A brilliant novel that captures the dusty, dark, and beautiful world of small-time horse racing, where trainers, jockeys, grooms and grifters vie for what little luck is offered at a run-down West Virginia track. Tommy Hansel has a plan: run four horses, all better than they look on paper, at long odds at Indian Mound Downs, then grab the purse -- or cash a bet -- and run before anyone's the wiser. At his side is Maggie Koderer, who finds herself powerfully drawn to the gorgeous, used up animals of the cheap track. She also lands in the cross-hairs of leading trainer Joe Dale Bigg. But as news of Tommy's plan spreads, from veteran groom Medicine Ed, to loan shark Two-Tie, to Kidstuff the blacksmith, it's Maggie, not Tommy or the handlers of legendary stakes horse Lord of Misrule, who will find what's valuable in a world where everything has a price.
Random House LCC US
Inside the back gate of Indian Mound Downs, a hot-walking machine creaked round and round. In the judgment of Medicine Ed, walking a horse himself on the shedrow of Barn Z, the going-nowhere contraption must be the lost soul of this cheap racetrack where he been ended up at. It was stuck there in the gate, so you couldn't get out. It filled up the whole road between a hill of horse manure against the backside fence, stubbled with pale dirty straw like a penitentiary haircut, and a long red puddle in the red dirt, a puddle that was almost a pond. Right down to the sore horses at each point of the silver star, it resembled some woebegone carnival ride, some skeleton of a two-bit ride dreamed up by a dreamer too tired to dream. There'd been no rain all August and by now the fresh worked horses were half lost in the pink cloud of their own shuffling. Red dust from those West Virginia hills rode in their wide open nostrils and stuck to their squeezebox lungs. Red dust, working its devilment, he observed to himself, but he shut his mouth. They were not his horses. Medicine Ed led his own horse round the corner of the shedrow. What was the name of this animal? If he had heard it, Medicine Ed didn't recall. It was a big red three-year-old, dumb as dirt, that Zeno had vanned up for the fourth race, a maiden without a scratch on him. A van ride on race day did for many a horse, but this boy had rolled out the van as calm as that puddle yonder, for he felt good and didn't know nothing. True, he had no class. He was the throwaway kind, a heavy-head sprinter who looked like a quarter horse, with a chest like a car radiator. He must not know what was coming, for once he was sore, he might last to age five, with luck. How long would Medicine Ed last? He had been on the racetrack since he was eight years old. After sixty-four years of this racetrack life he, too, was sore and tired, and like the boll weevil in the song, he was looking for a home. He knew he would always have work, long as he could work. But where was it wrote that he had to rub horses till the day he died? And as for the medicine he could do and which long ago gave him his name, best folks forgot about that, and in these parts so far they had. Up ahead was Deucey Gifford walking Grizzly, her moneymaker. Grizzly was the opposite end of the Mound, a used-up stakes horse, a miler, nerved in his feet, who knew everything. Medicine Ed liked to devil her: Why you don't give that old boy his rest? How old Grizzly be by now? Fourteen? fi'teen? He's twelve, Deucey said, like she always said, and he don't need no rest. Grizzly knows what comes next for him in this world, after me, I mean. He likes things the way they are. I bet you done told him, you hard-nose old half-man. That's right. I told him. He'd rather run. Medicine Ed laughed a little. I reckon that Grizzly nerved in all four feet, he said. I know he don't feel no pain. Hell he is. Two's plenty, Deucey snapped. Her watery eyes looked shifty in their pouches, and whether she be lying or not, Medicine Ed couldn't tell. Anyhow Grizzly got heart. He could run without feet, she said. And which he do, Medicine Ed thought, and he walked on with the red youngster. Deucey called back to Ed now: You got something in tonight? Zeno ship up this big three-year-old for the fourth, give him a race. They went their two ways with their night-and-day cheap horses, and suddenly they were wrassling the two of them like broncs. It had come one of them death squawks from an automobile spring, which you heard when some ignorant individual attempted to bust into the backside of Indian Mound Downs by the back gate. The four horses still on the hot-walking machine taken off, galloping foolishly in the pink cloud round the pole like they did on any excuse. It was a dirt-caked and crumpled white Pontiac Grand Prix, ten years
Noch keine Bewertungen oder Rezensionen
Schreiben Sie die erste Rezension
Fragen & Antworten
Stellen Sie Käufern und Verkäufern Fragen zu diesem Produkt