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Book Review

The American Racing Manual 2003
Edited by Steve Davidowitz
Daily Racing Form Press, 2,016 pages, June 2003, hardcover

This annual Bible of racing statistics is back with even more than before. Breaking from tradition, it boasts a colorful new slip-cover featuring a color photo of reigning Horse of the Year, Azeri, winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Traditionalists are still taken care of, however, as the familiar red and gold embossed cover with the American Racing Manual logo is still under the dust jacket.

Publisher Steve Crist made returning the Manual to its former self a top priority when he took over the Daily Racing Form in 1998 and he has done an admirable job since. The record 2,016 page volume covers racing for 2002 and incorporates most of the favorite features of the previous versions.

This edition includes full charts for all North American graded races in 2002, past performances and three-cross pedigrees for all Eclipse Award winners, lifetime past performances for graded stakes winners plus the 20 greatest Thoroughbreds of all time, lifetime records for the top money-winning horses, jockeys, and trainers, world and North American time records, fastest clockings at each distance run at North American tracks, performance records for every horse, jockey, and trainer in North America, histories of all North American graded stakes including winning Beyer figures since 1992, and an expanded 2002 Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup review and historical records section, track diagrams and info for all North American tracks and some European, and much, much more.

The "Track Facts" and "Trends in Racing" sections were expanded this year, as was the Year in Review section, with comprehensive articles written by Jay Privman (covering American racing), Bill Tallon (Canadian racing), Alan Shuback (foreign racing), Karen Johnson (steeplechasing), and Glenye Cain (breeding and sales). And handicapper-author Steve Davidowitz, who has been the principal Editor of ARM since 2000, helps out new fans in his "Handicapping Principles and Wagering Strategies" section.

If you are looking for statistics on speeds, Beyer figures, wagering, auctions, track records, or just about anything else statistical regarding horse racing you can imagine, it is likely in this book. Also included are informational sections like the "Rules of Racing", pari-mutuel takeout by state, and a directory of racing organizations. It truly is an invaluable resource for research in many areas.

The biggest change this year, and by far the most welcome, is the price. Sold at $60 for years, this year's edition has a list price of just $40, a price point which makes it affordable to more fans and clearly in response to competing products that sell for even less but lack the long tradition and volume of data the venerable ARM commands. You just cannot get more bang for your buck, and we strongly recommend this volume for all racing fans. It belongs in every racing person's bookshelf.

The American Racing Manual 2003 has a list price of $40.00 and is available from for $28.00.

Rating:     5/5

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