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Book Review

The American Racing Manual 2005
Edited by Paula Welch-Prather
Daily Racing Form Press, 2,190 pages, July 2005, hardcover

This annual Bible of racing statistics is back for its 110th year with even more information than before. As was done last year, the new color slipcover is back once again, this time depicting 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper winning the Breeders' Cup Classic, but traditionalists are again taken care of with the timeless binding design that has been used for years. This year the cover is blue, with the usual embossed gold lettering. After a few years with Steve Davidowitz at the helm, Daily Racing Form's Special Projects Editor Paula Welch-Prather took over in 2004 and also edited this year's edition.

At a record 2,190 pages, 74 more than the 2004 edition, this massive volume covers racing for 2004 and incorporates most of the favorite features of the previous versions. This edition includes full charts for all North American graded races in 2004, past performances and three-cross pedigrees for all Eclipse Award winners, lifetime past performances for graded stakes winners plus the 29 greatest Thoroughbreds of the 20th century, 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 2004 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.

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.

Once again the extensive data is accompanied by the Year in Review section, with comprehensive articles written by Jay Privman (covering American racing), Bill Tallon (Canadian racing), Alan Shuback (foreign racing), Joe Clancy (steeplechasing), and Glenye Cain (breeding and sales). New this year is an expanded Canadian racing section, including a history of Canadian graded stakes and classics from 1994 to the present. As well, handicapper Brad Free helps out new fans in his "Handicapping Principles and Wagering Strategies" section, which includes a full chapter from his book Handicapping 101, and detailed instructions on how to read the Daily Racing Form's past performance lines.

Sold at $60 for years, this year's edition, like last year's, has a list price of just $40, making it affordable to more fans. You just cannot get more bang for your buck, and we strongly recommend this volume for all racing fans. It truly is an invaluable resource for research in many areas, and belongs in the personal library of any follower of racing.

The American Racing Manual 2005 has a list price of $40.00 and is available from for $26.40 with free shipping in the US.

Rating:     5/5

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