Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend by Joe Drape

By Joe Drape

In Black Maestro, Joe Drape meticulously brings to existence the drama, adventures, romances, and heartbreaks of an not likely player within the maximum old occasions of the 20th century. it's a breathtaking narrative that takes you from pastoral Kentucky to Mob–controlled Chicago, from the pony nation of Poland to the chaos of pink sq., and from freewheeling Paris to the hard–luck American South of the melancholy. it's also a narrative that returns Jimmy Winkfield to his rightful position as an unique American hero.

In 1919, on the age of thirty–seven, as Bolshevik cannon hearth thundered above, the already epic lifetime of Jimmy Winkfield changed into an odyssey. With a ragtag band of Russian the Aristocracy and varnish squaddies, the son of a black sharecropper from Chilesburg, Kentucky, used to be entrusted with saving greater than 250 of the main royal yet fragile thoroughbreds left in crumbling Csarist Russia. They trekked 1,100 miles from Odessa to Warsaw for almost 3 months amid the bloodiest a part of the Russian Revolution, surviving gunfire and starvation....

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Ferguson, but the denizens of the Vieux Carré acted as if they had nothing to do with it. Even more astonishing to a seventeen-year-old boy from the Bluegrass was the thirty-eight blocks erected along the Irish Channel section of the waterfront called Storyville. It was named for Alderman Sidney Storey, who had the good sense to get a bill passed that concentrated the gambling houses and brothels in a district committed to vice lovers but not under the nose of the New Orleans proper citizenry. The hot-sheets joints above the velvet-encased card and dice parlors were open day and night while as many as two thousand prostitutes plied their trade for as much as fifty dollars a roll.

At the center of each of Corrigan’s skirmishes, and they were numerous, was what he considered violations of the two inalienable rights granted to any man: his right to race wherever and whenever he wished and an expectation that loyalty was to be repaid with loyalty. He believed this applied to black men as well. In August 1898, after nearly twenty years as a horse owner, Big Ed’s horses had won more than $1 million in purses, Isaac Murphy being responsible for the bulk of that fortune. It was in Big Ed’s green-and-white silks that Murphy campaigned Freeland in the East, the filly Modesty to a victory in the inaugural American Derby across town at Washington Park, and Riley to the Kentucky Derby crown in 1890.

Only the white boys, of course, honored this tradition, but it never failed to unleash the high spirits of the crowd and grace the Fair Grounds with an aura of romance. The only seduction Jimmy was interested in consummating, however, was that of the topflight horsemen looking for a good boy to put on their horses when it was time to return to Chicago or Kentucky, even to the big-money circuit in New York. Only the crème de la crème of owners and gamblers were at the Fair Grounds. They wandered the racetrack like the legends they had become in mountains of newspaper columns.

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