Broken: The Suspicious Death of Alydar and the End of Horse Racings Golden Age by Fred M. Kray: 5*****

Alydar is a name that lives in horse racing fame. A horse that was considered a gamer – never giving up, racing hard to the very end. And probably the most well-known 2nd place finisher in Triple Crown History, after losing all 3 legs of the Triple Crown by a combined distance of 1.5 lengths back in 1978. And that is why his sudden death while a stud mare in 1990 was so shocking and mysterious.

            Alydar was the #1 Sire in America, earning up to $250,000 for each single mating session. Considering that Alydar was covering well over 100 fillies a year, you can figure out the money rolling into Calumet Farm Stables. But one night in 1990 the horse was “discovered” standing in shock and with what turned out to be a broken right rear cannon bone. Alydar was insured for over $35 Million and within minutes the insurance companies had dispatched investigators to determine what had happened. Within hours it was decided that the horse had broken the bone by kicking his stable door. Surgery was planned but despite the efforts he was euthanized 2 days after the injury.

            Broken, by Fred M. Kray, investigates the mysterious death, a death that was ruled to be accidental (which triggered the $35 Million insurance payments), and yet which eerily appears to have been an intentional act. This book is a very interesting read, and is divided into sections. The incident, the horses career, an examination of evidence both new and old, and then a jury-like summation.

            You get to review the career of the horse, his value to Calumet, the question of whether he was more valuable dead or alive, and finally decide what you think happened. You get to see how the doctors believe one cause of death, but the horsemen believe something different. You also get to weigh some very suspicious activity on the part of Calumet with regard to both security and the removal of the regular night watchman on the night Alydar died.

            Nobody wants to believe that horses are murdered, but it does happen when an owner needs the money from an insurance payment. It is cruel and ugly, and by the end of this book we may agree that this was not an accident, but you are left to determine who ordered an intentional death, who carried it out and exactly how did it occur.

            Tremendous book that fits into many genres: Sports, True Crime, Mystery, and History. This is a book that takes us back in time to solve the very sad and mysterious death of the great horse Alydar.

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