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History of the Kentucky Derby, 1875-1921   By:

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John Lawrence O'Connor's "History of the Kentucky Derby, 1875-1921" provides readers with a comprehensive and meticulously researched account of the early years of America's most prestigious horse racing event. O'Connor's passion for thoroughbred racing shines through his writing, offering an engaging and informative narrative that will captivate both history enthusiasts and horse racing aficionados.

From the moment you delve into this book, it becomes clear that O'Connor's dedication to his subject matter is unparalleled. He leaves no stone unturned, meticulously chronicling the Kentucky Derby's birth in 1875 and tracing its evolution throughout the first half-century of its existence. The author draws from an impressive array of primary sources, including newspapers, race programs, and personal accounts, to construct a vivid and accurate depiction of the Derby's early years.

One of the book's strengths lies in its ability to transport readers back in time, immersing them in the sights, sounds, and controversies that surrounded the Kentucky Derby during its formative period. O'Connor skillfully recreates the social and political climate of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, providing readers with a rich understanding of the cultural context in which the Derby unfolded. This contextualization heightens our appreciation for the various challenges faced by the Derby's organizers and underscores the race's significance in American sporting history.

Moreover, O'Connor excels in profiling the key individuals who shaped the early years of the Kentucky Derby, both on and off the track. From the pioneering vision of Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., who founded the race, to the legendary jockeys, trainers, and owners who left an indelible mark on the Derby's legacy, each character is explored in depth, shedding light on their motivations, victories, and occasional scandals. The author's attention to detail and knack for storytelling allows readers to develop a personal connection with these historical figures, making their triumphs and failures all the more compelling.

Yet, as much as O'Connor delves into the characters and races that defined the Kentucky Derby's early days, he also unearths the racial inequalities and societal prejudices that marked this era. He does not shy away from addressing the exclusion of Black jockeys from the race, shedding light on the deep-rooted racism prevalent in American horse racing during this period. By highlighting this painful aspect of the Derby's history, O'Connor encourages readers to reflect upon the broader societal dynamics that influenced the sport and ignites necessary discussions on the evolution of racial equity.

If there is one minor drawback to the book, it is the occasional complexity of the narrative. O'Connor's meticulous research sometimes translates into dense passages of information that may overwhelm casual readers. Yet, for those who have a genuine interest in this subject matter, these details will be eagerly devoured.

In conclusion, "History of the Kentucky Derby, 1975-1921" by John Lawrence O'Connor is a compelling and informative read that expertly brings to life the early years of America's most celebrated horse racing event. O'Connor's meticulous research, engaging storytelling, and thoughtful exploration of societal dynamics make this book an essential addition to the shelves of both racing enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

First Page:

HISTORY OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY 1875 1921

by

JOHN L. O'CONNOR

Copyright 1921 John L. O'Connor

CONTENTS

PREFACE FIRST DERBY 1875 SECOND DERBY 1876 THIRD DERBY 1877 FOURTH DERBY 1878 FIFTH DERBY 1879 SIXTH DERBY 1880 SEVENTH DERBY 1881 EIGHTH DERBY 1882 NINTH DERBY 1883 TENTH DERBY 1884 ELEVENTH DERBY 1885 TWELFTH DERBY 1886 THIRTEENTH DERBY 1887 FOURTEENTH DERBY 1888 FIFTEENTH DERBY 1889 SIXTEENTH DERBY 1890 SEVENTEENTH DERBY 1891 EIGHTEENTH DERBY 1892 NINETEENTH DERBY 1893 TWENTIETH DERBY 1894 TWENTY FIRST DERBY 1895 TWENTY SECOND DERBY 1896 TWENTY THIRD DERBY 1897 TWENTY FOURTH DERBY 1898 TWENTY FIFTH DERBY 1899 TWENTY SIXTH DERBY 1900 TWENTY SEVENTH DERBY 1901 TWENTY EIGHTH DERBY 1902 TWENTY NINTH DERBY 1903 THIRTIETH DERBY 1904 THIRTY FIRST DERBY 1905 THIRTY SECOND DERBY 1906 THIRTY THIRD DERBY 1907 THIRTY FOURTH DERBY 1908 THIRTY FIFTH DERBY 1909 THIRTY SIXTH DERBY 1910 THIRTY SEVENTH DERBY 1911 THIRTY EIGHTH DERBY 1912 THIRTY NINTH DERBY 1913 FORTIETH DERBY 1914 FORTY FIRST DERBY 1915 FORTY SECOND DERBY 1916 FORTY THIRD DERBY 1917 FORTY FOURTH DERBY 1918 FORTY FIFTH DERBY 1919 FORTY SIXTH DERBY 1920

PREFACE

With no pretense to authorship or claim for originality on the part of the compiler, this work is offered as a reference book... Continue reading book >>




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