Blood-Horse Books & Products

Never Say Die: A Kentucky Colt, the Epsom Derby, and the Rise of the Modern Thoroughbred Industry

University Press of Kentucky

By James C. Nicholson.  A quarter of a million people braved miserable conditions at Epsom Downs on June 2, 1954, to see the 175th running of the prestigious Derby Stakes. Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill were in attendance, along with thousands of Britons who were all convinced of the unfailing superiority of English bloodstock and eager to see a British colt take the victory. They were shocked when a Kentucky-born chestnut named Never Say Die galloped to a two-length triumph at odds of 33–1, winning Britain’s greatest race and beginning an important shift in the world of Thoroughbred racing.

Never Say Die traces the history of this extraordinary colt, beginning with his foaling in Lexington, Kentucky, when a shot of bourbon whiskey revived him and earned him his name. This remarkable book reveals how an underdog’s surprise victory made the Bluegrass region of Kentucky the center of the international Thoroughbred industry.

Hardcover, 232 pages. ISBN 978-0-8131-4167-1


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