Stud: Adventures in Breeding

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9781582341842: Stud: Adventures in Breeding

The most expensive thirty seconds in sports.

Every year, on Valentine's Day, the great Thoroughbred farms open their breeding sheds and begin their primary business. For the next one hundred and fifty days, the cries of stallions and the vigorous encouragement of their handlers echo through breeding country, from the gentle hills of Kentucky to the rich valleys of California.

First appearing as an article in The New Yorker, Stud takes you into this strange and seductive world. We move from Lexington's Overbrook Farm, where the world's leading sire, Storm Cat, a lightly raced eighteen-year-old, brings in around thirty million dollars a year; to the auction halls, where sheiks and bookies (known more casually as the Doobie Brothers and the Boys) bid millions for Storm Cat's well-bred offspring. We visit Three Chimneys, where the twenty-seven-year-old Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, a senior citizen by equine standards, makes a rousing return to active duty after spinal surgery, and stroll through Running Horse Farm, on the banks of the Rio Grande, where a nearly unmanageable colt, Devil Begone, has found peace and prosperity servicing desert mares like Patty O'Furniture.

Cheap stud, top stud, old stud, wild stud, from the Hall of Fame horse to the harem stallion with his feral herd, Stud looks at intimate acts in idyllic settings (and the billion-dollar business behind them), providing a voyeuristic glimpse of just how human the equine world can be.

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About the Author:

Kevin Conley is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His writing has appeared in Details, US Weekly, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. He lives in New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

Funny, insightful and surprisingly engaging, this part travelogue on Kentucky bluegrass country and part guide to equine breeding offers far more than one might initially expect. The world's priciest stud, Storm Cat (a direct descendant of Secretariat), earns a whopping $500,000 per tryst. The randy stallion's "muck" is used by Campbell Soup to fertilize its mushroom fields. Conley, a New Yorker staff writer, takes readers to an auction where two camps a stoic group of Irishmen known in horse circles as "the boys" and a modish collection of sheikhs inexplicably called "the Doobie Brothers" square off on fillies and colts fetching upwards of $3 million. But Conley doesn't stop there: he considers the advancement of civilization through the history of horses. He argues that through horse trading the nomads of Kazakhstan brought their proto-Indo-European language to most of Europe and South Asia. "History had begun," he writes, "built on the way a horse can cover ground." Conley also illustrates the racial and socioeconomic backdrop of horse country with rather telling accounts of the interactions between black and white, blue collar and blueblood that shape the equine community. The upshot is a vividly equine-centric view of social, cultural and economic human history.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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