Hitting the books

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Approximately 7,000 items will be offered during the Keeneland Library’s second duplicate book sale Thursday and Friday at the Keeneland Entertainment Center in Lexington.

Becky Ryder, director of the Keeneland Library, said the offerings include research and reference tools she considers essential resources for anyone interested in the history of Thoroughbred racing. The first duplicate book sale attracted buyers from five states and introduced the Keeneland Library to a wide range of people, from rare-book deals to casual collectors, Ryder said.

Racing enthusiasts looking to build personal research libraries would be wise to listen to Ryder, who offered some insight into her own favorites and those frequently used at the Keeneland Library.

The American Racing Manual is one of the first places Ryder goes for her research and one the library uses almost on a daily basis. Ryder also said back issues of The Blood-Horse, Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times are go-to research sources used daily.

Ryder cites “Krik’s Official Guide to the Turf” and “Goodwin’s Annual Guide to the Turf” as the foundation for all early American racing research done in the library. They provide annual accounts of racing in the U.S. and are heavily used by the library to this day.

Some of the most frequently used items in the Keeneland Library collection are racetrack media guides, including those from major events like the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown.

“They provide a wealth of statistics and we view them as an authoritative source for data,” Ryder said.

“American Steeplechasing” provides a great overview of jump racing in America and steeplechase awards, Ryder said.

Volumes of The Blood-Horse dating back to 1929 are included in this week’s sale along with editions of Daily Racing Form that feature classic illustrations from cartoonist Pierre “Peb” Bellocq.

Rare books for sale include a complete set of “Racing in America,” which includes the very scarce edition written by Walter Vosburgh covering racing from 1866 to 1921. Only 500 of the Vosburgh edition were printed and it is often the missing piece in people’s collections, Ryder said. The volumes will be sold as a set.

Other contemporary titles include books featured in the Keeneland Library Lecture Series.

Along with the books being offered are journals, magazines, programs, and posters. Proceeds from the sale, which runs from 9a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, will support the Library’s ability to preserve its collections and to improve its research services.

In addition to the vast selection of reference materials available, Ryder also mentioned two non-fiction titles that she considers exceptionally written and exceptionally researched, “Seabiscuit,” by Laura Hillenbrand and “Wild Ride,” by Ann Hagedorn Auerbach. Much of the research for Seabiscuit was conducted in the Keeneland Library. Another popular title is “Breeding the Racehorse,” by Frederico Tesio.

“Anything by Tesio is very popular,” Ryder said.