By Joe Drape
In Black Maestro, Joe Drape meticulously brings to existence the drama, adventures, romances, and heartbreaks of an not going player within the maximum old occasions of the 20 th century. it's a breathtaking narrative that takes you from pastoral Kentucky to Mob–controlled Chicago, from the pony kingdom of Poland to the chaos of crimson sq., and from freewheeling Paris to the hard–luck American South of the melancholy. it's also a narrative that returns Jimmy Winkfield to his rightful position as an unique American hero.
In 1919, on the age of thirty–seven, as Bolshevik cannon fireplace thundered above, the already epic lifetime of Jimmy Winkfield changed into an odyssey. With a ragtag band of Russian the Aristocracy and varnish squaddies, the son of a black sharecropper from Chilesburg, Kentucky, was once entrusted with saving greater than 250 of the main royal yet fragile thoroughbreds left in crumbling Csarist Russia. They trekked 1,100 miles from Odessa to Warsaw for almost 3 months amid the bloodiest a part of the Russian Revolution, surviving gunfire and starvation....
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Extra resources for Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend
When the races were over, Jimmy discovered that the racetrack offered more tangible rewards as well. When the mare’s owner came to the barn to look in on her, he pulled a ﬁve -dollar bill from his pocket and handed it to Jimmy. In fact, it became a familiar exchange—the mare ran four more times, bl ac k mae stro | 33 won each time, and afterward her owner always shot a crumpled ﬁve spot Jimmy’s way. The bigger outﬁts on the 3-L Kentucky circuit had noticed the new exercise rider with the good seat whose horses always seemed to sparkle in the morning and run lights out in the afternoon.
He was rich, too, pulling down nearly $20,000 a year—as much as Murphy, which afforded him an estate in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Jimmy could touch all these guys. He felt the breeze from their horses as they passed him on the track. He studied how they held their reins so softly but controlled the mammoth racehorses beneath them like yo-yos bl ac k mae stro | 27 on a string, letting them spin on their own on the track for a spell and then reeling them back under control. He asked them how to hold his whip and how to change hands.
These were plungers whose backstories and sense of élan made them among the most important men in horse racing. Frank James, the famous outlaw and brother of Jesse, held court in the grandstand, where rumor had it that he turned the loot from his days robbing banks and trains into a fortune by knowing the quirks and capabilities of every horse on the grounds. Riley Grannan commanded a post in the betting ring each day, as did John “Bet a Million” Gates. Grannan, a Kentuckian and former hotel bellhop, simply gambled for a living, at cards, at horses, and at casinos in mining towns across the West.