Since the grand and somewhat unexpected success of Seabiscuit, there has been a small herd of horse racing books and Horse of a Different Color: A Tale of Breeding Geniuses, Dominant Females, and the Fastest Derby Winner Since Secretariat is a wonderful new addition. Its author, Jim Squires, former editor of the Chicago Tribune, left a lifetime of journalism to take up horse breeding on a small farm in the famed Kentucky bluegrass country and, against all odds, bred Monarchos, the steel-gray stallion that won the Kentucky Derby in 2001. It would be a good story in anybody's hands, but told by Squires, with his self-deprecating wit, charming, disarming candor and unwavering sense of pace all of which he maintains in his reading this story of glory heads right for the winner's circle. It's a great ride, with eccentric characters, two-legged and four, exciting races and an upstart-insider's take on the arcane intricacies of the horse business and the infectious madness of Derby Fever.

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