WAUKESHA, WIS.— Susan Nusser, assistant professor of English at Carroll University, is one of three finalists for the national Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award for “Kentucky Derby Dreams: The Making of Thoroughbred Champions.”
The book, published in April 2012, takes readers inside the barns of Kentucky’s Taylor Made Farm, capturing the behind-the-scenes drama of raising Kentucky Derby hopefuls.
Conceived and launched in 2006 by the late Castleton Lyons owner Dr. Tony Ryan, the award showcases the best of racing literature. The winner will be announced April 10 at Castleton Lyons. First prize is $10,000; two runners-up each receive $1,000.
From the carefully calculated birth of the new crop of foals in 2009 to the horses’ debut at the world’s premier yearling sale in Lexington, Ky., three years later, “Kentucky Dreams” is a rare and exclusive look at the vets, the drugs, the surgeries, the long hours and the hard work that it takes to breed a Derby winner. Nusser skillfully captures the juxtaposition between the serene day-to-day life on Taylor Made Farm with the exhilaration of a multi-million dollar yearling auction.
Castleton Lyons, a full-service thoroughbred facility near Lexington, Ky., has produced some of America’s most notable racehorses.
Nusser also is the author of “In Service to the Horse,” which explores the bond that develops between competition horses and their grooms, and between that of one of Kentucky’s most valuable stallions and his groom. She has written about both the politics and culture of the human and animal relationship for “Milwaukee Magazine” and has taught writing at Carroll University since 2005.