Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America

Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America

Charles Leerhsen / Sep 15, 2019

Crazy Good The True Story of Dan Patch the Most Famous Horse in America A hundred years ago the most famous athlete in America was a horse But Dan Patch was than a sports star he was a cultural icon in the days before the automobile Born crippled and unable to stand he

  • Title: Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America
  • Author: Charles Leerhsen
  • ISBN: 9780743291774
  • Page: 297
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A hundred years ago, the most famous athlete in America was a horse But Dan Patch was than a sports star he was a cultural icon in the days before the automobile Born crippled and unable to stand, he was nearly euthanized For a while, he pulled the grocer s wagon in his hometown of Oxford, Indiana But when he was entered in a race at the county fair, he won anA hundred years ago, the most famous athlete in America was a horse But Dan Patch was than a sports star he was a cultural icon in the days before the automobile Born crippled and unable to stand, he was nearly euthanized For a while, he pulled the grocer s wagon in his hometown of Oxford, Indiana But when he was entered in a race at the county fair, he won and he kept on winning Harness racing was the top sport in America at the time, and Dan, a pacer, set the world record for the mile He eventually lowered the mark by four seconds, an unheard of achievement that would not be surpassed for decades.America loved Dan Patch, who, though kind and gentle, seemed to understand that he was a superstar he acknowledged applause from the grandstands with a nod or two of his majestic head and stopped as if to pose when he saw a camera He became the first celebrity sports endorser his name appeared on breakfast cereals, washing machines, cigars, razors, and sleds At a time when the highest paid baseball player, Ty Cobb, was making 12,000 a year, Dan Patch was earning over a million dollars.But even then horse racing attracted hustlers, cheats, and touts Drivers and owners bet heavily on races, which were often fixed horses were drugged with whiskey or cocaine, or switched off with ringers Although Dan never lost a race, some of his races were rigged so that large sums of money could change hands Dan s original owner was intimidated into selling him, and America s favorite horse spent the second half of his career touring the country in a plush private railroad car and putting on speed shows for crowds that sometimes exceeded 100,000 people But the automobile cooled America s romance with the horse, and by the time he died in 1916, Dan was all but forgotten His last owner, a Minnesota entrepreneur gone bankrupt, buried him in an unmarked grave His achievements have faded, but throughout the years, a faithful few kept alive the legend of Dan Patch, and in Crazy Good, Charles Leerhsen travels through their world to bring back to life this fascinating story of triumph and treachery in small town America and big city racetracks.

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      Published :2018-010-03T13:34:14+00:00

    About "Charles Leerhsen"

      • Charles Leerhsen

        Charles Leerhsen Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America book, this is one of the most wanted Charles Leerhsen author readers around the world.


    884 Comments

    1. I watched harness racing on television when I was a kid, and I've read a few books set in that world. The one I remember the most was #6 in Walter Farley's Black Stallion series, a book called The Black Stallion's Blood Bay Colt. The point is, I knew a little about harness racing and I had heard of Dan Patch. I knew he was a natural pacer (no hobbles needed to help him maintain his gait) and knew he had once been famous. But I had no idea about the details of his life, so this book was quite the [...]


    2. One of the most clever and witty sports biographies I've ever read, CRAZY GOOD isn't just a harness racing book, or even just a horse book—it's a fascinating look at the Ragtime era and every class of person who inhabited those fast-paced years, from Midwestern farmers to big city con men. I'm staggered by the amount of research that went into this book and the casual way in which the author shares it. Leerhsen interjects his own dry commentary into the text, making a lot of material very fun [...]


    3. I'd actually begun reading this book a year ago and had put it aside for one reason or another. When I started again I kept reading. Dan Patch was an amazing harness racing pacer from the early 1900's. A horse who was born with some leg problems and wasn't thought to be worth much because of that, then became a phenom of the times. His early days spent racing and winning with his first and second owners. The third owner, sadly, used Dan Patch for commercial gains. Dan lived a comfortable life, h [...]


    4. Charles Leerhsen, Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, America's Most Famous Racehorse (Simon and Schuster, 2008)There have been a select few times in this country when millions more people than usual knew the name of a horse. Modern examples abound: Barbaro, Cigar, Ruffian, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, a dozen others. Dan Patch, on the other hand, was a national superstar in a much more difficult time. Television hadn't been invented yet, radio was still an expensive proposition for the avera [...]


