Read Ruffian: Burning From the Start by Jane Schwartz Online


During two short seasons at the track, Ruffian was hailed as the greatest thoroughbred filly of all time. Unbeaten in her first ten starts, she shattered one record after another, dazzling crowds with both her beauty and her brilliant speed. Then tragedy struck on the afternoon of July 6, 1975. Ruffian broke down–on the lead–in the middle of a match race at Belmont Park. LDuring two short seasons at the track, Ruffian was hailed as the greatest thoroughbred filly of all time. Unbeaten in her first ten starts, she shattered one record after another, dazzling crowds with both her beauty and her brilliant speed. Then tragedy struck on the afternoon of July 6, 1975. Ruffian broke down–on the lead–in the middle of a match race at Belmont Park. Later that night she had to be destroyed.Ruffian: Burning from the Start is the story of this exceptional filly, a horse so dominating, so powerful, that writer Walter Farley once suggested she was more like the fictional legend, the Black Stallion, than any colt he had ever seen. Beginning with her earliest days in Kentucky, the book follows Ruffian at every stage of her career and through the agony of her final hours– venturing behind the scenes of the racing world and exploring the politics and personalities that came together to shape this extraordinary filly’s fate....

Title : Ruffian: Burning From the Start
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345450005
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 344 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ruffian: Burning From the Start Reviews

  • Bonnie
    2019-03-12 07:31

    I can remember seeing Ruffian run in the match race that ultimately caused her to be euthanized. Sadly, her death brought many reforms to the often ugly sport of horse racing and management of injuries, as well as greater attention to breeding.Ruffian was a gorgeous animal and an amazing athlete. Even though I knew how the story ended, I wanted to know more about her, her owners, trainers, and all those around her. This book gave me that insight, and even the tears in my eyes at the end didn't tarnish the story. Well-written, easy read - a must for horse lovers.

  • Cat
    2019-03-03 13:56

    This is the book that Ruffian deserves. Schwartz does justice to this immensely talented horse, and to the people around her--Frank Whiteley, her trainer, her groom, exercise riders, jockey and her owners. I came away with a great respect for all of them. Schwartz alternates chapters dealing with Ruffian's training and racing, her past, with chapters leading up to the match race with Foolish Pleasure. It's a style that could be confusing, but she handles it with skill. It's a technique that also builds tension as it leads up to the race, even when you know the outcome. The last few pages, when Ruffian is put down after a heroic effort to save her, are written lyrically, tragically, beautifully. You'll need a big box of tissues. I did.If I could ask Jane Schwartz for more insight or analysis, it would be in regard to the mad house confusion that surrounded Ruffian when she was taken back to her stall after the race, and then to the equine hospital across the road from the Belmont race track. Other than that, it's a wonderfully researched book about a great racehorse, written in a style that reads easily and quickly as one of Ruffian's early morning workouts. But be sure to have the tissues handy for the last five pages.

  • Caroline
    2019-03-10 07:28

    I can't decide why I liked this book. I don't know that it was necessarily as well-written as some of the other thoroughbred biographies (Lauren Hillenbrand's, specifically), but I still enjoyed it.The end we all know. And of course I cried. A lot. But, the rest of the story was still interesting to read. I guess what makes this less exciting is that Ruffian never really had a chance to really show off what she could do. Man'o'War got his fair time on the track, as did Secretariat, and Seabiscuit battled back from so much that even those victories are impressive enough. But Ruffian's career was cut short when she was only just beginning to approach the peak of her career. The book is less exciting than others only because she was never given the chance to be as exciting as she could have been. All in all, it's a pretty good story with an incredibly sad ending. Worth a read if you love horses, but probably not interesting enough for those who are not horse people.

  • Wendy
    2019-02-21 10:43

    This book was moving, informative, and brilliantly put together. Schwartz certainly did her homework in the research department, and she writes with enough skill and subtlety to touch you deeply, without having to resort to petty tricks. It helps that the story of Ruffian is a tragedy, but I believe Schwartz's skill contributed a lot, particularly after reading William Nack's take on the subject. If you want to know what I thought of that, you may find your way to that review, thank you.Ruffian was magnificent and brilliant in the same way lightning is--brighter than everything around it, but short-lived. This book captures Ruffian's moment, and you won't ever forget it.

  • Anne
    2019-03-24 06:41

    A in-depth biography of a remarkable filly who was born to run. Ruffian is unique in the racing world not only for her speed but for her heart and will to win. She is buried entire near the flagpole at Belmont Park, facing the finish line. Ruffian lived a life of triumph, courage and tragedy, one of the foremost race horses of the 20th century.

