I’ve just finished reading Ted McClelland’s Horseplayers: Life at the Track.
The book is well done, but it betrays its origins as an edited and reworked version of newspaper columns (even though he had a book contract already while the columns were being written.) The profiles of the people he meets at the track don’t go as deep as you might like: newspaper column depth rather than magazine column or book depth. The same book suffers from the same difficulty as a memoir or as participatory journalism, never digging as deep into the authors psyche as a book like Ted Conover’s Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing. Of course, Newjack wasn’t Conover’s first rodeo as Horseplayers seems to be for McClelland. I’ll be keeping an eye out for a sophmore effort.
I discovered the helpful glossary at the back only when I had finished the book, but there was still no entry there for exacta! (I used the internet to look it up.)
One more thing about reading Horseplayers: a little more knowledge about handicapping gives me a sharper appreciation for this bit from A Day at the Races: