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Out of the Clouds

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780316432238

Price: £20

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In the wake of World War II, as turmoil and chaos were giving way to a spirit of optimism, Americans were looking for inspiration and role models showing that it was possible to start from the bottom and work your way up to the top-and they found it in Stymie, the failed racehorse plucked from the discard heap by trainer Hirsch Jacobs. Like Stymie, Jacobs was a commoner in “The Sport of Kings,” a dirt-poor Brooklyn city slicker who forged an unlikely career as racing’s winningest trainer by buying cheap, unsound nags and magically transforming them into winners. The $1,500 pittance Jacobs paid to claim Stymie became history’s biggest bargain as the ultimate iron horse went on to run a whopping 131 races and win 25 stakes, becoming the first Thoroughbred ever to earn more than $900,000. The Cinderella champion nicknamed “The People’s Horse” captivated the masses with his rousing charge-from-behind stretch runs, his gritty blue-collar work ethic, and his rags-to-riches success story. In a golden age when horse racing rivaled baseball and boxing as America’s most popular pastime, he was every bit as inspiring a sports hero as Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis.

Taking readers on a crowd-pleasing ride with Stymie and Jacobs, Out of the Clouds — the winner of the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award — unwinds a real-life Horatio Alger tale of a dauntless team and its working-class fans who lived vicariously through the stouthearted little colt they embraced as their own.