Turf writer Ed McNamara takes you way down south to Louisiana and introduces you to a remarkably resilient people with a passion for racing and an unmatched touch with racehorses. You'll meet the legendary trainer Pierre LeBlanc, a wheeler-dealer who ran an illegal casino and won one of his best horses, Palomino Joe, in a card game. Then there’s Pierre’s son Pete LeBlanc, who bought Robby Albarado his first horse and saddle and taught him how to ride. It’s a fast-paced history lesson rich in humor and local color as McNamara interweaves the life stories of some of the great names in Cajun racing--Romero, Desormeaux, Borel, Bernis, Delahoussaye, Delhomme, Albarado, and many others. Go back in time to Cajun Downs, a bush track that was a breeding ground for dreams and great careers. With no rule books or stewards to keep things in line, Cajun creativity knew no bounds in trying to gain an edge. Using anything from foul-smelling alligator grease to a crazed rooster tied to a horse’s mane was considered fair game--but even after the hottest contests, winners and losers usually remained friends. Family ties are everywhere in Cajun land, with fathers schooling sons from sunup to sundown and brother battling brother in no-holds-barred match races. Meet Cecil, Kenward, and younger brother "Tee Red" Bernis, who began riding at age 5 and was so small that his feet were tied with twine to keep him from falling off. Then there’s the hilarious saga of Cynthia, a male monkey with a weakness for green crme de menthe and a vendetta against roosters. People wonder about some of their stories, but as the Bernis boys will tell you, they’re all true and they have witnesses. 240 pages, hardbound, 2008.