THE KID by Pete Axthelm


Email this review


Originally published as a mass-market paperback in June just after Cauthen won the Kentucky Derby aboard Affirmed, The Kid is off to the races again in a hard-cover edition. Axthelm has updated the text, adding a final chapter that details how Stevie Wonder, as he's known to both railbirds and horsemen, rode on to Triple Crown glory in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Axthelm, a sports columnist for Newsweek, knows his way around thoroughbred racing and puts Cauthen's accomplishments in perspective. He rejects the facile notion of the kid as a prodigy, noting that his allegedly natural gifts are more like ""basic, tediously acquired skills."" Encouraged but not pushed by his trainer-turned-blacksmith father, the mighty mite paid his dues at an early age, exercising countless platers at bush-league tracks and spending hundreds of hours with clockers to develop a sense of pace. So, when he made the racing scene as a licensed jockey at 16, Cauthen was prepared. At 17, he became the first rider to win over $6 million in purses, eclipsing the previous single-year record of $4.7 million held by Angel Cordero. He also sustained four broken bones in a bad spill at Aqueduct. On the lighter side was the discovery--after Cauthen had won 100 races on New York turf--that he had no working papers. Axthelm fleshes out his consistently interesting story with sketches of well-known turf figures. His book gives dedicated improvers of the breed as well as casual TV-viewers a very nice run for their money.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1978
Publisher: Viking