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Book Review

The Calumet Collection: a History of the Calumet Trophies
by Judy Marchman and Tom Hall
from Eclipse Press, 112 pages softcover

If you have never been to see the Calumet Trophy collection in the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, you really should make an effort to get there. Seeing all that racing history in one room is almost a religious experience to a die-hard racing fan and finally there is a book that captures at least part of that experience. The Calumet Collection is a combination of the history of Calumet and their most famous racers and a photo catalog of some of the more impressive parts of the collection. Although it is not a very long book, it is just the right length to leave you in awe of what one farm could accomplish.

The book starts with a foreword by Margaret Glass who was the secretary at Calumet for 42 years. Then you get a four page summary of the history of Calumet followed by a description of the collection. The 524 pieces have an appraised value of $4-$5 million and range from traditional julep cups to wildly ornate baroque silver pieces to modernistic cone shaped trophies. The book is then laid out similarly to the exhibit in the museum with chapters dedicated to the decades Calumet raced, starting in the 1930's and ending in the 1970's.

For each decade you have the biographies of their best runners of the period followed by the trophies won during that time period by those horses and their stablemates. The biographies are short, one page summaries with a photo, pedigree, and race record on the facing page. Two to six pages of trophies are presented after each biography with a full color photo and a description and history for each. Paging through the book brings back memories of walking through the museum gazing in amazement at all that hardware.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who has seen the collection and wants to relive the experience or to anyone who hasn't seen it yet to give them a taste of racing history at its best. The only extra thing I would have liked to see included was more trophy photos.

The Calumet Collection has a list price of $16.95 and is available from for $13.56.

Rating:     4.5 / 5

Photos of the entire trophy collection at the museum

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