Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend by Joe Drape

By Joe Drape

In Black Maestro, Joe Drape meticulously brings to existence the drama, adventures, romances, and heartbreaks of an not likely player within the maximum old occasions of the 20th century. it's a breathtaking narrative that takes you from pastoral Kentucky to Mob–controlled Chicago, from the pony nation of Poland to the chaos of pink 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, used to be 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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Sample text

They had notched eight of the first thirteen Latonia Derbies, and six of the thirteen Latonia Oaks, the big race for fillies. Two years earlier, in 1895, the white jockeys had complained that they were being kept off the best horses. The protest didn’t get far. The turfmen of the western tracks were used to trusting their beloved thoroughbreds to blacks—first as slaves, then as the help, then as uneasy neighbors. They didn’t have to drink with them, but they also didn’t have to worry about the bookies getting to them and paying them to pull on a horse so a long shot could come in and fill the bookies’ pockets.

When the starters were satisfied each horse and rider was relatively still and pointing in the right direction, the signal was given and the webbing was pulled high into the air. They were off and Jimmy immediately failed his first lesson; Jockey Joe broke next to last and any hope Jimmy had of securing a ground-saving trip on the rail was lost. Bunched in a pack, Jimmy sat as still as possible trying to get Jockey Joe to relax in his stride amid all the hee -hawing and chatter of the other boys.

Bub May liked the progress Jimmy was making and decided to take him, along with a string of horses, north to Chicago, where a meeting at Hawthorne Race Course was about to begin. It would be an eventful and fateful trip for Jimmy Winkfield, but one he had no qualms about making. He was alone. His parents, George and Victoria, had died several years earlier, knowing only that their youngest, smallest, and quietest child was smitten with horses and intended to find a life taking care of them. Jimmy was estranged from his siblings; they were much older and had married, settled into lives as farmers rooted in the Bluegrass.

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