Book on racing goes off track

March 10, 1991|By Stephen Proctor

A YEAR AT THE RACES.

Robert B. Parker

and Joan H. Parker;

photographs by William Strode.

Viking

176 pages. $35.

"A Year at the Races" reveals its fatal flaw in the first sentencwhen author Robert B. Parker admits, "I know nothing of racing."

This photo-essay takes readers on a yearlong journey with Dogwood Stables, which travels with the upper crust of the horse racing circuit.

Knowing nothing of racing is not necessarily a prescription for failure. A fresh eye promises new insight, and there are some truly lyrical passages that show readers the glory and the grit of this game.

Sadly, however, Mr. Parker spends too little time exploring the panorama of racing and too much time telling us about how he and Joan Parker, his wife and co-author, revel in rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.

It's a shame, because the authors had terrific material. All is not lost, however. Photographer William Strode provides a spectacular view of racing, including the glory of steeplechasing at Fair Hill, Md.

Mr. Proctor is counties editor of The Sun.

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