  • Patricia Swenson
    2019-03-24 07:49

    I remember crying for 3 days after Ruffian was put down. I also re-evaluated my desire to be a vet. And learned that I was not cut out to be one. I would not be able to put a horse down, nor allow one who needed to be put down to live in pain, and be able to live with my decision.

  • Kristin
    2019-03-11 07:56

    I loved this book. A perfect combination of in-depth history about all the people and events around Ruffian without the story being weighed down with minutiae. I could have lived without the description of Ruffian's conception -- I think non-horse people don't care about how horses are bred, and horse people already know how it works. But otherwise the story was amazing. And the ending... I won't spoil it, but it was a perfect way to honor Ruffian's life and close the story. A must-read for horse lovers, but be aware that it's terribly sad. From a political standpoint, the story provides a convincing argument that our racing Thoroughbreds are too fragile in the pursuit of ever-increasing speed. Racehorses should not be inbred to fragile lines like Native Dancer -- Eight Belles is yet another a perfect example that while the resulting horses are amazingly fast, their legs are not made to support their weight in serious competition.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-07 06:30

    I have loved horses ever since I can remember. They are such beautiful, majestic animals. I take advantage of every opportunity just to be near them and watch them whether grazing in a field, jumping or performing dressage in a show ring, running in a race, teaching children to ride or taking care of broken or injured people in a therapeutic program. Given this love, I was one of the millions watching the match race back on that day in 1975. When I came across this book, I wanted to learn more about Ruffian herself and how she affected others. As I got closer to the end of the book, I found myself not wanting to finish it. I was hoping that maybe by not finishing it history would be changed. Of course that is foolish, so I continued on with tears in my eyes. What a gallant, courageous, proud, wonderful horse she was…

  • Rena Sherwood
    2019-02-28 14:54

    Vivid and highly detailed look at the all-too-brief years of possibly the fastest filly ever to be bred n America. Walter Farley would state that the horse closest to The Black Stallion was Ruffian. She was everything good and everything horrendous about thoroughbred racing. Some good photos and Daily Racing Form cartoons reproduced here.I used to have a first edition of this, but I think I sold it before I ran away to the UK for five years. I have replaced a handful of my long-lost horse book collection, I will not be replacing this one. It's like the Terry Gilliam movie "Brazil" in that seeing it once is enough. Reading this again (especially what Ruffian did as she was being euthanized) would probably kill me through grief.[image error]

  • Lisa Hoenig
    2019-03-09 13:45

    A detailed account of Ruffian's brief, bright flame of a life. Loved that the horse herself is so much of a presence in the book, alongside all of her handlers, trainer, owners and riders. Schwartz's telling reveals Ruffian's amazing heart -- big enough that Walter Farley said she was the closest thing he ever saw to his fictional Black Stallion. Undefeated, she set or equaled records in every race she ran. Although you know how the story will end, the book is riveting all the way through. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of a racehorse's early training. Ruffian's tragic breakdown and death are covered in honest, brutal detail. Although medical care of racehorses has changed dramatically since 1975, many of the improvements occurred because of her story and the demands of her fans. An excellent tribute to a star athlete.

  • Tracy
    2019-03-22 11:33

    If you love horse racing, read this book. If you love animals, read this book. If you love the drama of sports, read this book. It's a tough read, esp towards the end when it deals with Ruffian's breakdown and death, but you will come out of this read knowing the true heart and courage of this incredible filly. One of the greatest racemares of all time, Ruffian's record was a picture of perfection until her final start.This book will hit you hard, but it will make you marvel at the majesty of the Thoroughbred.

  • Laura
    2019-03-22 07:56

    OK, I'm a sucker for horse books. Ruffian is a good story, about an incredible filly, but not as well written as Seabiscuit: An American Legend. I think part of the problem is that, inspite of her name, Ruffian was a filly whose training and story, while filled with great promise and blistering speed, were mostly uneventful until the bitter end. As a reader and horse lover, I'm left mourning the passing of a racing great whose short career will always be plagued by the question: How much more could she have done?

  • Stephanie
    2019-02-28 12:27

    Just as good as I remembered it. I like how it doesn't focus on the tragedy that became of her life but rather what she accomplished and left unfinished. The author doesn't fault the racing industry or trainers or any of the above - as she shouldn't - it was a horrible accident that couldn't be avoided. Great writing about an American Racing Legend and an insightful look into the thoroughbred racing industry. I will mostly likely re-read this book in the future as I have done several times.

