Book review: ‘Run With A Mighty Heart’ highlights a dark time – Horse Racing News
Trainer Josie Carroll, jockey Daisuke Fukumoto and owner Larry Cordes pictured in 2020 with Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Mighty Heart winner
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the province of Ontario in 2020, it hit the professional sports world with a stark reality. Spectators could not attend, jeopardizing events, millions of dollars and jobs. Public health restrictions have particularly impacted the horse racing industry to stop the spread of this terrible virus. For grooms, trainers, jockeys, racetrack officials and horse racing owners, the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought about a frustrating time of uncertainty and, for many who depend on the industry , a feeling of hopelessness.
Out of this darkness was born a story of perseverance and triumph, both human and equine. by Jennifer Morrison Run with a mighty heart is just that. The book explains how a one-eyed horse overcame his visual impairment to win the most publicized race in Canada. Mighty Heart has won ownership relationships beset by tragedy, a company making a Herculean effort to keep the show going, and thousands of fans across the country who needed encouragement in a time when there was no didn’t have much to celebrate.
It also shines a light on how the Woodbine thoroughbred racing community has come together to fight the pandemic and continue the great tradition of hosting the historic Queen’s Plate against the greatest odds during a pandemic. But, as we would say in racing parlance, getting it all was a 99-1 long shot.
Similarly, Morrison’s magnificent book is an account of how some human beings who endure crushing personal loss might ultimately find luck and triumph if they choose to continue living. For example, Mighty Heart owner Larry Cordes suffered tragedy when his wife, daughter and son-in-law succumbed to cancer and later setbacks as a Thoroughbred owner when horses were injured or died before they could reach their potential.
Although this is his first book, Morrison’s deep background as a sports journalist and knowledge of the people and players who make Woodbine successful shines through the narrative. Decades of research, conversations, crippling races and understanding the challenges faced by horses and the people who care for them inform this gripping story. Plus, the book features thrilling stories and insights from Mighty Heart’s trainer, Hall of Famer Josie Carroll and her supporting cast on the horse’s rise from rocky start to climax. Canadian races.
Run with a mighty heart also serves as a tribute to people from all walks of life who get up while most of the population sleeps to tend to the horses. Of course, there are a lot of things that go into race day prep. Horse racing may be the ‘sport of kings’, but the people behind it who make a day at the track enjoyable for bettors, fans and enthusiasts come from all walks of life. Yet all share a common determination, attention to detail and sense of purpose. It’s about the horses, but everyone matters – from the rider to the groom, from the trainer to the owner and staff, to officials and racetrack executives.
Morrison does not forget the horses. Documenting the rise of Mighty Heart, Morrison carefully describes the various physical and health curveballs thrown at these majestic yet fragile creatures. For example, a horse may have excellent reproduction, but exposure to parasites may make it sick or a bout of colic may end its life. Likewise, Mighty Heart’s romping around the paddock with other horses caused the young colt to lose an eye. These athletes work hard day in and day out, and their journey is often as complicated and uncertain as the path taken by those who care for them.
Run with a mighty heart should be required reading for all thoroughbred horse racing fans. It is an uplifting story of our ability to withstand the most complex challenges that life throws at us to continue our way of life, our great traditions and our recreational activities. Run with a mighty heart is also a living story of resilience, endurance and hope. This book tells a story that many people need right now.
New to the Paulick report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up to date with this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2022 Paulick Report.