LEXINGTON, KY. -- David Owen’s book, Foinavon: The Story of the Grand National’s Biggest Upset, was honored with the prestigious Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award at a reception hosted by Castleton Lyons on the evening of April 9. The award, worth $10,000 to the winner—equal to that given the Pulitzer Prize for literature and the National Book Award—also comes with a Tipperary crystal trophy in the form of the Lexington-based farm’s landmark stone tower. The reception, which drew an eclectic crowd of racing enthusiasts, members of the media, political figures, academics, and fellow authors, was held for the eighth time in the loft above the historic stallion barn at Castleton Lyons.
The other two finalists were Shelley Lee Riley, who documented her 1992 classic quest in Casual Lies: A Triple Crown Adventure; and Dorothy Ours, for her historical look back at the 1938 Grand National Steeplechase winner in Battleship: A Daring Heiress, A Teenage Jockey, and America’s Horse. Ours was a finalist in the inaugural edition of the Book Award for her book on Man o’ War. Each finalist received $1,000 and a crystal trophy.
The late Dr. Ryan established the award in 2006 to recognize top-caliber writing in Thoroughbred racing. He passed away the following year, after which the tradition was continued by his son, current Castleton Lyons president Shane Ryan.
This year’s panel of judges included Kay Coyte, Washington Post-Bloomberg News Service managing editor, Eclipse Award-winning photographer, and AHP Award-winning writer; Caton Bredar, award-winning journalist and HRTV broadcaster and producer; and Patrick Smithwick, a lifelong horseman, accomplished steeplechase rider, and winner of the 2012 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award.
Previous winners of the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award:
2012—Patrick Smithwick, Flying Change: A Year of Racing and Family and Steeplechasing
2011—Milt Toby, Dancer’s Image: The Forgotten Story of the 1968 Kentucky Derby
2010—Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule
2009—James E. "Ted” Bassett and Bill Mooney, Keeneland’s Ted Bassett: My Life
2008—Rudy Alvarado, The Untold Story of Joe Hernandez: The Voice of Santa Anita
2007—T. D. Thornton, Not By a Long Shot: A Season at a Hard-Luck Horse Track
2006—Joe Drape, Black Maestro:
For more information, contact Stuart Fitzgibbbon at Castleton Lyons, (859) 455-9222.