William Murray, The Right Horse (Doubleday, 1997)
[originally posted 17Sep2001]
Murray’s The Wrong Horse was one of the truly amusing books in equine literature, a collection of anecdotes that gives ample evidence that Murphy’s Law is a live, well, and an intimate of every person at a racetrack, from the grooms to the president to the long-suffering punters. The Right Horse unfortunately abandons the jocularity for the most part and takes the tone of an instruction manual; an odd choice for a book whose subtitle claims, in part, that the book wants you to have a great time at the track.
Not to say it’s a bad book by any stretch of the imagination; it’s more a question of repetition. If you’ve read more than two handicapping primers, it’s likely you’ve seen a good deal of what’s here in the past. Murray writes well, even when he’s not taking potshots at Mr. Murphy and his law’s application to racing, and the book is certainly readable. I’d just have liked to see more that hadn’t previously been said. ** ½