04/20/2017 8:47PM

McGraw wins Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award


Author Eliza McGraw won the 11th annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award on Thursday night for her book “Here Comes Exterminator! The Longshot Horse, the Great War, and the Making of an American Hero.”

The award recognizes the best book focused on any aspect of Thoroughbred racing published in the previous year, with the winner receiving a $10,000 prize. The winner was announced during an invitation-only reception at Castleton Lyons in Lexington, Ky., a property owned by the family of the late Ryan.

Two additional finalists won $1,000, and all three finalists received Tipperary crystal statuettes of Castleton Lyons’ signature stone tower.

“Here Comes Exterminator!” examined 1918 Kentucky Derby winner Exterminator, who won 50 races from 1917-24 and captured the public’s imagination in the closing months of World War I into the Roaring Twenties.

McGraw is a resident of Washington, D.C., and has written two academic books in addition to her Tony Ryan Book Award winner. She is a contributing writer for Equus magazine and also has been published by The Chronicle of the Horse, Blood-Horse, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, the Washington Post, the New York Times racing blog, and Raceday 360.

The winning book was published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, with its first edition released in April 2016.

The other two finalists for the award were Daily Racing Form chief photographer Barbara D. Livingston for “Old and New Friends,” and Mark Shrager for “The Great Sweepstakes of 1877: A True Story of Southern Grit, Gilded Age Tycoons, and a Race That Galvanized a Nation.”