    5. The author works for Sports Illustrated now, and has a life-long connection to the racetrack. He has done a fantastic job of research on the rise and demise of Dan Patch, the "faster pacer in the world." So that's why they are the Indiana Pacers! Gotta have this one to add to your collection of good bios of the big-time horses!


    6. It's not Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit, it just doesn't have that turn of foot. But it's a damn good read and it almost makes it. Dan Patch should not be forgotten and I welcome this effort to keep that from happening. The author spent a lot of time researching his subject, and it shows.



    7. Fine effort by the author. Had already read Ty Cobb and found this one sitting on my library shelf and overlooked for quite a few years - sort of like Dan Patch!So many mixed feelings about the characters in the book, and the first 2/3 of the book was really interesting with the development of Dan, along with his original owner and trainer from Oxford, Indiana. A very good look at the harness racing business and its history. Dan never lost a race and was so good and so fast that there was no com [...]


    8. Chances are you don't care much about harness racing, but the author of "Crazy Good," makes a worthy effort to change that. Charles Leerhsen openly admits there is a gap between what interests today's readers and his story of a horse most people have never heard of -- Dan Patch. The author could have chosen any number of more commercial topics and not written a book that wound up at the 99 cents store where the highway scribe's wife found it. Instead, Leerhsen opted to write about something that [...]


    9. Story of Dan Patch. It is the beginning of the pacing horse sport. They had been around for a while but pacing was a vulgar American Sport. Dan Patch did a lot to popularize it. The story is intriguing from several standpoints. First, the time of the story, the early 1900s, coincides with the rise of the automobile and many people are predicting the demise of the horse. There is clearly less interest in development of fast trotters and pacers when auto can do the job. Second, Dan Patch was clear [...]


    10. This book was well-written and well-researched. Unfortunately, the subject failed to click with me. I didn't like the people around Dan Patch after his first owner. Reading about them wasn't interesting or fun, it was just annoying.And in the end, I wasn't all that impressed by Dan Patch, either. He didn't really race all that much, he mostly did time trials. And those time trials were publicity stunts, and were mostly a farce, since the owner and driver tended to cheat by using shields and othe [...]


    11. The men and the horses of the American trotting track just as America was on the cusp of modern mechanization. In love with speed and the image of American perfection the Standardbred horse was a condensation of the American goals bridging the known past with the new exciting fast paced future.Bred on an unknown mare in an out of the way rural setting it was chance that this horse became the foremost pacer in his day setting speed records and thrilling middle America on the state fair circuit th [...]


    12. Emily, you probably won't want to read this book's about the most famious HORSE in America!I had to force myself to finish this book. Since it was non-fiction, it was rife with details of world-record breaking time trials and events, that I got utterly bored with. It should have been written as a fictional story, based upon a factual horse, to make it more interesting. That's just one reason I detest non-fiction. The account of Dan Patch's birth and malformed back leg, which they had to accomoda [...]


    13. I loved this book--which came as a surprise. Although I love horses and thoroughbred racing, I was a little skeptical when I realized that this book was about the king of the harness track. Clearly Mr. Leerhsen loved his subject; it was a delight to travel back in time with him to learn about not only the career of an outstanding horse, but also about the world in which this horse grew up and lived.Highly recommended!


    14. My father's interest in Dan Patch (that he shared with his horse-crazy daughter 50 years ago) was not unfounded. This is a smartly written, intimate and touching memoir of a very special horse that regularly drew a crowd of 100,000 people--more than any rock star, politician, or sports hero today--in pre-automobile America.


    15. meh. I wanted to like it -- would have liked more about the horse, who seemed to have some loveable human traits, but all the details about the time trials (this race at 2:01, this race at 1:59, another race at 2:02, on and on and on)was boring.


    16. Fairly interesting story about a horse from the early 1900's that I've never heard of (that was kind of the point of the story). However, "Seabiscuit" is much better written.


    17. I had a hard time getting into this book. Made it about halfway and felt like the whole story was already discussed. Would be good for someone who is really interested in the history of horse racing.



