Tag Archives: Kentucky

Q&A with Milton C. Toby, author of Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case

On a cold February night in 1983, one of the most valuable Thoroughbreds in the world was stolen in Ireland by a group of armed thieves. The thieves asked for a large sum in exchange for Shergar, but the ransom was never paid. Shergar was never returned, his remains never found. In Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case, Milton C. Toby investigates the mystery and the evidence surrounding it. TobyCompF

The theft of Shergar occurred nearly forty years ago. What attracted you to this story that has already been written about by many?
The ideal subject for a book is a story that people think they already know, when in reality they don’t know much about it at all. The theft of Shergar is one of those stories. Almost from the start, conventional wisdom was that the Irish Republican Army was behind the theft, but the IRA never claimed responsibility and there were neither arrests nor convictions. Taking Shergar for the first time connects the economic and political environments that kept Shergar in Ireland after his retirement to stud and later made him an ideal target for the cash-strapped IRA.

What was your favorite, if unbelievable, conspiracy theory that you came across in your research?
The most intriguing theory, one that got a bit of coverage by the Irish press in the days after Shergar was stolen, involved the death of a French bloodstock agent in Central Kentucky. Two months before Shergar was stolen, the body of Jean-Michel Gambet was found in a burning car on the side of a rural lane near Keeneland Race Course. He had been shot to death. The police concluded that Gambet’s death was a suicide, disguised to look like a murder, committed because he was deeply in debt. The jury at a coroner’s inquest, on the other hand, ruled that the death was a homicide, by parties unknown. The supposed connection to Shergar arose because in the months before his death, Gambet had been negotiating for the purchase of a horse with the Aga Khan IV, who owned and raced Shergar. According to the conspiracy theorists, Gambet had borrowed from mafia connections in New Orleans to buy the horse, but the deal fell through. When Gambet was unable to repay the loan, the mafia took revenge by killing the bloodstock agent and stealing the Aga Khan’s horse. Retired detective Drexel Neal has always refuted a connection between Gambet and Shergar, but there are tantalizing questions in the investigative file.

You have worked with and written about the Thoroughbred industry for more than forty years. What can casual racing fans and other non-experts gain from this book?
For racing aficionados already familiar with the basics, Taking Shergar expands the complicated backstory through a meticulously researched account that no one has written before. It’s more than a “horse book,” however. Readers who know little about racing will discover a compelling story about an ill-conceived and poorly executed scheme to steal one of the most valuable horses in the world and the convoluted aftermath when the plan went horribly wrong.

 

Advertisements

Meet the Press: Teresa Collins, Business Operations Manager

meet_the_press_graphic

Name: Teresa Collins

Position: Business Operations Manager

Hometown: Willisburg, KY

Tell us a little bit about your position at the press:

I began working at the press in 1991 and have held many positions: marketing assistant, advertising/exhibits/direct mail manager, regional sales representative, warehouse and distribution manager, assistant director for finance and administration, production and fulfillment manager. After 27 years in the business, I was named business operations manager in July.

What’s one of your favorite UPK titles and why?

Having grown up on a farm in rural Kentucky, I have always loved A Kentucky Album: Farm Security Administration Photographs, 1935-1943. Another favorite is Pen, Ink, and Evidence: A Study of Writing and Writing Materials for the Penman, Collector, and Document Detective. Just a really cool book—I enjoyed working on the marketing of this title.

If someone was visiting Kentucky for the first time and you were their tour guide, where would you take them? Any specific restaurants, landmarks, etc.?

I would suggest a trip to Red River Gorge, with a drive through the Nada Tunnel and stop at Miguel’s Pizza, the chair lift and hiking at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, and a few hours with Red River Gorge Zipline!

Do you have a favorite font? If so, what is it?

Working in the business office, I lean toward very readable, very boring fonts like Arial and Calibri.

arialCalibri-Font

Did you always know you wanted to work in publishing? When you were a kid, did you want to do something different as an adult?

I had dreams of becoming a travel agent–it seemed so glamorous to me in the 80s!

What was the last book you read?

Currently reading The Birds of Opulence!

Name three things you can’t live without.

Family, friends, and insulin 😊

If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Do you have a personal motto?

Do not waste time worrying about things that are out of your control.

