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Likely to due to the immense popularity of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Churchill Downs has launched this new annual publication to celebrate the winner of the previous year's Kentucky Derby. It is a beautifully done coffee table size book with over 120 photographs of every aspect of Barbaro's Kentucky Derby experience. Although the price is a bit high, it is a very well made book with a padded leatherette cover, glossy dust jacket, and extra-thick pages with vibrant color. The book is mostly photos with just enough text to guide the reader while he or she experiences the images.
It starts by setting the stage with basic info about the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, and Barbaro, then the photos begin. First up is the spectacle of the Derby with the crowds, the hats, the celebrities, and all the atsmosphere that makes the Derby so special. Next the main show starts, with complete coverage of Barbaro's Derby day from the walkover to the race to the winner's circle. It ends with bios of his connections, a chart of the race, and an overview of his injury and treatment. The book was completed before his death, so take that into account when reading as it makes it sound like he is still fighting to recover.
The photos are what make this book worth getting. Not only do you get the normal racing photos you would expect, but lots of behind the scenes photos, shots from all parts of the race, and unusual views that you don't usually get to see. A team of 14 photographers from official Derby archivist Kinectic Corporation captured the over 120 images included in the book and some are large pictures that span two pages, but all are high quality and a pleasure to view. Most of these are shots you will not have seen before anywhere and truly give you the feeling of being there.
Usually I am a bit suspicious of new annual collectible items being added to the glut of Kentucky Derby stuff already produced, but this one is a good idea and truly worth buying. If you are a fan of Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby, or even just racing in general, you will enjoy the stunning images in this book. If you loved Barbaro, it is probably the best memento you could get of him and the way we all want to remember him, flying over the ground winning the Kentucky Derby by 6 1/2 lengths. Just to make it better, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Laminitis Fund at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kentucky Derby 132 Review has a list price of $28.00 and is available from Amazon.com and Secretariat.com.
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