An amiable, anecdotal memoir of a professional writer's perdurable, albeit oft-unrequited, love affair with thoroughbred horses. New Yorker regular Murray, author of the Shifty Anderson racetrack-mystery series (I'm Getting Killed Right Here, 1991, etc.) and other books, recalls how, as a preppy teenager, he contracted an unshakable case of horse fever once he was introduced to the pleasures of the track by a cousin's sporty husband. Having pursued his long-shot avocation while making a solid career for himself as a journalist and author, Murray (a well-born fugitive from Park Avenue) now offers a witty, often rueful account of life as an improver of the breed. A sometime owner, as well as inveterate bettor who appreciates the thrills of victory and agonies of defeat, he provides perceptive assessments of what makes individual punters, jockeys, trainers, handicappers, grooms, and a host of other racing denizens run. Nor does Murray scant the magnificent--if frequently frustrating and heartbreakingly fragile- -beasts on which the track's two-legged animals focus at world- class as well as also-ran courses on the county-fair circuit throughout the US. Covered in addition is the widely ignored reality that gambling underpins the industry that calls itself the sport of kings. An idiosyncratic tour of domestic racing likely to appeal to horseplayers as well as their civilian counterparts.