 

 

Clark Medallion Event featuring Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape

Topophilia, the love of place, is what drives Richard Taylor. Through his love of Elkhorn Creek and his gift of storytelling, Taylor’s new release, Elkhorn: Evolution of a Kentucky Landscape, presents readers with a powerful picture of a location that has impacted so many with its natural beauty. Filled with photographs, illustrations, and vignettes detailing this creek and its surrounding wonders, Taylor’s book gives readers a sense of why there is such a pull to this majestic landscape. 

Elkhorn is the 2018 winner of the Thomas D. Clark Medallion. The Clark Medallion is presented by the Thomas D. Clark Foundation Inc., a private nonprofit established in 1994. The medallion is presented annually to a book highlighting the state of Kentucky’s history and culture.

In honor of Taylor and his new release, an award presentation, reception, and book signing will be held at 5:30 pm Wednesday, September 26 in the River Room at the Paul Sawyier Library in Frankfort. The event will be hosted by Kentucky Humanities, Nana Lampton, the Paul Sawyier Public Library, and the Thomas  D. Clark Foundation.

Taylor_TrueFinal_Medallion“Count among the Elkhorn’s fans white-water enthusiasts who mount kayaks on their roof racks and often drive considerable distances to glide along its rough-edged spine. Or the fishermen who wade into sun-lucent pools as they might approach a spiritual or religious experience. And the rest of us, near and far, who love nearly pristine places, land that hasn’t been subdivided into suburban citadels with a few acres of tamed lawns or converted into cultivated fields that productively but monotonously generate nicotine or a single food crop to the impoverishment of nature and local soils,” Taylor writes in Elkhorn.

The Clark Medallion event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Click here for more information.

 

University Press of Kentucky Celebrates 75 Years

Three quarters of a century ago, what would become University Press of Kentucky (UPK) got its start in the history department at the University of Kentucky. Now, over 2100 books later, we are celebrating that history with a special LexArts Gallery Hop exhibit—UPK75—opening on the second floor of the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning today from 5 to 8 pm. There will be entertainment, light refreshments, and book signings with several prominent Kentucky authors, including George Ella Lyon, Mike Norris, Richard Taylor, David J. Bettez, and more. The UPK75 exhibit will remain on display until mid-July.

Earlier this year, state appropriations for UPK were eliminated from the biennial budget, but the press will continue. In a statement released by University of Kentucky’s President, Eli Capiluto, he pledged to work “with our partner institutions to identify ways to sustain the financial viability of the press over the long term.” An open letter from Provost David W. Blackwell, Interim Dean of the Libraries Deirdre Scaggs, and our director, Leila W. Salisbury, outlines the long-term goal “to chart a strong path forward for UPK.”

With the support of the University of Kentucky, consortia partners, authors, and citizens throughout the commonwealth, we look forward to continuing to serve Kentucky as well as readers across the globe. “I’m deeply grateful for the many expressions of support for the press this winter,” said Salisbury, “from university administrators to librarians to educators to readers across the commonwealth. What became clear during the budget process was just how many people value what we do at the press. And that is a marvelous place to start the next seventy-five years of our history.”

The UPK75 exhibit will showcase our rich history through artifacts, book displays, historical documents, and more. The centerpiece is a timeline of that history, with artifacts and information illustrating key moments. Each of our four directors are highlighted, from Bruce F. Denbo, who was hired in 1950 and led UPK through the transition to a consortium representing fifteen different member institutions, to current director Leila W. Salisbury, who began working at the press full time in 1994 as assistant to the director. Among other items, the timeline will include our original analog database, letters and correspondence regarding the press’s founding, and interesting ephemera.

The exhibit will also include several specialized displays focusing on various aspects of press history and book production. A grouping of information on, material by, and artifacts from UPK founder, Thomas D. Clark (1903–2002), includes one of his canes, photographs, and a number of historic documents. It tells Clark’s story as it relates to the press and beyond, including his work in the UK history department and his role in founding the Kentucky Archives Commission in 1957. Other displays include artwork from renown folk artist Minnie Adkins that was featured in Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains, by Mike Norris and archival materials related to book production, including plate negatives, F&Gs, and bluelines.

