What do Kentucky, the Singer sewing machine, the Aga Khan, and The Beatles have in common? A horse, of course!
Kentucky is known as the Thoroughbred capital of the world, but that wasn’t always the case. The original “Derby” was England’s Epsom Derby, and American horse racing was seen as working class entertainment. But in 1954, the horse racing industry was taken by storm when a Kentucky-bred long-shot won the Epsom Derby. The horse, Never Say Die, made history across the pond and opened the door to Kentucky becoming the international epicenter of Thoroughbred breeding and sales.
In Never Say Die: A Kentucky Colt, the Epsom Derby, and the Rise of the Modern Thoroughbred Industry, James C. Nicholson examines the career of the first Kentucky-born racehorse to win the Epsom Derby.
Never Say Die, a chestnut colt with a white blaze and three white feet, was owned by the American philanthropist and art collector Robert Sterling Clark. Nicholson explains that through legal negotiations, Clark claimed the Singer sewing fortune and went on to create his world-class stable of Thoroughbreds. Nicholson also explores the history of the horse’s breeder, Sultan Mohammed Shah, the third Aga Khan, who produced some of the world’s top racehorses and bloodlines.
Still wondering how Never Say Die could be connected to The Beatles? Mona Best, a Liverpool housewife and mother, pawned her jewelry to place a bet on a horse with 33-1 odds because of its name. With her winnings, Best opened the Casbah Coffee Club on August 29, 1959, a coffee bar operated out of her basement. It was there that her son Pete joined a local band called the Quarrymen. Pete was later replaced by Ringo Starr and the band changed their name to The Beatles.
Never Say Die explores the history of Thoroughbred racing before its American dominance, looking back to the shift of power in the industry that began with Never Say Die’s unlikely victory in England’s greatest race.The success of American owners and horses abroad, in turn, helped make the United States—and central-Kentucky in particular—the unquestioned center of the global Thoroughbred breeding industry.
Enter by 1:00pm on Friday, April 26 for your chance to win a copy of Never Say Die.