While Seabiscuit is perhaps the best-known Thoroughbred in history, Charles S. Howard owned another remarkable racehorse that should never be forgotten. Irish-bred Noor dominated the 1950 racing season, setting world records in victories over Citation and winning the Hollywood Gold Cup by defeating a Triple Crown winner, the Horse of the Year and the previous year’s Kentucky Derby winner. Sadly, that fame faded as he failed to sire champions, and Noor was buried in an unmarked grave in Northern California decades later. Veteran turf writer Milt Toby recounts Noor’s colorful career and the inspiring story of racing enthusiast Charlotte Farmer’s personal mission to exhume the Thoroughbred’s remains for reburial in central Kentucky years after the horse was inducted into the hall of fame.
It is not often that I get to read a book about something that is very close to my heart and that is a real story, Noor by Milton C Toby is one of those books. I was lucky enough to get to read this book through Walker Author tours, but I was drawn to read it because of my love of horse racing and my Great Grandfathers Love of the subject Noor.
I grew up on my Great Grandfather’s knee learning about racing and learning about the Irish bred horses. Being that his side of my family is where I get my half Irish side this came as no surprise. He always favored Irish bred horses, and taught me to, something that holds true at the track for me even today.
Milton C. Toby brings everything to life again in a vivid wash of well put prose. Not only does he cover the life and racing career of Noor, but the journey to find him again. So many people do not understand what can (and often has) happened to a horse that while perhaps well known is not in public graces as much as say Secretariat, when they pass. Often they are put in a little known place and forgotten, much like what happened to Noor.
This book made me both sad at what happened to Noor and then Happy at the fact he was able to find his place in the pantheon of famous racers we can now visit. For all my love of this horse instilled in me by my Great Grandfather I did not know the final end to his story until I read Noor by Milton C. Toby, I am so happy I did. I can happily say I am making a trip to Old Friend’s this summer in honor of my Great Grandfather so see the living legends and those who have passed on. Thanks for the great book Milton!
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