Other initiatives for our 75th anniversary:

  • Cricket Press has designed a new 75th anniversary emblem.
  • UPK is a sponsor of Book Benches: A Tribute to Kentucky Authors, a collaborative public art project organized by Arts ConnectLexArts, and The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. A bench designed by artist Lora Gill and inspired by Crystal Wilkinson’s novel The Birds of Opulence will be permanently installed outside our offices on South Limestone Street.
  • A new and expanded second edition of The New History of Kentucky, by James C. Klotter and Craig Thompson Friend, will be released in October, bringing the flagship history of the commonwealth up to date.
  • UPK has initiated two new imprints with partner organizations. We will launch Andarta Books in conjunction with Brécourt Academic, publisher of the journal Global War Studies. Andarta Books will develop new books in military history and launch with books on the Battle of the Atlantic and WWII Yugoslavian prisoners of war appearing next year. Also next year, we will begin publishing a new imprint devoted to Appalachian creative writing with Hindman Settlement School—additional details to come later this year.
  • We were accepted to host one of Lexington Public Library’s Tiny Libraries, which will be permanently installed in front of our offices on South Limestone Street.
  • Horses in History, a new series edited by James C. Nicholson, will launch this fall with Taking Shergar: Thoroughbred Racing’s Most Famous Cold Case by Milton C. Toby. The series will explore the special human-equine relationship, encompassing a broad range of topics, from ancient Chinese polo to modern Thoroughbred racing. From biographies of influential equestrians to studies of horses in literature, television, and film, this series profiles racehorses, warhorses, sport horses, and plow horses in novel and compelling ways.
  • We are partnering with Kentucky Humanities on its Kentucky Reads project for 2018, a statewide literacy initiative centering on Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, All the King’s Men. In conjunction with the program, we will publish Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men: A Reader’s Companion, by Jonathan S. Cullick, a Warren scholar and professor of English at Northern Kentucky University, who will participate in several events as part of Kentucky Reads.

“We’re committed to developing books that explore Kentucky and its citizens from new perspectives and to working in even closer partnership with our consortia and community partners, as they help us better represent the rich geographic and other diversities of the state,” said Salisbury. “We look forward to further strengthening our profile as a relevant and service-oriented operation that allows Kentucky to tell its own story.”

Kentucky Basketball Legends: Still Making Their Mark

Members of the 1998 Kentucky Men’s Basketball Championship team will sign Maker’s Mark annual commemorative bottles at the Keeneland Entertainment Center this Friday, April 13, at 7 a.m. Among those signing at the event will be forward guard Allen Edwards, guard Jeff Sheppard, and former UK head coach Tubby Smith, all of whom are featured in Wildcat Memories: Inside Stories from Kentucky Basketball Greats. In this book, author Doug Brunk details the cherished bond between Kentucky basketball and the citizens of the Commonwealth through first-hand accounts from some of the Wildcats’ most renowned legends.

Tickets for the Maker’s Mark signing are already sold out, but you still have a chance to get up close and personal with these champions by way of this engrossing book. Below is an excerpt of Coach Tubby Smith’s chapter from Wildcat Memories:


As a coach, you love the fans, and you want their support. Having an affinity for the fan base is essential. You are providing a service coaching their team. You are trying to win, and you are trying to do the right things for your players, your coaches, the university, and the fans. Fans may boo you or cheer you. They call and they write with praise and criticism. But you can’t let that affect you, or you’re not going to last long in coaching or be successful in coaching. I became a college coach for the student-athletes, to get them educated and to teach them the game of basketball.

26Smith

During his ten-year tenure, Tubby Smith guided UK to one national championship, five SEC Tournament titles, and six Sweet Sixteen finishes. (Courtesy of Victoria Graff.)

During my tenure at UK there was an element of the fan base that didn’t think our teams had won enough games, but in five of my ten years as coach we probably played the toughest schedule in the history of UK basketball. I wish we could have won more games while I was head coach. But we were competitive, we graduated our players, and we kept the program clean. If there was pressure, it was pressure to make sure we did things in a first-class manner. 

One thing I appreciate about UK fans is that they know how to be grateful, because the program has been so successful , and the fans are proud of that success. They show their pride, and they should. They show their commitment by calling in to talk shows, writing letters, and flocking to Rupp Arena or wherever the team plays. You’re not going to find more loyal, passionate fans for their team than followers of the Wildcats. That’s the one common thing. Just about everybody in Kentucky is pulling for you to be successful. It’s a way of life in the Commonwealth. 

