a longtime horseman who got into the Thoroughbred business after leaving the Trib and moving to a Kentucky horse farm. He struck luck in breeding Monarchos, a Kentucky Derby winner, and his first book told the story of this venture in a highly entertaining manner. This one though, is an expose of the use of steroids and double dealing at the sales that permeates the industry. Squires is soured ...more
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a life-long horse lover and having read this book, I understand why I distrust almost everyone in the horseracing industry. Those trainers, breeders and owners who do it for the love of the horse and the sport, are few and far between. Hopefully their hard work with getting the "juice" out of the racing industry will eventually come to fruition.
Caitlynn Leathers
The headless horsemen is a book about mysteries/ goose bumps/ chillers/ and scary myths. It's about headless horsemen on Halloween who basically haunt/ follow/ or even murder/ harm people. They scare people to death, giving them heart attacks and such others...
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Former editor of the Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel, Tribune Washington Bureau chief, political and investigative reporter,city editor Nashville Tennessean. Media spokesman for Ross Perot's 1992 Presidential Campaign. Founder and owner Two Bucks Farm, Versailles, KY, breeder of 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. Graduate Peabody College, Vanderbilt University; Nieman Fellow, Harvard Unive ...more
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