Burning From the Start
By Jane Schwartz
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345450005, 336pp.)
Publication Date: April 30, 2002
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During two short seasons at the track, Ruffian was hailed as the greatest thoroughbred filly of all time. Unbeaten in her first ten starts, she shattered one record after another, dazzling crowds with both her beauty and her brilliant speed. Then tragedy struck on the afternoon of July 6, 1975. Ruffian broke down–on the lead–in the middle of a match race at Belmont Park. Later that night she had to be destroyed.
Ruffian: Burning from the Start is the story of this exceptional filly, a horse so dominating, so powerful, that writer Walter Farley once suggested she was more like the fictional legend, the Black Stallion, than any colt he had ever seen. Beginning with her earliest days in Kentucky, the book follows Ruffian at every stage of her career and through the agony of her final hours– venturing behind the scenes of the racing world and exploring the politics and personalities that came together to shape this extraordinary filly’s fate.
“Compelling, informative, and ultimately touching. This is a first-class book; Ruffian deserves no less.”
–The Seattle Times
“A COLORFUL STORY . . . Ruffian was nothing if not a heartbreaker. Her story, dramatically recounted by Jane Schwartz, epitomizes both the adrenaline-pumping glory and gut-wrenching ruthlessness inherent in the sport of horse racing.”
–The Washington Post Book World
“[AN] EXCEPTIONALLY FINE BOOK . . . The world of racing–the people, the smells, politics, emotion–is what the writer wants to show us. And show us she does, brilliantly.”
“Jane Schwartz has written, with considerable grace and evident love, a superb, painstakingly researched portrait of this most remarkable of thoroughbred fillies.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review