Wildcat Slush: A Treat for Players and Fans Alike

Ah, March in the Bluegrass… There might be snow (check), there might be spring (still waiting), but there’s always madnessMarch Madness, that is. Since the Big Dance started yesterday, we figured Wildcat fans would be starting to prepare for Thursday, when UK faces Davidson College at 7:10 PM EST in the first round. (We’d be remiss if we failed to mention that Murray State, the other Kentucky team in this year’s tourney, tips off against West Virginia tomorrow at 4 PM. Good luck, Racers!)

If you’re gathering with a group to cheer on the Cats, you have to have the right snacks and drinks, right? If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic treat fit for champions (or those cheering on champions [*fingers crossed*]), we’ve got just the trick: Wildcat Slush.

slush_cups_JPG

Deliciously sweet and easy to prepare, Wildcat Slush became a postgame treat and “pick-me-up” of sorts for the ‘78 NCAA Championship team. In the following excerpt from Forty Minutes to Glory: Inside the Kentucky Wildcats’ 1978 Championship Season, Doug Brunk provides the backstory of how this refreshing concoction was created.

Lexington dentist Roy Holsclaw said that during a late-January postgame radio interview show, Coach Hall lamented how year after year his teams fell into a shooting slump and struggled to maintain stamina and sharpness by the time late January and February rolled around. A local physician who listened to the radio show that night wrote a letter to Coach Hall, suggesting that the symptoms he described indicated possible depletion of potassium, a key electrolyte that impacts energy and stamina. “He wrote, ‘I would suggest that you put your players on a high-potassium diet,’” Dr. Holsclaw recalled. “Coach Hall handed me the letter and said, ‘Roy, why don’t you check into this.’”

Chemical examination of blood drawn from the players revealed that some did have low potassium levels, so Dr. Holsclaw conferred with the physician, who recommended adding potassium-rich pineapples, bananas, and strawberries to their diet. Coincidentally, Dr. Holsclaw’s wife, Katharine, had a frozen-dessert recipe handed down from her mother that contained all of those fruits in their natural juices, so the couple mixed up the recipe in a three-gallon Tupperware container and stuck it in their freezer at home. Dr. Holsclaw brought in the frozen treat prior to many practices and all remaining home games that season, intended for the players to consume afterward. “I would turn it over to one of the managers,” he said. “They’d set it on a counter or something, and during the two hour course of the practice or game it would thaw out partially, and we’d serve it in a little plastic cup.” The concoction became known as Wildcat Slush. “It seemed to give us a boost,” Coach Parsons said.

Learn how to make your own Wildcat Slush below, and if you’re in need of the perfect book to read between tournament games, be sure to pick up Forty Minutes to Glory by Doug Brunk, available now!
Wildcat SlushBrunk_coverFinal

 

Bourbon Bliss

Bourbon is beloved nationwide, but Kentucky has an unquenchable adoration for this spirit. Not only is it an $8.5 billion industry in the state, but there’s even a petition to switch Kentucky’s official drink from milk to bourbon.

KBFAs September is officially bourbon month, the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival is currently underway through September 17 in Bardstown. Delicious food, displays, music and entertainment, and a number of other events are being offered this week.

In celebration of this luscious libation, below is a sampling of recipes from Albert W.A. Schmid’s latest book with us, Burgoo, Barbecue & Bourbon.

 


 

burgoo

 

Bourbon Slush

2 cups strong tea
1 cup sugar
1 – 12 ounce can frozen lemonade (as is)
1 – 6 ounce frozen orange juice
6 cups water
1 ½ cups bourbon

Mix all of the ingredients. Freeze at least 12 hours. Remove from freezer 1 hour before serving. Scrape while still icy. Serve with straw and top with orange slice, maraschino cherry, and sprig of mint.

“The Greatest Kentucky Drink”

An Old Fashioned glass or a tumbler
3 ice cubes
2 ounces Kentucky Bourbon
4 ounces branch water

Place the ice cubes into the tumbler. Add the bourbon and branch water. Enjoy!

Moon Glow

Crushed ice
1 ½ bourbon
2 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces orange juice
2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice

Pack a tall glass with crushed ice. Add the cranberry juice and the orange juice. Add the maraschino cherry juice. Then add the bourbon. Stir well with a bar spoon and garnish with 2 maraschino cherries and a straw.