(4 customer reviews)

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.

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In 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.

Additional information

Weight 0.75 lbs

John R Perrotta


CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 24, 2014)




262 pages






6 x 0.6 x 9 inches

4 reviews for RACETRACKER

  1. Heidi Holliger

    Surprisingly enjoyable and fast like the horses…

    This was a surprisingly enjoyable insider’s look at one of America’s mini-cultures, one that most of us have only known at a distance via Kentucky Derby days, musicals like “Guys and Dolls” and films like “Let It Ride”. Growing up in New York City, Aqueduct Racetrack was the place where that big flea market was and Saratoga was the place to see Bruce Springsteen and the Moody Blues. Yet, right next door was a whole other world populated with a colorful collection of “grifters and gamblers…” and hardworking jockeys and trainers and people who love and are fascinated by those beautiful thoroughbreds. Unlike many of the other reviewers, I am not a trackaholic, but I am not a total novice either. I had a friend who definitely is a racetracker, and when Mr. Perrotta talks about his early experiences with his grandfather and the races, it was very much deja vu. This was very much a fun read, lighthearted and anecdotal, yet full of interesting facts and lore. I especially found interesting the differences between European (Irish) racing and American racing and the track surfaces. Relax and enjoy!

  2. Boots Malone

    Great memoir that brings the racetrack to life!

    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.

    Perrotta parlayed a journalism degree into a stint as a jockey’s agent, moprhed into a racetrack executive and advisor to some of the most powerful figures in the industry, and then hooked on as a writer for the HBO drama “Luck.” There’s a lot to tell, and if know the racetrack, you have to buy this book. And if you’re not a horse racing expert or have never been to the track, you’ll love the world that Perrotta brings to you. You should check it out.

  3. Meg Hendricks

    Being a “racetracker” myself I realize that John successfully captures the addictive nature of a life working with the beautiful animals.

    I agree with his closing remarks about the unification of major interests being necessary to assure the survival of the sport of kings.

  4. Tiznow

    Great view from behind the scenes

    If you are interested in learning what happens behind the scenes in the thoroughbred racing world, this is a great book to read. From the track, to glimpses at the bloodstock game, it was interesting throughout.

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