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Horse People

, 224 pages
June 2010



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Horse People

Thoroughbred Culture in Lexington and Newmarket

The world of Thoroughbred racing is glamorous, secretive, dangerous, and seductive—the sport of kings and the poor man's obsession. While the spectacle of racing stirs the imagination, it belies the ruthless business that lies beneath.

This engaging original study demystifies this complex world by comparing centers of excellence in Britain and North America. Drawing from intensive field work in Suffolk's Newmarket and Kentucky's Lexington, Rebecca Cassidy gives us the inside track on all players in the industry—from the elite breeders and owners to the stable boys, racetrack workers, and veterinarians. She leads us through horse farms, breeding barns, and yearling sales; explains rigorous training regimens; and brings us trackside on race day.

But the history of Thoroughbred racing culture is more than a collection of fascinating characters and exciting events. Cassidy's investigation reveals the factors—ethical, cultural, political, and economic—that have shaped the racing tradition.

Rebecca Cassidy is a senior lecturer in the anthropology department at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is the coeditor of Where the Wild Things Are Now: Domestication Reconsidered.

"Combining thorough research with an excellent writing style, this volume goes beyond such personal accounts as Jane Smiley's A Year at the Races (2004) and Nan Mooney's My Racing Heart (2002). Not about the sport of horseracing per se, this is an entertaining and enjoyable anthropological study of the relationships between humans and animals."

"Cassidy has created an engaging study that would appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in horse racing."

"[A] comprehensive and entertaining book."

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