Veteran journalists Linda Carroll and David Rosner have been named joint recipients of the 13th annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, presented by Castleton Lyons. The winners were announced at an evening reception on April 10th in the Ryan family's historic Castleton Lyons stallion barn, near Lexington, Ky.
Carroll and Rosner won for Out of the Clouds, The Unlikely Horseman and the Unwanted Colt Who Conquered the Sport of Kings, which chronicles the Cinderella tale of legendary trainer Hirsch Jacobs and the gritty “people's horse,” Stymie, as they ascended from obscurity to fame and glory during the 1940s — while also serving up a slice of America's own story. Since its publication last spring, Out of the Clouds has been an Amazon.com bestseller in the categories of sports biographies, sports histories, and horses.
“This rags-to-riches story checked off all the boxes for me,” noted Kay Coyte, lead judge for the award. “It was beautifully written and thoroughly researched, reading more like a novel than a scholarly text. Horse racing in those days may have been recorded in black and white, but authors Carroll and Rosner brought out the Technicolor in telling the stories of these two champions and their supporting cast of characters.”
Co-judges Caton Bredar and Jayne Moore Waldrop agreed on the quality of writing and research involved, with Bredar adding that the winning book was “delightful and satisfying on so many levels … I think anyone, even a very casual horse fan, would enjoy it.”
Linda Carroll has had bylines in The New York Times and Today.com, and in 2013 won the prestigious Peabody Award for her work on an NBCnews.com series on poverty. David Rosner, who began his career as a reporter for Newsday, has collected multiple Associated Press awards for investigative reporting and sports writing. The authors previously teamed to write The Concussion Crisis, Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic (2011) about traumatic brain injuries in sports; and Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry (2014).
As winners of the 2018 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, Carroll and Rosner received a check for $10,000, along with a Tipperary crystal trophy in the shape of Castleton Lyons' iconic stone tower.
Other finalists for 2018 were: Dixie Luck, a collection of short stories and a novella by previous Book Award winner Andy Plattner; and Around Kentucky With the Bug!, a father's journal of his son's first year as a jockey, by Patrick Lawrence Gilligan. Each received $1,000 and a smaller version of the winner's trophy.
The competition was launched in 2006 by the late Dr. Tony Ryan, to recognize the best in book-length writing about horse racing. Past winners have included a recipient of the National Book Award, and several Eclipse Award-winning writers. Since Dr. Ryan's passing in 2007, his son Shane has carried on with the award to honor his memory.
“It would be gratifying to Dr. Ryan, I think, to see how the contest has grown and has inspired writers in so many genres to focus on the industry and sport,” Bredar said. “The quality of submissions, overall, was higher than ever before, and narrowing down the semi-finalists was one of the toughest jobs I've encountered as a judge.”
Submissions for the 2019 Dr. Tony Ryan Award must be received by December 31, 2019. For further information on rules and guidelines, contact Betsy Hager at (859) 455-9222, or at [email protected].
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