Racetracker: Life with Grifters and Gamblers


Racetrackers are the keepers of the thoroughbred flame. They live for crisp mornings and steaming coffee at the rail. Their soundtrack is thunder rolling in the dirt under charging hooves and rabid fans with hight stakes riding on every jockey’s ship. Their passion is the pursuit of champions.

Racetracker: Life with Grifters and GamblersIn 1955 John Perrotta was a young Jersey boy—eyes locked on his grandfather’s small black-and-white television watching the blurry figures of horses and jockeys loping to their starting gates. Little did he know that his father’s passion for the races was going to tip destiny’s scales in favor of a lifelong passion for horsemanship, breeding, racing, and the beautiful animals themselves.

Perrotta’s story digs deep into the thoroughbred racing world through a unique insider’s perspective on the strategies, emotions, and personal lives of those involved in high-risk gaming. In his travels, he meets an array of colorful characters like Woody and Peaches, Snake, Pockets, and Schnoz, who populate the racetracks, wheeling and dealing in the search for the fastest horse and the biggest prize.

A Natural-Born Racetracker

Revel in this heartfelt story of a natural-born racetracker. Stand trackside and slip behind closed doors at legendary world-class events, including the Kentucky Derby, the Irish Derby, and the Breeder’s Cup.

Follow Perrotta on his journey from a boy with Hopalong Cassidy’s horse, Topper, on his tin lunch box, to racing journalist and jockey agent, to head of operations for one of the largest racing stables stateside.


Recent Customer Reviews

GREAT MEMOIR THAT BRINGS THE RACETRACK TO LIFE!
By Boots Malone

“I tend to be pretty critical when it comes to books about horse racing; as someone who has worked in the industry for a few decades, it seems like so many authors try in vain to caputre the essence of the sport, its characters, and its color. In “Racetracker”, however, John Perrotta gets it right the first time, and does so simply by telling his rather remarkable story. Perrotta has done and seen it all on the racetrack, and reports it about it with a keen eye and a wry outlook that brings the reader along on a terrific ride. Even if you don’t know the Runyon-esque cast of characters he meets along the way, you’ll feel like you do.”


I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK
By Jeff

“I really enjoyed this book. Having some knowledge of the industry as a participant for 15+ years, it was clear to me that the author knew what he was talking about. He covers a lifetime as a race track participant, working his way up from the lowest level.”


JOHNNY P IS A REAL RACE TRACKER
By Susan Lynch

“One of the few things that I retained from my grade school nuns was Sister Mary’s description of sacred scripture, “it was written so a mouse could wade in it and an elephant could swim in it.” Having known Johnny P for thirty some years of his life with grifters and gamblers I feel confident in saying what a wonderful job he did in his recount of life as a race tracker. Whether you are a hardened lifer, or a mere novice, you will marvel in the glamorous, exciting, and always unpredictable life of a racetracker. Great job, John. I’d say you’re live in the late double!”

Art by Jen Ferguson - Post Parade