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Perfect Timing: How Isaac Murphy Became One of the World's Greatest Jockeys

by Patsi B. Trollinger
Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Published by Viking, 2006
32 pages
ISBN: 9780670060832

Ages 6-9

In an author’s note, Patsi B. Trollinger notes that the phrase “perfect timing” in this biography of African American jockey Isaac Murphy refers not only to his skill and intuition as a racer, but also the time in which he lived. Born in 1861 near Lexington, Kentucky, he began racing in 1874. His career took place in a window between the end of slavery (if he’d been a slave, this talented jockey would not have been allowed to keep his winnings) and before heavy resistance to black jockeys developed among the white jockeys in the sport. Trollinger’s spirited narrative follows Murphy’s early training and races, building to a riveting description of his career-making win before 40,000 people in 1890. Murphy went on to win the Kentucky Derby three times, as well as many other races. Exquisite Impressionistic-style paintings by Jerome Lagarrigue accompany first-time author Trollinger’s debut.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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