03/18/2015 11:51AM

Finalists announced for 2014 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award


The three finalists for the ninth annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award have been announced, with the winner to be revealed April 15.

The winner will earn a $10,000 prize along with a custom-designed Tipperary Crystal trophy depicting Castleton Lyons’s famed Irish round tower. Runners-up will receive checks for $1,000, plus trophies. Past winning authors have included Eclipse and National Book Award winners, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, a noted European sports writer, and renowned journalists at some of America’s premier newspapers and magazines.

The winner will be announced at an invitation-only cocktail reception held in the loft space above Castleton Lyons’s stallion barn.

Judges for the 2014 award are Kay Coyte, managing editor of the Washington Post-Bloomberg News service; TVG-HRTV broadcaster and producer Caton Bredar; and David Owen, freelance sportswriter and winner of the 2013 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award for “Foinavon: The Story of the Grand National’s Biggest Upset.”

The Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award was launched in 2006 by the late Dr. Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair airlines and owner of Castleton Lyons farm in Lexington, Ky. Originally called the Castleton Lyons Book Award, the name was changed in 2007 to honor Ryan, who died that fall. Castleton Lyons president Shane Ryan has since hosted the award annually in memory of his father.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington will be showcasing the award in a display and will stock all three finalists’ books.

Following are the three Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award finalists for 2014 in alphabetical order.

“Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation”

Author: Kevin Chong

An in-depth study of Northern Dancer’s 1964 classic campaign, when the famously undersized champ with an outsized heart captured the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, only to fall just short of Triple Crown immortality. Chong focuses as well on the future leading sire’s flamboyant connections: Canadian industrialist owner E.P. Taylor, debonair South American trainer Horatio Luro, and fiery-tempered but supremely talented jockey Bill Hartack.

“Offerings from a Rust Belt Jockey”

Author: Andy Plattner

Plattner presents the fictional tale of a frustrated, small-time journeyman jockey named Carl Arvo. It is a short but well-crafted novel about love, ambition, gambling, risk, and luck in the often-unforgiving world of horse racing. It is alternately funny and poignant and packed with powerful dialogue.

“RaceLens: Vintage Thoroughbred Racing Images”

Author: Philip Von Borries

This artistic volume was compiled over two decades by an Eclipse Award-winning historian. Utilizing the archival collection from Keeneland’s renowned library and featuring the work of legendary racing photographers of the past to the near-present, “RaceLens” showcases some of the sport’s most iconic images along with never-before-seen shots of old-time champs, early jockeys, and long-defunct racetracks. Photos are accompanied by well-articulated captioned text, with a foreword by past Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award winner Bill Mooney.