ADDRESSES: Home—Brooklyn, NY. Office—New York Sun, 105 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Editorial Department, Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 1332 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60622-2694.
CAREER: Writer. New York Sun, turf correspondent. Also serves as the fiction chronicler for the New Criterion and an editor of the Nebraska Review.
Race Day: A Spot on the Rail with Max Watman, Ivan R. Dee (Chicago, IL), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: As the regular turf writer for the New York Sun, Max Watman has spent his fair share of time at the racetrack. In his first book, Race Day: A Spot on the Rail with Max Watman, he gives others a chance to get acquainted with the histories, legacies, and rivalries of America's most famous horse-racing tracks and races.
Each chapter of Race Day discusses a specific racetrack, including the people behind its development, the horses that stretched for its finish line, and a description of one of the legendary races that made it famous. Among the tracks discussed in the collection are Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, Hialeah (where Watman's grandfather often took him as a young boy), Pimlico, and Gulfstream. Watman's story begins in 1823 and ends in 2004 with Birdstone's win over Smarty Jones during the Belmont Stakes. Some of the stories in Watman's collection stem from his personal experiences at the races, and these, according to Amy Ford in the Library Journal, "are the best in the book, fresh and humorous." Writing for Booklist, Dennis Dodge noted that "each race makes for a good story, and Watman … is an amiable companion." A contributor to Cindy Pierson Dulay's Horse-Races.net termed Watman's book "a great tribute to American Thoroughbred racing," and concluded: "Any racing fan will enjoy this tour across the country and across history."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2005, Dennis Dodge, review of Race Day: A Spot on the Rail with Max Watman, p. 1741.
Library Journal, July 1, 2005, Amy Ford, review of Race Day, p. 93.
Cindy Pierson Dulay's Horse-Races.net, http://www.horse-races.net/ (February 1, 2006), review of Race Day.