  • K.V. Witten
    2019-03-17 12:36

    I read this book a while back. I must admit to a sentimental attachment to Ruffian and her story. I was around eleven or twelve when she was racing and I (along with several of my friends) felt she was *our* horse - a filly that took on the boys and beat them at their own game. And I most especially remember her last race and hysterically crying when she broke down. A heart-breaking but yet inspiring story.

  • Lisa James
    2019-03-18 09:36

    Even though I ws a little girl when her tragedy occurred, & knew what the outcome would be before I ever read it, this was an amazing book. It made me laugh, it made me cry. The photos were a wonderful memory to have of this filly who gave her heart to her sport, & who's broken life touched America's horse lovers & Thoroughbred lovers around the world. Rest In Peace brave girl. You were a star that burned out way too soon.

  • Caroline
    2019-03-09 14:48

    Jane Schwartz did an admirable job telling the story of the people surrounding and life of this amazing filly in American horseracing. I actually teared up when it described her breaking her leg during the match race and just wanting to keep going. I hope that Ruffian is running as fast as she wants through verdant hills and over soft tracks, giving Secretariat a run for his money.

  • Stevie
    2019-03-01 12:32

    Well done. A nice tribute to an amazing filly.She was alsways inspiring and beautiful to me (even though some of my views of the industry have changed in the last 21 years) ... I now see a less Romanticized view of the treatment of the horses, but no less so of the magic that is a Thoroughbred who loves to run - and especially in a spirited, gorgeous filly who never lost a race.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-01 08:36

    A must read for horse lovers. Such a moving, poignant story about a great racehorse and the people who surrounded her. We are left to wonder what if her fate had been different. Thought the writer did a good job both describing daily track life, realities of horse racing, and the characters of the people in the story.

  • Katie Marquette
    2019-02-28 07:38

    My Mom always told me how she watched this race. For any of you with a knowledge of horse racing, you know the race I'm talking about: the race where Ruffian, arguably the greatest filly to ever race in the big leagues, fell and died on the track. A fascinating, tragic account of a truly phenomenal horse.

  • Kit
    2019-03-15 09:54

    My dad actually found this abandoned in some waiting room lobby and, knowing my love of horse stories and horse racing, brought it home for me. It was a wonderful tale of one of thoroughbred racing's most promising fillies and how her life was cut off so tragically short. I was literally sobbing through the last couple of chapters.

  • Melinda
    2019-02-28 10:38

    One of the best horse racing books I've ever read. I was fifteen that July afternoon when my dad, grandfather, and I watched the match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure. I sometimes share aloud with my students the scene in the book where Ruffian breaks down. But I have to be careful when I do because my voice chokes with the tears of my teenage self.

  • L.M. Ransom
    2019-03-10 14:44

    Broke my heart. I cried several times during this book (during anything about Ruffian, really), but it's one of the very BEST horse books I've ever read. She was an amazing filly, and it's a shame she was never able to race again.If you love horses, please read it. It will break you, but the pain is worthwhile.

  • Teresa
    2019-02-24 07:43

    Wow, this book was amazing. Once you get past all the swearing, it's a really amazing tale about this surreal filly who just came out of no where and won everything; she proved that girls CAN be better ;-) I sobbed right through the end.

  • Mr. Kovach
    2019-03-01 11:56

    A fantastic book about a glorious race horse that met a tragic end. I love the way the narrative goes back and forth between the fateful match race and all the events in the horse's life that led up to it. Just a wonderfully written account of an amazing and beautiful horse.

  • Jill
    2019-03-22 06:31

    This is one of my favorite non fiction horse books. It is very evident that Jane Schwartz was emotionally invested in her subject and, at the same time, tells all of the details without exaggeration.

  • Jen
    2019-02-27 09:42

    One of the best horse books I've ever read. I read it as a kid in junior high and I loved it so much I never wanted to give it up. I searched for the 1st Edition and found it a few years ago. I HAD to have the same edition I read when I was younger. She moved me.

  • Allison Janezic
    2019-02-24 11:34

    I read this book many years ago and forgot the date. It is a beautiful look into one of racing's greatest athletes, the people who surrounded her and her brief run into history. Without a doubt when comparing great female Thoroughbreds Ruffian is the one name that will always come up.

  • Laura
    2019-03-05 08:30

    I was there the day she broke down and stood outside Belmont in the dark when they buried her. We'll never know how good she might have been. On a side note, I own a grandson of Foolish Pleasure and I've never met a horse with more heart. .

  • Denise
    2019-03-15 08:53

    Not for kiddos because it's very graphic....and heartbreakng (despite already knowing the ending)

  • Lisa Clark
    2019-02-22 08:36

    Beautifully written tribute to an amazing champion