    18. I love horses and, usually, horse books. This one was just okay for me. It seemed a little humdrum and, actually, boring. Time trial after time trial, city after city just becomes numbing. It was interesting to fill in the holes of my Dan Patch knowledge and harness racing. The book will go on my horse shelf but it isn't one I would recommend to anyone.


    19. This has been quite a different book than the thoroughbred race horse "biographies" I tend to read. Why? Dan Patch was a pacer in a time where the trotters were in vogue and the thoroughbreds were returning to the front. And it was also the time when the automobile was just starting to replace the horse, in getting places as well as in racing. Dan Patch was the top athlete of his time, and was very popular, but the changing times took a toll quickly. It's like he was the big fish in a small pond [...]


    20. This is the story of a lame colt who could not even stand to nurse. When he finally struggles to his feet, this gentle fellow grows and grows and grows. Better, yet, he can run like the wind. There may yet be a future for the colt who was almost euthanized at birth. Born to a mother of dubious lineage, he has a savage champion father. What will his future hold?The colt that became a horse has been named Dan Patch. And, he is harness racing, pulling a cart called a sulky which is specially design [...]


    21. Where to even begin in a review of this book? Harness racing, which originated in America, used to be a big deal in America and now it's merely a big deal in countries other than America. In harness racing's heyday (sorry about the pun) Dan Patch was the yardstick that all other Standardbreds are measured by. He had die-hard fans then that collected all kinds of merchandise related to Dan Patch and he still has die-hard fans today that also collect all kinds of Dan Patch merchandise.And, like th [...]


    22. As someone who had heard of Dan Patch (at least I knew he was a famous harness horse before I read the book), I was looking forward to being able to fill in the gaps and find out the rest of this great horse's story. Sadly, this book, while presenting a factual, and at times entertaining, version of events, fell short in the heart department for me. Yes, I now know more about the people, places and events, but I never felt like I was inside the hearts and minds of the characters involved. I appr [...]


    23. In a small town in Indiana a colt was born with a bit of a crippled leg, but as time went on this defect did not cause him much harm as he grew and was trained to become the fastest pacers on the Grand circuit in the early 1900s. His name was Dan Patch, and this book traces his beginnings from Oxford, Indiana to his later years in Minnesotta and the owners that used him to further their own ends. This book paints a picture of those times when harness racing was all the rage and where people woul [...]


    24. This was an interesting biography; if you like History, horses, trips back in time and just in general 'sitin' around visiting' then you'd like this book. When I first started reading this I though it would be the regular biography about a racehorse (one of the first ones) from late 1800's. From his birth to youth to how he was 'discovered' to his racing years and then his death. BUT this book is so much more! The author takes you back in time then to modern times back and forth and gives you ba [...]


    25. Having heard of the legendary pacer Dan Patch many times, I never really knew much about the horse's life. This book sheds some light on his career, from birth to death, illustrating the tremendous influence he had on harness racing. As it is a recent publication, the book is written based on research and some of Leerhsen's personal "tid bits" of info so it lacks much of the personal knowledge that would be communicated had he actually known the horse. Still, the book gives the reader a good ide [...]


    26. Similar to Laura Hilldebrand's Seabiscuit, Leerhsen's tale of Dan Patch is about a horse who loved to run. Few folks are familiar with trotter/pacer racing but a hundred years ago it was more popular than thoroughbred racing. Leerhsen’s story includes the social history of the Ragtime era, small Midwestern farmers, big city con men, and rise of the trotters and pacers popularity into the racing world. Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America is truly an inspiri [...]


    27. If you liked the Seabiscuit book, you'll also like this book. If you're not a horse nut like I am, you might not know that Dan Patch was the most famous pacing horse in the U.S at the turn of the century. He's even in the lyrics of the "pool" song of the Music Man.) His world record mile of 1:55 has now been beaten in modern times (it's 1:49), but like all records, Dan made his with a heavy, clunky sulky; not the new ultralights that they have now. Like the Seabiscuit book, it is an entertaining [...]


    28. I wanted to enjoy this story, very much, but frankly, it's just not what I thought it would be (I was not expecting a happy story, just fyi). It really felt like the author took every chance to editorialize his views on the non-fictional characters, and found every one of them fatally flawed in some way. I will try to finish reading this later, but frankly, I am giving up on this for the time being.


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